How to Avoid an ICE Arrest in Your Home and Sudden Deportation

Sophie Marie Alcorn

Written by  Pro

Immigration Attorney - Irvine, CA

Contributor Level 10

Posted over 5 years ago. Applies to United States, 51 helpful votes



Buy a hotel lock for your front door

If you have a hotel lock, if Immigration and Customs Enforcement comes knocking on your door, you can ask to see the warrant, without letting them in.


If ICE knocks at your door - don't let them in, ask to see a warrant

Have the ICE officers slide the warrant under the door or under the hotel lock. Take your time to read the warrant. If the warrant was signed by a judge or magistrate, see what it gives the officers permission to do - arrest a specific person, or question people and inspect the place? If it appears valid, they have the right to come in - but make sure they only do what the warrant authorizes. OR, it is an administrative warrant? If so, ICE can only enter if YOU give permission. Do not give permission - you don't have to open the door.


Avoid all conversation with law enforcement.

Do not answer any questions. Volunteering information to Immigration and Customs Enforcement will not help you, and may increase the risk of being deported.


You have the right to an attorney, but there is no public defender

Tell ICE you want to speak to your attorney. Have the number of a trusted attorney on hand, perhaps programmed into your cell phone, so you can call her in an emergency. Unfortunately, since immigration law is not criminal law, there is no public defender, so you will either need to find a free attorney or hire one.


Do not sign anything

If you accept voluntary departure, you can be deported immediately. It will be very difficult for you to return to the United States if you have lived here illegally. If you have been here over 1 year without permission, there will probably be a 10 year bar for you to come back, and getting a waiver is very hard. If you live in Southern California and are from Mexico, you could be in a bus by nightfall. So, do not accept voluntary departure.


Insist on Seeing an Immigration Judge in the closest court to where you live

This will help ensure that your case will not be transferred to another, far away, court.


Appear in Immigration Court at the proper time and location

If you insist on your right to an immigration judge, you will be instructed when and where to appear in immigration court. Make sure you show up, or else you can be deported in your absence. Make sure you keep your address current with the court, so they can inform you by mail if your court date changes. It is advisable to find a lawyer - there are some free lawyers - who will represent you in immigration court. A lawyer is indispensable because there are many complicated ways for you to try to get a green card and stay in the United States legally.


Visit the ILRC Links below and print out a "Know your rights" card

You can keep this card in your wallet, and it comes in both English and Spanish.

Additional Resources

ILRC Know Your Rights

ILRC Conozca sus derechos

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Related Topics


If you want to visit or move permanently to the US, you'll want to learn about your different immigration options.

Immigration court

Immigration court is a division of the US Department of Justice that oversees and decides cases involving immigrants facing deportation.

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