Know Your Rights: How to Handle ICE Agents at Your Workplace

Know Your Rights: How to Handle ICE Agents at Your Workplace

Are you worried about facing ICE agents at your workplace? You’re not alone. Fear shouldn’t stop you from earning a living. Knowing your rights is important. Empower yourself to face ICE encounters with confidence, regardless of your current immigration status. In this article, we’ll explain your rights and how to navigate these situations calmly. Now, take a deep breath and keep reading.

What to Remember if ICE Comes to Your Workplace

1. If ICE Agents Come to Your Workplace, Stay Calm

If ICE shows up at your place of employment, don’t panic. Knowing your rights gives you power. Take a moment to gather your courage and face the situation with confidence. You’ve got this!

Ask for a Search Warrant or Employer Consent for Access to Non-Public Areas

Your office is a safe space, and immigration officers do not have the right to just barge in. They need permission from a judge or your employer to go beyond the lobby or public areas. So, if ICE agents ask to explore your office back room or employee break room, remind them that they need a search warrant signed by a judge or your employer’s permission to proceed.

Avoid Panic—Approach the Exit If You Feel the Need to Leave

If you feel nervous when immigration officers show up at work, it’s normal. But remember, you have options. If you feel overwhelmed and need some space, take a deep breath and head towards the exit. However, before you leave, politely ask if you’re free to go. If the agent says no, don’t rush out—that might raise unnecessary flags. Wait calmly and follow their instructions.

2. Silence Is Power: Your Right to Remain Silent

Don’t let pressure or intimidation force you to speak. Knowing your right to remain silent protects you from self-incrimination and empowers you to navigate your situation with confidence.

Exercise the Right to Be Silent If Questioned

What if ICE agents ask you questions about yourself or your colleagues at work? You have a powerful tool: your right to stay silent. Staying quiet isn’t suspicious; it’s your right. And knowing that gives you control over the situation.

Decline to Answer Questions About How You Got to the U.S.

You are not obligated to answer questions about your immigration status, where you live, or anything else. If you exercise your right to be silent, do so out loud. Just say, “I choose to remain silent and want to speak with a lawyer.”

Move to a Neutral Area

If immigration officers ask you and your coworkers to gather in groups according to immigration status, you can refuse. Instead, stay calm and move to a neutral area, away from any groups forming. If you have a “know-your-rights” card,  show it to the officers. Asserting your rights is the best way to protect yourself in this situation.

You Do Not Have to Provide Documents Showing Your Country of Origin

Keep your passport and ID tucked away. Even if immigration officers ask to see them, you’re not obligated to show any documents that reveal where you are from. Unless law enforcement officers have a search warrant signed by a judge, you can choose not to show them your identity documents. You’re not being difficult; you’re protecting your rights.

3. You Have the Right to a Lawyer

If you feel overwhelmed that immigration officers could detain you at work, you’re not alone. You have a secret weapon: your right to legal counsel.

Know Your Rights If There Is a Risk of Your Detention

The moment you hear the word “detained,” speak up loud and clear: “I want to speak with a lawyer immediately.” If you don’t have a lawyer, let the officer know you intend to seek legal help. If you have your lawyer’s contact info, share it with the officers. If not, ask for a list of pro bono (free) lawyers or contact your consulate for help. Every step you take towards legal representation is a step towards protecting yourself.

If You Have a Lawyer, Show  Your Signed Form G-28

A signed Form G-28 informs immigration agents that your lawyer will speak for you and help you navigate legal situations.

This form gives your lawyer the green light to speak on your behalf, ask questions, and handle your paperwork. So, hand over your G-28 and relax, knowing your rights are protected. And remember,  if you don’t have an attorney to help you, now’s the time to start your search for an immigration attorney.

Your Consulate Is a Legal Lifeline at Work

If you need extra backup, contact your consulate—they’re there to support you. Your consulate is like a trusted friend who speaks your language and knows the local laws. And they’re only a phone call away. Your consulate is there to empower you with resources, legal support, and guidance in your native language.

Unless You Understand What You’re Signing, Don’t Sign

If you feel pressure to sign papers during an encounter with immigration officers, remember you have the right to say “no.” Don’t rush into signing anything until you’ve spoken with an attorney who specializes in immigration law. If they insist or you feel unsure about signing without legal advice, calmly ask to see the document and read it carefully. Be sure you understand every word and what agreeing to it means; it’s your right.

Empower Yourself: Take Control of the Situation

Knowledge is power when navigating encounters with immigration officials at work. Being informed about your rights creates a safe space at your workplace.

Don’t wait for trouble—be proactive and seek legal advice. At Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C., immigration attorneys are here to answer your questions, protect your rights, and give you peace of mind. Our immigration law experts have the experience to navigate even the most complex legal scenarios. We can protect your rights every step of the way.

Don’t let uncertainty cloud your future. Schedule a consultation today and take the first step towards confidence.

We're looking forward to hearing from you!