Rights If Arrested and Picked up by ICE


If you are arrested by local police, the police department must charge you with a crime in court within 48 hours. However, if ICE has placed a “detainer” status on you, then you will not be released.

What to do if immigration (ICE) picks you up?

  • First, you have a right NOT to sign any statements or documents, especially ones giving up your right to a hearing in front of an immigration judge. Let the immigration officer know that you wish to speak to an attorney first.
  • Second, do not volunteer any information. Do not say anything about your status. This is a MUST.
  • Third, you have the right to contact your consulate. If you don’t have any family members or friends, contact your consulate immediately.
  • Lastly, DO NOT LIE TO AN OFFICER. If you lie to an officer, you can face criminal charges.

What happens when you get arrested?

If you are arrested, then you will be placed in a holding cell or temporary processing station where you will be fingerprinted and interviewed. After being processed, you will be assigned a deportation officer. Next, your deportation officer will give you a document called Notice To Appear (NTA). Your lawyer will need this document in order to figure out what type of case you have. Next, you will be given an “A Number,” alien registration number.

After the processing, you will be moved to an immigration detention center, local jail, or a military base where you will stay while your immigration case is pending. Typical transfers are done in the middle of the night, so make sure you have all your paperwork organized and have them on you at all times.

Your rights:

You have a right to make a phone call. If you have no family or friends, memorize your lawyer’s phone number. Note your phone call might be blocked, so make sure you have alternative options.

Personal belongings:

At the time of your arrest, all of your personal belongings get registered; make sure you get a receipt for your personal property. Without a receipt, you might never see your personal property again.

Moreover, make sure your legal documents are not processed as “personal property.” Because you want quick access to your legal documents, always ask to keep your legal documents with you.

How can your family and friends find you?

Have your family or friends contact your local office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Your family and friends will need your full name and your “A number.” Undocumented family and friends must not visit you because they, too, will be a pickup.

Immigration attorney/lawyer:

You do not have the right to a free attorney, but you have the right to hire your own lawyer, at no cost to the United States government. Also, you have the right to represent yourself.


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