You may be one of the many individuals who are living, working or attending school in Florida without legal permission to be here. Undocumented immigrants often pursue the appropriate visas and take the right steps to get the legal ability to remain in the country, but they may be unable to do so due to cumbersome processes and other challenges. If you are in this situation, it is particularly important to know to protect yourself in the event that immigration agents come to your door.
You have rights, regardless of your immigration status. When you understand these rights, you will be in a better position to understand if you have experienced a violation of these rights and what it could mean for your case. You can fight the threat of deportation and confront any illegal treatment you may experience from government officials.
A knock on your door
You may be in your home when you hear a knock on your door and an announcement that representatives from an immigration agency want to speak with you. While this is intimidating and frightening for an undocumented immigrant, there are certain things you can do to protect yourself in this situation. These include:
- Stay as calm as you can, and do not open the door or invite them inside.
- If they enter your home without permission, clearly state that you do not give them permission and want them to leave.
- Exercise your right to remain silent by refusing to answer any of their questions.
- Do not sign any documents presented to you, and ask for a lawyer as soon as possible.
- If you are able to do so, record the entire interaction on your phone or video it.
- Do not agree to do what they ask or follow their instructions, such as follow them to their offices.
As this could happen to you without notice, you may benefit from preparing ahead of time. Some of the things you can do to protect yourself include creating an action plan with your family, understanding your rights, keeping your doors and fences locked, and having your emergency contacts programmed in your phone. You will also benefit from knowing how to take steps to defend yourself against the threat of deportation, as well as how to seek a change of status through the appropriate channels.