Mary Bejian, ACLU of Michigan deputy director
Immigrant rights advocates in Washtenaw County have been sending warning emails: "Alert… ICE agents were spotted tonight… don’t open your home doors… ask for an attorney… do not sign anything in detainment.”
Other emails contain stories about ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents stopping brown-skinned people at gas stations, of parents being held in detention while their U.S. born children wait it out with friends and relatives, and people who have lived in America for 20 or 30 years being abruptly deported back to a country they no longer consider home. The fear and anxiety within immigrant communities is palpable.
There’s no doubt that we need immigration reform in this country, and many would agree that we need the kind of reform that seeks to integrate people into society rather than ostracize them from it.
Reactionary laws such as the one recently passed in Arizona or the one introduced right here in Michigan simply don’t work. Fostering discrimination and denying due process flies in the face of the American values of fairness and equality.
The ACLU wants to hear from advocates and immigrants who are detained by any branch of law enforcement on suspect grounds. Whether at the border, in your home or at your place of work, all people in the United States are entitled to due process and civil liberties.
Take action and knowing your rights! If you're approached by police or immigration officials:
- do not open your door to immigration agents unless they have a search warrant.
- if detained, remain calm and do not resist arrest.
- don’t talk to officials about your situation or your status. Remain silent.
- don’t sign anything without the advice of an attorney.
- ask to speak to your attorney. If you don’t have an attorney, ask for a list of free legal services in your area.
- if needed, ask for an interpreter in your own language. Do not sign anything that is not in a language you do not understand.
Download our Spanish-language pocket guide to your rights when encountering law enforcement, immigration agents or the FBI.