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Tips for Immigrants in NYC

October 20, 2021
Advocacy, Family Support

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) may detain:

  • Those who return to the United States after being deported
  • People who are undocumented in the United States
  • People who are legal but have a criminal record

According to ICE’s policy, people should not be detained in:

  • Schools
  • Religious institutions or funeral homes
  • Hospitals
  • Public protests or demonstrations

In order for ICE to enter a home, they need:

  • A legal document signed by a judge
  • The resident’s permission to enter the home

Tactics that ICE uses to enter a home:

  • Sometimes they use uniforms similar to police uniforms and wear bulletproof vests.
  • Sometimes they dress like civilians and say that they are police or federal agents.
  • Usually they carry a document that says GUARANTOR signed by an ICE supervisor.
  • Tactics like lying and intimidation are frequently used.
  • Some of the lies that ICE has used to enter homes have been: “We are looking for a criminal/suspect/fugitive,” or “We need to speak to you about possible criminal problems.”

ICE in NYC public schools:

  • The New York City Police Department (NYPD) is authorized to access school facilities in accordance with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the NYC Department of Education (NYCDOE) and the NYPD, and the Chancellor’s Provisions. NYPD officers and the school’s security agents follow NYPD policy regarding police action in schools.
  • Non-local law enforcement agents, including ICE agents, can only gain access to school facilities or school students under one of the following circumstances: with consent, with a court order, or in extreme circumstances.

You have the right to:

  • Deny ICE entrance to your home.
  • Refuse to have your home searched.
  • Stay silent.
  • Refuse to give information about your immigration status or criminal history.
  • Refuse to sign documents.
  • Say “I’m not going to answer any questions without the presence of a lawyer.”
  • Ask to be given your rights in your own language if you don’t speak English.


  • Lie to ICE agents.
  • Physically interfere with the agents when they are arresting a family member or another person.
  • Show them false documents

Documents that you should and shouldn’t provide

You can provide the following documents:

  • Municipal identification card, e.g. NYC-ID
  • Library card
  • United States driver’s license
  • Green card

It is not recommended to provide:

  • Your passport
  • Your consulate identification
  • Expired residency or other documents that are not yours or that are false

For information about how to protect yourself from raids in New York, contact the Immigrant Defense Project (IDP) at (212) 725-6422.