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Injured by USCIS? Here’s What to Do

Injured by USCIS? Here’s What to Do

Victims injured by employees of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services have systems they can follow to address the offense. Breaches of a person’s personal freedoms and civil rights are illegal. When it is committed by an agency of the United States, a county that aspires to stand against injustice and intolerance, it is absolutely necessary that action be taken to address the crime. People who may have interactions with USCIS can protect themselves against the agency should their rights ever be infringed upon.

Rights When Asked About Immigration Status

If an immigration officer with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services asks an immigrant about his or her immigration status, he or she has the right to remain silent. Immigrants can hire immigration attorneys prior to agreeing to answer questions. Immigrants have a right to decline if an immigration officer wishes to perform a search. Immigration officers cannot search belongings or someone’s body without probable cause or consent.

Immigrants over 18 that have immigration papers should keep them at all times. If they do not have the papers when an officer asks to see them, they can tell the officer they want to consult an immigration attorney before answering questions.

Rights When Being Arrested

If an immigrant is arrested or detained by USCIS, it is vital that he or she understands his or her rights. First of all, immigrants are not required to answer questions or give explanations or excuses. Waiting for an attorney isn’t only in the immigrant’s best interests, but is also a right that should be expressed. The police must give the arrested person the right to a local phone call and cannot listen into the conversation.

Non-citizens can ask their lawyers about the effects of a plea or criminal conviction on their immigration status. While they are in jail, they should not discuss their immigration status with anybody. An immigration agent may come to visit them, but the defendants are not required to answer their questions.

What to Do if Injured by USCIS

When a person is injured or his or her rights were infringed upon by USCIS, there are several steps he or she must take. First, he or she should write down everything about the incident he or she can recall. That includes the officers’ names, their patrol car numbers, and which agencies they were from.

Immigrants who were injured should immediately take photographs of the injury and seek medical attention. Once they have been treated and gathered documentation, they can file a complaint with the agency’s civilian complaint board. It may also be a wise decision for immigrants to seek the help of personal injury attorneys.

How To Reduce Risk of Injury

It is a violation for USCIS to cause an injury to victims. When an injury occurs, the agents responsible should be held accountable for their actions. However, immigrants should also know how to deal with USCIS so they can prevent injury to the best of their ability. The first thing for potential victims to understand is it is always best to stay calm and honest when working with immigration officers. Immigrants should refrain from providing fake documents or lying. Furthermore, immigrants should not run from an immigration checkpoint. These mistakes can lead to some amount of conflict, which can escalate to injury.


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by Lottie Pritchard // Lottie Pritchard is a contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.