Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Raids: Know Your Rights

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Raids: Know Your Rights

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Raids: Know Your Rights

While ICE raids are targeting cities all across America threatening to deport thousands of immigrants, it is important to be prepared and to know your rights in case of a raid or other encounter with immigration or law enforcement.

Everyone, including all documented and undocumented immigrants, in the U.S. has rights under the Constitution. Knowing your legal rights will help to minimize panic, family separation and loss of assets during an immigration raid.

Your rights during a home raid

If an immigration or law enforcement knocks on your door, you do not have to open unless an officer has a valid judicial search or arrest warrant with your correct name and address on it, signed by a judge. Ask the officer to show you the warrant by slipping it under the door. Do not open the door. Remember, a warrant of deportation or removal, even if it is on your or another occupant’s name, signed by an immigration official, not a judge, does not give ICE permission to enter your home or apartment. In this situation, it is your constitutional right to not open the door for them.

In order for a search warrant to be valid, it must meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • Must be signed by a judge – NOT an immigration official
  • Must contain the address of the home to be searched
  • Must describe the area to be searched

If ICE has a valid warrant, you have to let them in. Stay calm and contact your attorney as soon as possible. You have the right to remain silent, which means you do not have to answer questions, as long as you state so out loud to an officer.  You do not have to sign any documents without your lawyer present.

Your rights in case of a workplace raid

Encountering immigration officers outside of your home can come with additional pressure. Should you be approached by an ICE officer, ask if you are free to leave. If the officer confirms that you are, you may calmly walk away. Remember that ICE can only arrest you if they have a valid warrant with your name on it.

If you are arrested and taken into ICE custody, you have the right to a lawyer. You also have the right to make a local phone call. It is strongly recommended to contact your attorney right away. You do not have to answer any questions until you speak to your lawyer.

Top DOs and DONTs during an ICE raid

  • Do contact an immigration attorney as soon as possible
  • Do stay calm
  • Do remain silent
  • Do record details of the raid and name of ICE officers, if possible


  • Do not answer any questions
  • Do not sign any documents before consulting with a lawyer
  • Do not lie
  • Do not give ICE agent(s) false documents
  • Do not flee or run

Encountering ICE agents can be a stressful and overwhelming situation. If you are at risk of being targeted during immigration raids, it is best to get an immigration lawyer involved as soon as possible. A trustworthy attorney can provide you with viable advice in case of a raid, as well as help you to explore your legal options and fight for your case. Call us at (323) 456-7600 to schedule a free in-office consultation with our experienced immigration attorneys specializing in all aspects of U.S. immigration, including deportation and removal defense.