An encounter with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents is scary regardless of your status in Florida. You might worry that you are under criminal investigation or about to be deported.
Although your fear is understandable and perhaps justified, be cautious when dealing with ICE. Knowing how to respond if agents show up on your doorstep helps you avoid worsening your situation.
Preserve your safety
You may open your door to ICE if you wish, but the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) recommends keeping it closed. Speaking with ICE through the door improves your personal safety. If you choose to open up, it does not give officers the right to enter your home (they need a proper warrant).
Verify their identity
Inquire whether they are immigration officials and ask to see their identification (through a window, peephole, etc.). You can also ask them why they have come to your home. Remain calm and polite throughout your encounter with ICE.
Ask to see a warrant
Always ask to examine the warrant if agents tell you they have one. Ensure the document contains a judicial signature and details about the areas officers may search. Tell the agents that you do not consent to a search and keep your door closed if they cannot show you a warrant.
Avoid resisting the officers
Do not fight or resist if ICE officers enter your home through force, or you might suffer an injury. Exercise your rights by stating you don’t consent to these events and that you wish to seek some legal guidance. If you want to remain silent, say so out loud.
Seek information about your rights immediately after your encounter, especially if officers take you into custody. Protect yourself by consulting with a legal representative if ICE threatens you with deportation.