ICE in NYC: Knowing Your Rights

With the Trump’s administration executive order on primarily muslim countries, it became clear that Trump is not a fan of immigrants: documented and undocumented. I attended a seminar this past week that provided information that I thought was crucial to share, especially since there have been unconfirmed rumors of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) raids around Jackson Heights and Flushing areas within Queens.

According to a recent discovery by WABC-TV, there are people in parts of Queens, particularly Woodside, where thieves posed as ICE officers approach people asking for documentation and accuse an undocumented status demanding money to get out of arrest. In order to confirm whether or not someone is an ICE officer, ask to see their ID. In general, an ICE officer will not ask for money, as it is against the law to bribe and accept bribe money over someone’s arrest.

It is still unclear whether or not ICE officers are in fact present in Queens and conducting raids across NYC. But as an undocumented and documented immigrant, it’s crucial that you stay informed and pay attention to ICE’s whereabouts. Unfortunately, all immigrants are at risk, unless they are officially citizens, as the Trump administration is unpredictable and any criminal record, including an innocent arrest, for immigrants with Green Cards, could eventually be enough means for deportation.

ICE conducts raids usually early morning between 5 and 8 am. They may do so when a person reenters the country and may use any information that an immigrant has submitted to federal agencies like USCIS. They are often dressed as police, and take full advantage of the privilege that affords them. In order to enter one’s home they need a warrant signed by a judge. Unfortunately, they may use  lies, tricks, and intimidation in order to gain more information or to arrest the individual they suspect of being an undocumented person in the U.S. At times, ICE may use a sample warrant, instead of one that was signed by a judge to be used for a specific household or building. It’s difficult to differentiate between a sample warrant and an official one, but you can always ask ICE to slip the warrant under the door and take a picture to eventually show an immigrant lawyer.

Things to keep in mind if ICE comes to your door:

  • First ask if they are NYPD. If not, then:
  • They cannot enter your home unless you give them permission to do so or if they have a warrant, as stated above.
  • You can always refuse entry and refuse a search.
  • Do NOT lie, as it may come back to haunt you if you end up in court. Instead, you have the right to remain silent and to refuse to give any information, including identifying yourself.
  • Never sign anything without an attorney present. Take a picture of what ICE has asked you to sign and show it to an attorney.
  • You may refuse to show identification.
  • If you feel threatened into showing identification, use a NY municipal card, library card, Driver’s License or U.S. Green Card. Do NOT show fake documents or your passport.
  • If ICE manages to get into your home with a warrant and finds the person they are looking to arrest, do not physically interfere.
  • ICE are officers trained to respond to people looking to physically harm them, they look out for themselves and any inkling of threat could make a situation much worse.
  • You have the right to ask them to leave.


Every immigrant family should create an Emergency Plan in case ICE ever shows up at its door. This may include finding a place for one’s children, knowing who to call within the family, a friend, or a lawyer. The more prepared you are, the better.

What to do if ICE approaches you in Public:

  • Remain calm, do not identify yourself unless you are being arrested.
  • They need permission to search you, only you can give them that.
  • If you are being arrested, ask if you have permission to leave.


It’s crucial that you know your rights and speak them if not in English, in your native language. If you can, teach the people in your family, friend group, or colleagues at school to learn this simple phrase in english: No info, no entry, no search.

If you or anyone you know has witnessed a raid or do in the future, write down everything you saw or see right after it happened and report it with the Immigration Defense Project at (212) 725-6422. You can also contact your elected officials, who can be found here:, as they all have immigration departments and contacts for immigration lawyers.

For more information, see the PDF below. Information that I have provided can also be found on the Immigrant Defense Project’s Website.


One thought on “ICE in NYC: Knowing Your Rights

  1. I was born in the US and have lived in the NYC area all my life. How can I interfere if I see ICE trying to arrest someone?

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