Everyone in the United States, including undocumented immigrants, has rights under the U.S. Constitution.
Know your legal options
1. Legal screenings are critical: Attend a legal screening and know your immigration options. Many undocumented immigrants, including DACA recipients, may be eligible for permanent immigration status such as:
- Victims of crimes
- People afraid to return to their home countries due to persecution or torture, including individuals who identify as LGBT
- Minors who have been abandoned, abused or neglected by one or both of their parents
- Trafficking victims
- Victims of domestic violence
- Green card/lawful permanent residence through a family member or based on employment
- Other forms of relief that only an attorney will recognize
2. Consult a qualified attorney or BIA-accredited representative: Find a low-cost or free attorney at www.immigrationadvocates.org/nonprofit/legaldirectory. If you are placed in deportation proceedings you have a right to hire an attorney, but the government will not provide a free attorney for you.
3. Beware of notaries or bad attorneys making false promises: Some individuals may try to take advantage of you. Seek legal consultations from reputable organizations. Check attorney credentials at iardc.org. Report fraud at www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/consumers/filecomplaint.html.
4. Do not sign an immigration document without legal advice: You have a right to seek legal advice and understand the document before signing it. Do not let anyone force you to sign a document, especially a deportation order.
Know your safety plan
1. Obey traffic and criminal laws and carry a valid state ID and/or work permit: Do not carry any false/fraudulent documents that do not correspond to your identity. If arrested for any reason, consult an immigration attorney prior to pleading guilty.
2. Practice your response if confronted by immigration authorities: All people have the right to remain silent. If stopped or arrested, you do not have to answer an immigration agent’s questions. If an immigration agent knocks on your door and does not have a warrant, do not open the door.
3. Create a safety plan in case you are arrested and/or detained by immigration:
- Identify your emergency contact and memorize their phone number
- Memorize your A number and give it to your emergency contact
- Provide your child’s school or day care with the emergency contact name and phone number and provide authorization for the emergency contact to pick up your child
- Provide authorization for your emergency contact to make medical and legal decisions for your child
- Keep your passport, identity information, proof of physical presence in the U.S. and financial information in a safe location. Make sure your emergency contact can access them
- Read more about guardianship considerations for immigrants in Illinois (PDF)
- Read more about guardianship considerations for immigrants in Indiana (PDF)
Know you are not alone
Many people in the community stand with you. Join a movement that supports immigrant rights. Be part of local and/or national efforts to build community and empower immigrants, including:
Watch NIJC's Know Your Rights webinar:
It is more important than ever that you know your rights and how to exercise them. Watch the webinar to learn more.