Many people in America believe that illegal immigrants have no rights. Some people believe that they shouldn’t have any rights. Neither of these things is true — illegal immigrants should and do have rights. However, they often don’t know what those are. So let’s take a look at illegal aliens and their rights in the US.
Right to Equal Protection Under the Law
Under the Fourteenth Amendment, all people who live in the US, whether they are citizens or illegal immigrants, have the right to equal protection. That means that they can’t be deprived of life, liberty, or property without a trial.
To put it simply, even if you’re an illegal immigrant, no one can remove you from the country without a hearing. On top of that, you have the right to an attorney, to the opportunity to examine the witnesses and evidence, and all other privileges that a citizen has.
However, keep in mind that you have to hire your own attorney if you want legal counsel. You have no right to a government-appointed lawyer.
Protection Against Unlawful Searches and Seizures
Just like everyone else, you have the right to refuse entry to a police or an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer. Without an official warrant, they have no right to enter your home, conduct searches, or take anything from you.
A lot of illegal immigrants don’t know that they have this right, so they often let ICE officers in. That’s precisely what these officers count on — a lot of them don’t bother getting a warrant before their visit. No matter how uncomfortable it may be to refuse someone in a position of authority, remember that it’s your right.
Protection Against Self-Incrimination
The Fifth Amendment protects against self-incrimination, and it applies even to non-US citizens. Basically, you have every right to remain silent when someone questions you, especially if the answers could get you in trouble with the law.
So next time you encounter an ICE officer who’s a bit too curious about your immigration status, plead the Fifth. Answering that question as an illegal immigrant could cause you many problems, after all.
And don’t forget — the burden of proof isn’t on you. If ICE suspects that you’re illegally staying in the country, it’s up to them to prove that claim. It’s not up to you to disprove it. So they should be producing evidence; not you.
The Right to Stay with Your Family
In general, courts try to keep families together. Cases of child abuse are exceptions to this rule, but other than that, family court rulings in the 20th century were quite consistent. So if you have a family member who is a citizen or a legal immigrant, you should be given the right to stay with them.
Keep in mind that this right is a little muddled when it comes to illegal immigration. You do have it, but some courts might not take it into account.
Being an illegal immigrant comes with its dangers, but that doesn’t mean that you’re completely helpless. The Constitution applies to illegal aliens, and their rights in the US are quite clear. Be sure to learn them so that you can stand up for yourself and get the treatment you deserve.
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