U.S. Law Center

What to do if ICE is at the door

Immigration and Customs Enforcement is a relatively recent agency of the United States government. ICE came into existence in 2003, and the organization's goal is to remove undocumented immigrants from the country. 

In the recent political climate, many people have worried about the range of actions ICE agents can take. The concern has become particularly prevalent in Southern California. Many immigrants worry that ICE agents may show up at their doors and deport them. Here are the steps to take if ICE agents come knocking. 

Ask who they are

When someone knocks at the door, it is legal for people to ask who is there and why. Unless the agents present a warrant, it is acceptable to leave the door closed. Even if the homeowner opens the door, it is illegal for ICE agents to enter unless they show a warrant.

Examine the warrant

In the event ICE agents say they have a warrant, people can ask for them to slide it under the door. Review this document carefully to make sure a judge actually signed it. If ICE or another organization that is not a court issued the warrant, then the document is not valid.

Do not resist if they forcibly enter

If ICE agents force themselves inside a home, then the people inside still have rights. They can remain silent and state that they wish to consult with an attorney before providing any information. It is important to remember not to resist or try to fight back. 

Do not sign anything

ICE agents may present documents that they say require signatures. People should not sign anything they do not understand. They should also avoid signing anything an immigration attorney has not reviewed first. People should also try to get in touch with an affiliate from a local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. 

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