Ever since Donald Trump’s inauguration, there have been many articles about U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In one case, Rony Chavez Aguilar was in custody and spent three weeks without seeing a judge. The problem? While Aguilar was born in Guatemala, he’s been a legal U.S. citizen since February 2001. He is currently suing the Chicago field office of ICE. So, what legal recourse do Americans, including immigrants, have when detained by government officials?
Rights of American Citizens in Detention
First, what are your rights as an American citizen in detention? One, you have the right to remain silent. Two, you have the right to say no to a search of yourself or property. Three, you have the right to leave if you are not under arrest. Four, you have the right to a lawyer. Five, you have all of the rights guaranteed by the U.S. constitution. This includes the right to humane treatment while in detention.
What You Should Do If Detained
So, you should understand the rights you have. However, knowing you rights is only one responsibility of yours in the event of an arrest. If you are arrested or detained, remember to stay calm. You do not want to escalate the situation. Also, be compliant with the arresting officers. You do not want to be charged with obstructing a police investigation. You have the right to remain silent, so do not lie at any point. If you believe you are a victim of a false arrest or false imprisonment, try to remember the details of the incident. Finally, contact a lawyer.
Immigrant Detained By ICE
The American Civil Liberties Union has special recommendations for when detained by ICE officials. They are:
- The US government does not have to provide you with a lawyer. However, you have the right to one, so ask for information on affordable legal services.
- You are allowed to contact your consulate.
- You have the right to remain silent to an ICE agent. Only discuss your immigration status with a lawyer.
- Do not sign anything without talking to a lawyer.
- Make sure you’ve given your immigration number to trusted family members so that they can find you.
- Keep a copy of your immigration documents with someone you trust.
Filing a Claim
One, understand these two concepts:
1. False arrest and false imprisonment of an innocent citizen is a violation of Fourth Amendment rights and demands justice and accountability.
2. You have a relatively short period of time to initiate legal action, so the hours and days immediately following the incident are critical for gathering and securing the evidence that will be needed to prove your case.
Two, gather as much evidence as possible for your case. Write down details. Try to think if you have any witnesses or if any security camera potentially captured the arrest. Three, keep all documentation related to the arrest on hand. Also, keep records of any proof of what you were doing in the moments up to the arrest. For example, if you were simply leaving a store, keep the receipt. Lastly, contact a lawyer.
Damages From Case
If your lawsuit is successful, you could possibly receive compensation for the following:
- Loss of freedom or liberty
- Disrupted work
- Inability to perform family responsibilities and other obligations
- Damage to personal and professional reputation
- Emotional and mental distress
- Physical damages in the cases of excessive force
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Were your civil liberties violated? Contact one of our experienced false imprisonment attorneys, you can contact our office for a free consultation by calling (800) 762-9300 or by email. You can also get started by simply filling out one of our case intake forms we will have one of our attorneys get right back to you.