7 Facts Immigration Won’t Disclose If They Come To Your Home With An Administrative Warrant.
If Immigration and Customs Enforcement comes to your home with an immigration warrant, it doesn’t have the power you might think it does.
1. An “immigration warrant” is NOT the same thing as a court warrant. It is an administrative warrant, which means it was issued and signed only by someone who works at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). It does not have the same broad powers as a court-ordered warrant.
2. Without a search warrant ICE cannot enter a home without consent. You have a right to refuse. ICE will not advise you of this right to refuse. ICE tries to get consent (and often succeeds) by stating, for example, “We have a warrant; open the door please.” Or maybe “Step outside please.” You have a right to remain in your home. If you open the door and allow entry to the officers you will be assumed to have given consent. You have a right to remain behind closed doors.
3. An “immigration warrant” DOES NOT ALLOW ICE or the police to enter a home. Only a search warrant can do that. ICE almost never has a search warrant…They just hope you’ll think they do. ICE counts on public misunderstanding.
4. You have a right to see the warrant. Ask the officers to slip it under the door. If it is a search warrant, it will be a document signed by a judge (and it will say “Judge”), allowing officers to enter your home and search certain areas. ICE almost never has a search warrant. If it is an arrest warrant, it gives the officers the right to arrest the person named in the warrant, but not the right to search the home, or enter it without permission.
5. If you refuse to come out of your home, ICE must “wait it out” until you appear in a public place. ICE is trained to know that without a search warrant, they must “wait it out” if you refuse to leave your home. In reality, they won’t. They will leave to work on other cases. Yes…ICE will still have an arrest warrant; that won’t go away, and they will try again (maybe at your workplace, or school). In the meantime, you will have time to (1) call a knowledgable immigration lawyer; (2) make arrangements with your family; (3) get information from ICE (see #7, below).
6. The right to refuse ICE entry to your home applies regardless of immigration status. The constitutional right to be secure in your home applies to all persons. Even if you have violated your immigration status, or have “no papers,” or are here illegally. You may refuse ICE, or the police, or the FBI, or any other law enforcement officers, entry into your home without your consent or a court search warrant. It is worth repeating: ICE almost never has a search warrant.
7. You have the right to request information while you remain inside your home. You may request that ICE slip the warrant under the door. Check to see if you are the person named in the warrant. (ICE has requested entry to people’s homes by presenting an arrest warrant naming someone who does not reside there.) Get the name of the ICE agent printed on the warrant. Ask the agents at your door to provide their names.