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What can I as an undocumented immigrant do to protect my rights?

The current environment regarding immigration is unpredictable. Whether you live in Kentucky or any other state, if you are an undocumented immigrant or know someone who is, what could happen next is one big question mark. Even when your legal status is solid, the desire to avoid deportation can cause worry. In uncertain times, fear only increases.

What is important to remember is that regardless what one's residence status may be, everyone has rights. There are organizations in place committed to helping those who may be concerned about removal. Consulting with an experienced immigration attorney should always be a priority. Ultimately, the main objective should be to know your rights.

It is toward that end that a number of advocacy groups have developed a curriculum to provide worried immigrants some fundamental legal strategies if Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials come knocking. The suggestions include the following:

  • If ICE agents appear at the door, don't open it. Not even a crack.
  • If you are taken into custody, provide only your name.
  • Do not sign anything without speaking an attorney you trust.

The premise for this guidance is the Constitution's Fourth Amendment. That protects individuals, even undocumented immigrants, against illegal search and seizure by authorities. Those who offer the training also note that you have no obligation to provide agents with information they don't have. The government must prove that someone is in the country improperly and that can be harder without all the right information.

We expect that most legal observers would agree classes that accurately convey constitutional rights are beneficial. Everyone should know his or her rights. It is when information is lacking that protection of rights becomes more challenging.

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