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What to Do if You Are Questioned About Your Immigration Status in the U.S.

No matter what your immigration status is, you have certain rights that are guaranteed under the Constitution, which you should know about. If you are stopped and questioned about your immigration status, understanding your rights can make a world of difference in how you handle the situation and what ultimately happens. Continue reading to learn more.

Know Your Rights as an Immigrant

Being stopped by law enforcement for questioning can be an overwhelming situation, which is why it is crucial to know your rights.

Whether you are stopped for questioning or pulled over in your vehicle, we have some advice on how to handle the situation:

  • If you are stopped for questioning, never run or try to resist the police. You should also remain calm and keep your hands where they can be seen. If you are questioned, it is important to understand that you are not required to answer them nor will you be punished for your refusal. Additionally, you do not need to consent to a search of your personal belongings, but an officer may pat you down if they believe you may have a weapon. You have the right to refuse a more extensive search.
  • If you are stopped in your vehicle, much like any other stop, you will have to provide your license, registration, and proof of insurance when asked. You have the right to refuse a search of your car, but if law enforcement officers suspect it has evidence of a crime, your vehicle may be searched regardless of your consent. You also have the right to remain silent.
  • In either situation, if law enforcement officers question you about your immigration status, you do not have to answer. For example, if the officer asks where you were born or how you entered the country, you do not have to explain yourself, unless you are at international borders. If an immigration agent asks for your immigration papers and you are not a U.S. citizen, you must provide them. If you do not have your immigration papers, however, you can simply say that you would like to remain silent. You must never lie about your citizenship status.

During your interactions with law enforcement officers or immigration agents, remember to always remain polite, calm, and never lie. Keep a mental or written note of the details of your encounter in case you may later have to recall them.

Call Our Legal Team to Schedule a Case Evaluation Today!

At Thorley Defense Law, our immigration team can provide the legal representation and advice you need to navigate your case. You can rely on our experience and skill to protect your rights.

Call us today at (206) 202-8250 to request a consultation.