Your Rights if you get Stopped by Law Enforcement Officers

Police car

If you are a recent immigrant, you may be feeling anxious about possible encounters with law enforcement officials or officers with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). We at Goldstein & Associates wish to outline what to do if you are stopped by the police or ICE Agents in your car or on the street, as well as what rights you have.

All information below is summarized from an article from the American Civil Liberties Union. See the original article at:

If an Officer Stops You

If an officer stops you and asks you questions, and you have legal immigration status, then comply with their requests. You are required to carry your immigration documents with you, such as your green card, Employment Authorization Card (EAD), documentation of nonimmigrant status (such as a work or student visa), or border crossing card. Failure to produce these documents can result in your arrest. If you are in the process of procuring one of these documents, but your application is pending with USCIS, then show the officer the receipt notices from your case.

If you do not have legal immigration status, or if your pending application has not been issued receipt notices yet, then ask if you are free to go. If they answer yes, then calmly walk away. Never run. Sometimes, officers may state that you are not under arrest, but you are not free to leave. In this case, you are being detained (but not arrested). They may pat you down and ask for your name. If they ask any further questions, you do not have to answer.

If an Officer Stops you in your Car

Remain calm and pull over immediately, roll down the window and keep your hands visible at all times. You must show your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. You do not have to answer any of the officer’s questions, unless they inquire about your valid immigration status, and you do not have to let the officer search your car. However, if they have a reason to believe that you have committed a crime, they may search your car anyway.

If you are Arrested

You have the right to remain silent. Do not disclose any information other than your name. You have the right to speak with an Attorney. When you make phone calls from prison, officers may listen to calls you make to friends and family, but not to attorneys.

If you are concerned about how this may affect you or your family, or if you have any other immigration needs, feel free to contact us online or call our office at 412-254-8700.

Bipartisan Plan for Immigration Reform

A new plan created by a group of bipartisan senators focuses on border control, job protection, and other issues in immigration reform.

In January, a document was released by bipartisan Senators Michael Bennet, Dick Durbin, Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Robert Menendez and Marco Rubio. This document laid out the foundation for updates to the United States’ immigration laws, including laws pertaining to illegal immigrants already living in the U.S.

Four Basic Legislative Pillars

  • Create a tough but fair path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants currently living in the United States that is contingent upon securing our borders and tracking whether legal immigrants have left the country when required;
  • Reform  our  legal  immigration  system  to  better  recognize  the importance  of characteristics  that  will  help  build  the  American economy  and  strengthen American families;
  • Create an effective employment verification system that will prevent identity theft and end the hiring of future unauthorized workers; and,
  • Establish an improved process for admitting future workers to serve our nation’s workforce needs, while simultaneously protecting all workers.

The plan also includes improved technology for the Border Control and steps to reduce racial profiling and violence.

Updates for Immigrants in the U.S.

What does this mean for immigrants currently living in the U.S.? Illegal immigrants are asked to register with the government for probationary legal status, dependent on a background check and including a fine. The plan aims to continue to welcome the “best and brightest” to the U.S., awarding green cards to those who hold Ph.D. or Master’s degree in science, technology, engineering, or math from an American University.

To read the entire transcript, visit the ABC news website. As you search for answers on citizenship, our goal is to arm you with the knowledge you need to know. If you have any questions on how the latest updates on immigration reform affect you or your family, contact us at or 1-412-258-8080.