Some people who are not United States citizens have been arrested or detained by the U.S. government. Learn how to protect yourself so this does not happen to you!

If you are questioned by the police:

You have the right to ask the officer if you are being arrested or detained.

  1. If the officer says, “NO, you are not being arrested or detained,” ask the officer if you may leave. When the officer says that you may leave, slowly and calmly walk away.
  2. If the officer says, “YES, you are being arrested or detained”…


If you are undocumented…

Do not answer any questions or say only “I need to speak to my lawyer.”

If you have a valid immigration status documents, show it. Always carry it with you.

Do not say anything about where you were born or how you entered the United States.

Do not carry papers from another country. (If you do, the government can use this information in a deportation proceeding).

Above all, do not show any false documents and do not lie!

If Police or Immigration COMES TO YOUR HOME:

You have the right to see a warrant if the Police Department, FBI, Immigration or other government official tries to enter your home. A warrant is a paper signed by a judge giving the officer permission to enter your home. The warrant will specify the areas that the official has the right to search. Do not open the door. Ask the officer to slip the warrant underneath the door. If you open the door and allow the official to come into the house, this may be considered giving him/her “consent” to enter. If s/he enters without a warrant, request the names and badge numbers of the officers and say that you did not “consent” to a search. Also, write down the names, addresses and phone numbers of anyone who witnessed the incident.

If the officer has a warrant, observe whether the official searches any other areas that are not listed in the warrant. Get a receipt for any property taken by the official.

Ask your attorney to help you get released from police custody

If you are arrested by local police, they must charge you with a crime in court within 48 hours (not counting weekends and holidays), or else release you. If police do file criminal charges, then you must still be released if (1) the charges are dropped, (2) you are granted and post bail, (3) you win your criminal case, or (4) you complete your sentence. The police may contact Immigration to learn more about your immigration status. For example, if you have an outstanding deportation order, the police may inform Immigration that you are in police custody. Immigration may then place a “detainer” on you, which gives Immigration an additional 48 hours to pick you up. If Immigration fails to pick you up within this time, the police must release you.

If the police don’t file criminal charges AND if immigration does not file a detainer, call an attorney or community organization to help you get released from police custody. They can write a demand letter to the jail or the sheriff.

If you are facing any type of immigration issues, the Law Offices of Daniel Santiago can help.

Contact our office today for a consultation regarding your New Jersey immigration case.