For a generation of naturalized Americans, it's hard to look back at a period in time when there was more intense scrutiny over immigration issues, than there is right now. Immigration has always been a sketchy political issue, but in a bad economy, has become a volatile one. The tendency has always been to blame immigrants for all kinds of real and imagined problems in society, and during a recession, these tendencies have simply skyrocketed. In a situation like this, it's very important that immigrants, whatever their status, be well aware of their civil rights.
The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey has a few resources to help immigrants if they have been detained or arrested by immigration authorities. There is valuable information here, and as New Jersey immigration lawyers, we would encourage you to print out some of these pamphlets and keep them with you for handy reference. The ACLU also has bust cards to help you protect your rights.
Broadly there are some things that you must remember, no matter what your status.
- You have the right to remain silent.
- You have the right to hire an attorney. However, the government will not pay your attorney’s fees.
- Don't talk to anyone until you have been able to talk to an attorney first.
- Never sign any document or piece of paper unless you have spoken with an attorney, or have shown these papers to your attorney.
- If you do not understand English well, you have every right to ask for a translator.
ACLU has more resources that can help immigrants who have been detained or arrested by Department Of Homeland Security agents.