Common Ways ICE May Violate Your Rights

The United States Constitution applies not only to citizens of the United States, but also to immigrants in this country, regardless of immigration status. While Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)—operating as part of the Department of Homeland Security—has a significant amount of authority to arrest noncitizens for alleged immigration violations, it is an unfortunate fact that many ICE agents do not always adhere to those laws—particularly when dealing with noncitizens facing deportation. One of the most common ways ICE agents may violate a noncitizen’s rights is by making an unlawful arrest. In order to make a valid arrest, ICE agents need to have some sort of probable cause that the law has been broken by the person whom they are arresting. They may not profile on the basis of race, amongst other factors. Another way ICE agents may violate the rights of an individual is by violating a person’s Miranda rights. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Miranda v. Arizona gives people a right to remain silent and to have any attorney present for any questioning by law enforcement officers. A person cannot be threatened, beaten, or otherwise coerced into making a statement. Once detained, ICE agents may try to force someone to admit that he or she is in the country illegally or sign an Order of Voluntary Departure. ICE agents may also try to illegally enter someone’s home and conduct a search. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures. In order to conduct a search, agents must usually have either a warrant (search or arrest) or the owner’s consent to perform a search. This protection also extends to a search of a person’s body or automobile. Additionally, it is not uncommon for ICE agents to detain or hold an individual in a local jail or private detention centers for an excessive period of time without initiating legal action against them or informing them of the reason for their arrest. Generally, ICE has 48 hours after someone is arrested to initiate deportation proceedings or release the person. In some cases, ICE may detain a person for a longer period by placing a “hold” on the individual in order to give ICE more time to try and build a case for deportation. In no event may a person be detained more than 72 hours without being given a Notice to Appear (a paper explaining why ICE believes a person should be deported). Such excessive detentions violate the 5th Amendment’s due process clause. If ICE does violate your rights, a skilled immigration attorney may be able to use that to your advantage by filing a Motion to Suppress. The Constitution states that evidence obtained in violation of a person’s rights cannot be used against him or her at a trial or hearing. Such evidence that may be suppressed or excluded includes physical evidence, documents, and statements. Once such illegally obtained evidence is excluded, ICE may not be able to meet its burden of proof against the person in a removal hearing. If you or a loved one is facing deportation or you believe your legal rights have been violated by ICE in any way, please contact Landerholm Immigration today and let us fight to defend your American Dream!

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