If I Am Undocumented, Do I Have Any Rights Under the U.S. Constitution?

If I Am Undocumented, Do I Have Any Rights Under the U.S. Constitution?

Even if an immigrant has no legal immigration status, the mere fact that he or she is present in the U.S. entitles him or her to many of the same constitutional rights to which citizens are entitled. In fact, these individuals have most of the same rights as American citizens, and longstanding Supreme Court rulings prohibit state laws that discriminate against non-citizens. For instance, the First Amendment protects freedom of speech and religion for all citizens and non-citizens alike. Likewise, the Fourth Amendment protects all persons present in the U.S. from unreasonable search and seizure by the government. If a non-citizen is arrested and charged with a crime, he or she has the same procedural and constitutional rights under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments as a U.S. citizen, including the right to a jury trial, the right to court-appointed counsel if he or she cannot afford an attorney, and protection against self-incrimination. The Eighth Amendment protects all individuals convicted of a crime in the U.S. against cruel and unusual punishment. The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments also ensure that everyone, including undocumented immigrants, has the right to free from deprivation of life, liberty, and property without due process of law, as well as equal protection under the law. Many of these rights stem from the fact that constitutional amendments generally refer to “persons,” a category that includes undocumented immigrants, instead “U.S. citizens” or “Americans.” In fact, as far back as 1886, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a court case entitled Yick Wo v. Hopkins that the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution was not confined to U.S. citizens, but applied to any person within the jurisdiction of the U.S., without regard to differences in race, nationality, or color. Ten years later, the Supreme Court extended its ruling to include protections under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments, such as the right to due process, a speedy trial, and a trial by jury, among others. You and your family can count on Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C., to have the experience that you need when you are facing deportation charges. We are skilled at representing immigrants just like you in immigration court, where we appear on a regular basis. We know how to gather the facts that are relevant to your case, assess your options, and determine whether you have any legal defenses that may enable you to avoid deportation and remain in the United States. Contact the Oakland immigration attorneys at our office today and learn how we potentially can help you and your family through this difficult situation
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