U.S. immigrants are often unsure about their basic rights as immigrants in the U.S.
Questions like “Do immigrants have any rights?”, “What are the rights of immigrants?” are often raised and discussed by immigrants in various forums. For the benefit of our readers, we have compiled some of the basic rights of immigrants residing in the U.S. and tips to effectively enforce your immigrant rights when needed.
Rights of Immigrants In The U.S.
I.Employment Related Rights of Immigrants:
a.Regardless of your legal status, you have a right to receive at least the minimum wage for full-time work. You are also entitled to over-time wages when you work more than the stipulated hours.
b.You have a right to be treated and paid fairly at your work-place. You cannot be held in a job against your will, and you have a right to keep your passport and other identification documents in your possession. You may request help from unions, immigrant, labor rights and other groups and report abuse without retaliation. You also have a right to seek justice in U.S. courts.
c.You are entitled to have your workplace free from hazards likely to cause serious harm. Employers are required to remove hazardous materials from the workplace and provide you safety equipment wherever necessary.
II.Rights of Immigrants Against Unlawful Searches and Seizures:
Except in cases of emergencies, authorities are generally required to get a warrant signed by a judge, before they can search your home. You have a right to refuse entry into your home, without a valid warrant signed by a judge. To enter an immigrant’s workplace, an officer must have a valid search or arrest warrant, or must have the employer’s permission to enter the workplace.
III.Rights of Immigrants Against Unlawful Arrest:
You have a right against being arrested unlawfully. A U.S. Immigration officer may generally arrest you without a warrant only if he believes that you are in the United States illegally and that you are likely to escape before a warrant can be obtained for your arrest.
IV.Right of Immigrants To Remain Silent:
If you are ever stopped or questioned, and if either you do not have your documents with you, or you are an undocumented alien, you have the right to remain silent about your immigration status. This right to remain silent may be exercised by you at any place when questioned by authorities, such as in your home or in any public place.
V.Rights of Immigrants To Be Represented By An Attorney:
You have a right to talk to and be represented by an attorney.
VI.Rights of Immigrants To Refuse To Sign Any Document:
You have a right to refuse to sign any immigration document and to request to speak to an attorney before signing such documents.
Tips For Enforcement of Immigrant Rights:
- You should carry proof of your immigration status at all times. If you are a permanent resident, you are required by law to carry your Green Card. If you are a nonimmigrant alien, you may carry copies of your I-94 and/or approval notice, valid visa and/or Employment Authorization Document (EAD card).
- If an officer begins to question you, you may ask the officer whether you are free to go. If the officer says yes, then you may leave. If the officer says no, you have a right to remain silent.
- If you are arrested, you should remain silent and demand the right to speak to an attorney. Always keep in mind that any information given by you without consulting your attorney could endanger your case.
- Do not give the officer any reason to charge you with disorderly conduct or obstruction of justice. Be polite while asserting your right to be silent.
- Do not sign any document without consulting your attorney . By signing a document without consulting an attorney, you may be giving up some of your immigrant rights.
- Always memorize and carry with you phone numbers of close family members, and your attorney.
- If you are arrested or detained, you may ask to speak to someone from the consulate of your country.
- Always keep more than one set of all your immigration papers fully updated in safe custody.
Foreign nationals in the U.S. must realize that even though their stay in the U.S. may be temporary, they still have many of the basic rights that U.S. citizens have. Immigrants should understand and exercise their basic rights to protect themselves. While the above-mentioned rights for immigrants are commonly enforceable, you must obtain legal advice for your specific situation in cases of any violation of your rights. As a foreign national residing in the U.S., if you believe that your immigrant rights are being violated, you should contact your immigration attorney immediately and seek help.
If you have any questions or need advice in maintaining compliance with U.S. immigration laws, consult our top immigration attorney today. We’ll analyze your specific situation and recommend the most effective strategy based on our 16+ years’ experience handling similar matters.
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