As an immigrant living in Texas, you may do your best to keep your head down and your nose clean. Your efforts to stay out of trouble could fall just a bit short and result in a run-in with the police or an immigration agent. If asked about your immigration status, would you know how to respond?
In case this ever happens, the ACLU has you covered. Learn how to handle yourself and assert your legal rights.
Set the tone for the interaction
Despite how plagued with nerves and anxiety you may feel, you have to do everything you can to remain calm and not appear as a threat. Do not fidget or attempt to run, even if you feel harassed. You do not want to give the police or an immigration agent a reason to use force against you.
When asked about your status, tell the truth. You can give police your name, but you can assert your right to avoid answering any other questions. That said, you do want to show police your immigration papers if you have them on your person.
Police may ask to search your pockets, bags or anything else you have on you. It is best to refuse, as law enforcement officers cannot legally search you without having probable cause or your express consent. If you are an immigrant older than 18, it is best to always have your immigration papers whenever you leave the house.
This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.