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How to stay safe if you are questioned about immigration

Immigration is complicated. Police and law enforcement can be intimidating, even when you have done nothing wrong. You have rights that you might not know about in The United States. These rights are important, they might save you from paying fines, jail or even deportation.

It is very important to educate yourself of the rights you have while you are in America. If you are stopped by police, you may use them to protect yourself. If you are arrested, call a lawyer who can help your situation, and who also handles immigration matters.

Know your rights

You have the same constitutional rights as any American while you are in The United States, regardless of your immigration status. If you are stopped by police officers, remember that:

  • You have the right to remain silent. You do not have to answer the police officer’s questions. If you wish to remain silent, say it out loud.
  • You have the right to not be searched. Unless the police have the correct warrant, you can say no if they ask to search you, your car or your home.
  • If you are arrested, you will be given a lawyer for free if you ask. You have the right to be legally represented even if you can’t afford it. If you want a lawyer, ask for one right away.

It is important to be calm and polite if you are stopped by police officers. Being respectful when speaking with police can make a big difference. It is also important to never lie or give false documents to the police.

In Arizona, you are required to give police officers your name and ID if they ask for them. You do not have to answer any other questions, though. You have the right to remain silent if they ask a question you do not want to answer, and you cannot be punished for refusing to answer questions.

As of 2016, police may not stop you just to check your immigration status. If this happens and you are arrested, call a lawyer immediately. They may have arrested you illegally.

If you are questioned about immigration

If you are not a U.S. citizen you must show your immigration papers to immigration agents if they ask. Carry your immigration papers with you at all times, and never use fake documents. You do not, however, have to answer questions about your immigration status or citizenship. You do not have to talk to police or immigration agents about where you were born, if you are a citizen or how you entered America.

It is the dream of many people to build a better life in America. This is a dream that you can achieve. Work hard, and be sure to know your rights along the way.

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