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Prepare in case you’re ever confronted by ICE

Updated: Mar 2, 2022

Learn about your rights, and make sure you go over them with your family and community members in case you are ever confronted by ICE officers.


  1. Do NOT open the door. ICE can’t come into your home unless they have a valid judicial warrant that says they have the right to enter. 

  2. Ask (through the door or a window) the officer to tell you what agency they work with. Ask to see their identification. ICE officers may misidentify themselves as police, which they are not. Even if they do identify themselves as part of the “Department of Homeland Security” (DHS) or “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement” (ICE), you do not have to open the door.  

  3. Tell the officers you want to see a warrant. Have them pass it under the door or show it through the window. Read the warrant carefully. The warrant must have your correct name and address. Make sure the warrant is signed by a judge. If ICE shows you an arrest warrant, a warrant of removal, or any document that is issued or signed by DHS or ICE, then it is not a valid warrant and ICE cannot enter your home. If you don’t understand the warrant or the agents don’t speak your language, ask for an interpreter.


  1. Don’t resist physically. You can say “I do not consent to your entry” over and over to make it clear that you are not inviting them into your home.

  2. Document what is happening. Write down the badge numbers of the ICE officers. Note if they identified themselves as ICE or if they made you think otherwise. Take photos and videos if possible. If ICE doesn’t allow you to document what is happening, write it down or tell it to someone else who can write it down as soon as possible after.

  3. Use your right to remain silent. ICE may ask you questions about your immigration status and your country of birth. You do not have to answer their questions or provide them with any information. Answering such questions may harm your immigration case. You can say: “I choose to remain silent and want to speak to a lawyer.”

  4. Don’t lie about your immigration status. No matter how scared you are, never falsely claim to be a U.S. citizen.


  1. Have a family member or someone else call the rapid response (emergency same day legal services) hotline. You can find the Rapid Response numbers for Northern and Central California here. We recommend keeping your local hotline number in a place where you can access it quickly in case of an emergency.

  2. You have the right to refuse to sign any papers without first speaking to a lawyer. Carefully read any form ICE hands you. Do not sign anything you do not understand or can’t read. ICE might try to persuade you to sign forms where you agree to deportation without seeing a judge first.

  3. If you are afraid to go back to the country where you were born, state “I am afraid to go to [country].” Do not admit that you were born in that country. Simply state that you are afraid to go there until you are able to consult with an attorney.

  4. Find an attorney. We know how difficult it may be to find an immigration attorney. However, if you have the means, it’s very important that you do so. You can contact CCIJ for a list of trustworthy immigration attorneys in Northern and Central California. If you don’t have the means to hire an immigration attorney, you can call our hotline number if the person you’re calling for is detained in Yuba County Jail in Marysville, CA or Mesa Verde Detention Facility in Bakersfield, CA, and we may be able to provide some assistance and/or referrals to partner non-profit organizations.

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