Undocumented and Unafraid: Know Yr Rights

It's easy to disassociate numbers with emotions, so it’s simple to dismiss stories of people being rounded up by the hundreds- and even thousands- to be deported to their home country. Under the Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Thomas Homan’s new administration, raids have become more common than not, as stories routinely emerge of children having their parents detained right in front of their eyes.


According to the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Office of Immigration Statistics (OIS), there are approximately 11.4 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States as of January 2012. ProCon.Org estimates that it has gone down to 11.3 million in 2014. While this number continues to fluctuate, it’s no secret that with President Trump’s strict guidelines, approximately 11.3 million people have a lot to worry about in the near future. Although ICE is a federal agency, they still have limitations such as:

  • Unless they have a court order signed by a federal judge, you have the right to deny entry to ICE into your home or to show them any documentation.

  • If you are detained, you have the right to remain silent and can demand to see a lawyer; they CANNOT force you to sign ANY documents.

  • ICE cannot enter and detain at schools, day cares, school bus stops, hospitals, places of worship, funerals, or weddings unless in the case of immediate risk of a terror attack.

Also, it’s a common misconception that undocumented immigrants don’t have rights. Under the 14th amendment to the United States Constitution, it states: "Nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law." This amendment protects every person living in the United States, so, therefore, some rights of undocumented immigrants are:

  • Right to due process

  • Right to an attorney

  • Protection against discrimination

  • Right to defend against forced removal

  • Right to some degree of health insurance and minimum wage (if employed)

  • ALL children are entitled to a free public education.

  • Right to medical care.

Most undocumented immigrants are not aware that even though some of their peers may view them as rapists, drug dealers, and criminals, they still do have rights. And just like every other hard-working family, undocumented families want the best for their children. Their parents crossed the border so their children could cross the stage that will give them the opportunities their parents never had. ✉


article by: alejandra pena

visual by: victoria lawlor

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