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Here’s what to do if ICE agents show up at your door

Remain calm.

“The U.S-Mexican border es una herida abierta where the Third World grates against the first and bleeds.” -Gloria E. Anzaldúa

This administration is taking extreme measures to terrorize an already highly marginalized community in this country. Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) have been conducting raids across the country this past week. Hundreds of undocumented people have been arrested.

There is a lot of psychological pain and distress that comes with being chased down, terrorized, and displaced by the state. The ACLU published a list in both Spanish and English to tutor those who may be targeted by ICE raids in the near future.

There is no need to open the door.

In fact, it is better not to. It is harder for ICE agents to force themselves in if you keep the door closed. They have no legal right to enter without your permission, without a special warrant. However, you must also be aware that they may break this rule and enter anyway.

With the door closed, you should ask if they are ICE agents. You should also ask what they are here for. (You can even ask for an interpreter.)

ICE needs a warrant signed by a judge to enter.

With the door still closed, ask the agents if they have a warrant signed by a judge. If they do not have this document, you have a right to refuse them entry. Even if they have a warrant that is not signed, you can also refuse to open your door. (Again, they may enter anyway.)

If they do have a warrant, you can ask them to slip it under your door.

Once you have the warrant, examine it closely. Examples of warrants that do not grant ICE agents entry into your residence are:

Not issued by a court. The name of the court is usually at the top of the first page.

Not signed by a judge. Check the signature line in the document.

Issued by the Department of Homeland Security or ICE. Again, the warrant must be issued by a court!

Signed by a DHS or ICE agent. In terms of deportation raids, these signatures do not have to same legal authority as a judge’s.

If you find the warrant to be invalid, do not open the door.

ICE agents may force their way in.

As we have seen, police officers, immigration agents, and government officials in general are not above breaking the law. If ICE agents do force their entry into your home, ask to see a lawyer immediately and remain silent. The ACLU suggests you say, “I do not consent to your entry or to your search of these premises. I am exercising my right to remain silent. I wish to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.” 

Art by Alberto Ledesma via Buzzfeed

Being undocumented in this country is an exhausting political act, one that requires enormous resilience. No matter where you are, we are your allies – and will continue fighting for your rights and visibility as the new administration moves backwards with its human rights violations.