expert before speaking to the INS either in person or by telephone. 

Noncitizens must assert these rights. If you do not demand these rights, you can be deported without seeing either an attorney or a judge. Leaving the U.S. in this way may have serious consequences for your ability to enter later or to gain legal immigration status in the U.S.

Remember: Knowing our rights is our strength. We must exercise these rights and educate others. Even though some of us may be undocumented, we all have the same rights and protections.

For more information, you can call CHIRLA toll free at 1-888-624-4752. If you need legal assistance, please call the National Lawyers Guild Ė LA Chapter at (323) 653-4510 or contact them at http://www.nlg-la.org. This information was provided by the National Lawyers Guild.


CHIRLA
Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles

UNDERSTANDING MY CIVIL RIGHTS

 

The Right to Advocate for Change: The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the rights of groups and individuals who peacefully advocate changes in laws, government practices, and even the form of government.

The Right to Remain Silent: The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution provides that every person has the right to remain silent in the face of questions posed by any police officer or government agent.  

The Right to be Free from "Unreasonable Searches and Seizures": The Fourth Amendment is supposed to protect your privacy. Without a warrant, no government agent is allowed to search your home or office and you can refuse to let them in. Know, however, that it is easy for the government to monitor your telephone calls, conversations in your office, home, car, or meeting place, as well as mail. E-mail is particularly insecure. The government has already begun stepping up its monitoring of e-mails. CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS CANNOT BE SUSPENDED EVEN DURING A STATE OF EMERGENCY OR WARTIME.  

specifically describe the place to be searched and the things to be seized. If they have a warrant, you cannot stop them from entering and searching, but you should still tell them that you do not consent to a search. This will limit them to the scope of the search authorized by the warrant.

 

If your home or office is broken into, or threats have been made against you, your organization, or someone you work with, share this information with everyone affected. Take immediate steps to increase personal and office security. You should discuss with your organization and with a lawyer whether and how to report such incidents to the police and the advisability of taking other legal action. If you decide to make a report, do not do so without a lawyer present.  

 

Prudence is the best course, no matter who you suspect, or what the basis of your suspicion. Do not hesitate to confront suspected agents politely, in public, with at least one other person present, and inquire about their business. If the suspect declines to answer, he or she at least now knows that you are aware of the surveillance. If you suspect government agents are monitoring you, or are harassing you, report this to the National Lawyers Guild.  

DO NOT TALK TO THE INS, EVEN ON THE PHONE, BEFORE TALKING TO AN IMMIGRATION LAWYER. Many INS officers view "enforcement," meaning deporting people, as their primary job. They do not believe that explaining immigration options is part of their job, and most will readily admit this. (Non-citizens who are victims of domestic abuse should speak with an expert in both immigration law and domestic violence). A non-citizen should always speak with an immigration law

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