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What should you do if customs agents come to your home?

With all of the conversation around immigration and deportation in this new administration, understandably, many people are nervous, regardless of their immigration status. We recently saw extensive media coverage of an undocumented woman who had been living in this country for many years and checking in with authorities regularly. She was suddenly arrested and deported to Mexico.

Many people are asking what their rights are, and if they have any at all. What happens if agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement show up at your door? The American Civil Liberties Union offers some guidance to anyone who has ICE agents show up at his or her residence.

First, you don't have to open the door until you see a valid warrant. However, if you do open the door, that doesn't give them permission to enter. It's best to ask why they're there without opening the door. If you're not able to understand them, you can ask them to provide an interpreter.

They can only enter your home if they have a proper warrant. They need more than an administrative warrant for removal signed by an ICE or Department of Homeland Security employee. They need a warrant that a judge has signed. A judicial search or arrest warrant must name one or more individuals in the home and/or list specific areas that are allowed to be searched. If they don't have an appropriate warrant, you have a right to refuse consent to their entry.

If agents force their way into your home, don't resist them. However, state clearly that you aren't consenting to their entry or any search. Tell them that you are exercising your right to remain silent and speak to an attorney.

If they ask for papers, don't give them false documents of any kind. Don't sign anything either.

As soon as possible, it's essential to talk to a Georgia immigration attorney who can ensure that your rights are being protected and who can help you through this situation.

Source: ACLU.org, "Know Your Rights: What to Do if Immigration Agents (ICE) Are at Your Door," accessed Feb. 23, 2017

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