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Do you know your rights as an immigrant?

With so much talk about rights in America, it may seem that this topic is only relevant to those who are legal citizens of this country. However, every human being has certain rights regardless of their citizenship status.

That means that as an immigrant, you have rights, too. Knowing what these rights are can ensure you receive protection, especially when dealing with government agencies such as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. If you face challenges in exercising these rights, speak to an immigration attorney for assistance.

1. The right to remain silent

Cooperating with law enforcement is always the best approach, but cooperation does not mean self-incrimination. You do not have to answer questions about your birth country, when you moved to the U.S. and what your immigration status is. You have the right to remain silent. Politely refuse to respond and then exercise your next right: speaking to a lawyer.

2. The right to legal representation

Even if you are not a U.S. citizen, you still have the right to speak to an attorney first and have him or her represent you through any legal proceedings. In some cases, the government will have to provide a lawyer for you if you are not able to afford one. In other cases, you may have to find one on your own, but you can ask for information on low-cost or free attorneys. You can also call your consulate for a referral.

3. The right to due process

Due process refers to following laws and respecting rights in legal proceedings. What does this mean for you? For example, if ICE agents come knocking on your door and they do not have a warrant with a judge's signature and the correct information on it, you are not required to let them in. You can speak to them through the door until you establish they have a legal right to enter your home (search warrant), arrest you (arrest warrant) or take you into custody (deportation warrant). If you are in public and the agents do not have these documents, you can ask if you are free to leave.

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San Francisco Office
555 California Street
Suite 4925
San Francisco, CA 94104

Phone: 415-819-1898
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Sacramento Office
500 Capitol Mall
Suite 2350
Sacramento, CA 95814

Phone: 916-719-2805
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Oakland Office
1999 Harrison Street
18th Floor
Oakland, CA 94612

Phone: 510-637-8608
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San Jose Office
2570 N. First Street
2nd Floor
San Jose, CA 95131

Phone: 408-306-1818
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Santa Rosa Office
3558 Round Barn Boulevard
Suite 200
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Phone: 707-805-0898
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Walnut Creek Office
2121 N California Boulevard
Suite 290
Walnut Creek, CA 94956

Phone: 925-330-1132
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Redwood City Office
303 Twin Dolphin Drive
Suite 600
Redwood City, CA 94065

Phone: 650-670-2545
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