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Know your rights if an ICE officer approaches you

When you live or work in Colorado or any other state, you have certain personal rights protected under the U.S. Constitution. No one can undermine those rights for any reason. The more you understand your rights ahead of time, the better able to protect them you might be if a legal problem arises. As one of many immigrants in this state, you might have concerns about legal status problems.

Recent news stories show how stressful it can be for immigrants who suddenly or unexpectedly encounter Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers at home, work or elsewhere. If such a situation occurs in your or your loved one's life, it is critical that you know where to seek immediate support and guidance.

The Fourth Amendment

As an immigrant in the United States, you'll want to familiarize yourself with the U.S. Constitution and the protections it provides to those residing within the country's borders. The following information provides basic facts about the Fourth Amendment, which pertains mostly to restraints on the U.S. government regarding searches and seizures: 

  • The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that people have a right to be secure in their persons and effects as well as their homes and property.
  • This amendment limits the power police or ICE officers have over you to search you or your property or home.
  • In most cases, if police or a U.S. government agent knocks on your door and requests entry, you do not have to allow it unless those in question show proof of a valid search warrant.
  • Law or customs enforcement officers must have a certain level of suspicion of criminal activity to justify a request for a search warrant.
  • There are exceptions to the rule, such as if police witness a person committing a crime, which typically eliminates the need for a warrant to conduct a search or make an arrest.
  • If, on the other hand, you're sitting in your home and ICE officers show up and tell you to come outside or that they are placing you under arrest, the Fourth Amendment protects you from unlawful searches or seizures.

Any number of legal status issues can arise as you adapt to life in Colorado or elsewhere in the United States. Many such issues can lead to detention or activate removal proceedings against you or one of your loved ones. If you know your rights and how to protect them, however, you may be able to avoid deportation and resolve a particular legal problem that has prompted action against you.

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