Immigrants in Texas may live in an ever-present state of anxiety regarding encounters with immigration agents. That anxiety can churn into outright fear should ICE agents ever arrive on an immigrant’s doorstep.  

The Austin Chronicle helps immigrants understand how to handle such encounters. Proper preparation and knowledge prove essential when the threat of deportation looms.  

When ICE agents announce themselves  

Immigrants should know that they do not have to open the door when ICE agents knock. The only time they absolutely have to allow immigration agents access is when law enforcement has an arrest or judicial search warrant that lists a property resident’s name.  

What to look for on a warrant  

If an agent has a warrant, it requires a thorough examination. According to the ACLU, a judge has to sign a warrant, and a court has to issue it. This is the only type of warrant that allows ICE agents legal entry into a person’s home. There are ICE and DHS warrants, signed by organizational employees, but they do not permit agents to set foot inside a person’s home. 

When agents have a valid warrant for entry 

Should an ICE agent have a court-issued warrant signed by a judge, residents have to let them inside. It is best to record agent statements and actions, which includes agent badge numbers and vehicle license plate numbers. Agents may try to convince immigrants or others to sign documents, but it is best to outright refuse to do so without first speaking to a legal professional.  

ICE agents may try to force their way inside someone’s home without a proper warrant. Under such circumstances, the homeowner should record her or himself denying consent to the entry and capture video of the agents’ actions.