This card explains your rights when you are in contact with immigration enforcement officers in New York State.
Unless stated otherwise, it applies to both documented and undocumented immigrants, as well as United States citizens. The information in this card does not apply to encounters with immigration officers at the border, international airports or at any other port of entry into the United States. It does apply to encounters with immigration officers inside the United States, including encounters with immigration officers on domestic trains and buses, or in your local community, as well as encounters with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and border patrol agents after you have been stopped by local police.
**Update: card now available below in Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Nepali, Portuguese, Tamil, Thai and Vietnamese
Know Your Rights:
What to Do if You’re Stopped by Immigration Officers
- You have the right to remain silent. You do not have to answer questions asked by immigration officers if you do not want to answer them. this includes questions about your citizenship status, birthplace or place of residence. If you are asked about your immigration status and you wish to remain silent, you may say: “I have the right to remain silent.”
- Always remember that even if you answered some questions, you can still decide that you do not want to answer any additional questions.
- Never lie. Do not falsely claim to be a US citizen or to be lawfully in the United States.
- If you are a United States citizen, you do not need to show any documents. You should say, politely, “I am a United States citizen.” You may choose to show documentation, such as your New York driver’s license, which proves that you lawfully reside in the United States.
- If you are undocumented and do not have valid U.S. immigration documents, remember that you have the right to remain silent. You can decide not to answer questions about your immigration status or whether you have immigration documents. If you tell an immigration officer that you are not a U.S. citizen and you cannot produce valid U.S. immigration documents, there is a good chance you will be arrested.
- If you are a documented immigrant who is 18 or older and have been issued valid U.S. immigration documents (such as an unexpired permanent resident card, also known as a “green card”), you are legally required to carry those documents with you at all times. if you have your valid U.S. immigration documents and you are asked for them, it is usually a good idea to show them to avoid arrest. Failure to carry valid immigration documents is a misdemeanor crime.
- If you are arrested because you do not have your valid U.S. immigration documents with you, but you have them elsewhere, ask a friend or family member to bring them to you.
- Never show an officer fake immigration documents or pretend that someone else’s immigration documents are yours.
- You have the right to remain silent. You do not have to answer questions. You can tell the officer that you want to speak with a lawyer before answering any questions. You may say, “I will remain silent until I speak to an attorney.” You do not have the right to an appointed free lawyer, but you do have the right to talk to a lawyer and to hire one on your own.
- You do not have to sign anything giving up your rights, and should never sign anything without reading it first and understanding the consequences of signing it. Signing a document without understanding it could result in you being deported before you see a lawyer or a judge.
- Talk to a lawyer before signing anything or making a decision about your situation. If possible, carry with you the name and telephone number of a lawyer who will take your calls. Immigration law is hard to understand. You may have options that immigration officers will not explain.
- If you are not a U.S. citizen, you have the right to call your consulate or to have a law enforcement officer tell consulate officials of your arrest. Law enforcement officers must let your consulate visit or speak with you if consular officials decide to do so. Your consulate might be able to help you find a lawyer.