The ACLU of Texas is dedicated to protecting and defending the constitutional and civil rights of all persons in Texas, regardless of immigration or refugee status, in the courts, the state legislature, and communities small or large throughout the Lone Star State. Immigrants and refugees are now facing increased enforcement actions, including unannounced and arbitrary home raids. The information contained here is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
You Have Rights Under Our Constitution
The Constitution protects everyone, regardless of immigration status, from discrimination based on race or national origin. In the United States, everyone is entitled to certain protections, including the right to be treated fairly in court, to free speech, religious freedom, and other core civil rights.
Your Basic Rights During a Home Raid
- Stay calm.
- You do not have to open your door. If you wish to assert your rights, you should keep your door closed and speak to agents through the door.
- Ask the agents who they are and what they are there for.
- Sometimes agents will use a ruse or false information, so be extra cautious!
- If you are a Spanish-speaker and the agents do not speak Spanish, ask for an interpreter.
- If the agents want to enter, ask them if they have a warrant signed by a judge. An administrative warrant of removal from immigration authorities is not enough.
- If they say they have a warrant, ask them to slip the warrant under the door.
- Look at the top and at the signature line to see if it was issued by a court and signed by a judge or issued by DHS or ICE and signed by a DHS or ICE employee. Only a court warrant signed by a judge allows entry into your premises.
- Read and review the warrant carefully. Do not open your door unless ICE shows you a warrant naming a person in your residence and/or areas to be searched at your address.
- In all other cases, keep the door closed and state clearly: “I do not consent to your entry.”
- If agents force their way in anyway, do not attempt to resist. State clearly: “I do not consent to your entry or to your search of these premises. I am exercising my right to remain silent. I wish to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.” Everyone in the residence may also exercise the right to remain silent.
- DO NOT LIE OR SHOW FALSE DOCUMENTS.
- DO NOT SIGN ANY PAPERS WITHOUT SPEAKING TO A LAWYER.
What to do if you are Detained by ICE
- You have a right to an attorney, however, neither ICE nor any government agent has to provide you one. If you do not have an attorney, ask for a list of providers of free or low cost legal services.
- You have a right to communicate with your consulate or to have an agent notify your consulate of your arrest.
- Let the agent know you wish to remain silent. Do not speak about your immigration status or why you are in the U.S. with anyone other than your attorney.
- Do not sign anything! If you sign a document without first speaking with an attorney, you may be waiving an opportunity to remain in the U.S.
- Stay calm at all times. As much as possible, try to remain calm and think clearly despite being harassed or intimidated.
- Remember your immigration number (“A Number”) and share it with your family. This will help your family find you.
- Keep copies of all of your immigration documents with someone you trust.
- Do not provide any false documents or information, as they may be used against you in a deportation proceeding.