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Know Your Rights

Know Your Rights With Border Patrol

On Private Property: Border Patrol cannot go into private property inland without a warrant or permission. Within 25 miles of the border, agents may enter private property without a warrant. Border Patrol cannotenter a home on private land anywhere without a warrant or consent.  They should not cause physical damage to private property. 

In the Car: Border Patrol agents cannot pull over vehicles to question drivers about their immigration status unless they have "reasonable suspicion" of an immigration violation. Agents should always be able to explain the reason for a stop. It is illegal for Border Patrol to rely on a person's ethnic or or racial identity to justify a stop. 

At Checkpoints: Border Patrol may stop vehicles to ask few but limited questions to verify the occupant's citizenship and to visually inspect the exterior of the vehicle. Agents may send vehicles to a secondary inspection area for the same purposes. Agents should not ask questions unrelated to verifying citizenship nor can they hold you for an extended reason without cause.  Although you have the right to remain silent, officials may detain you if you don't answer the necessary questions to establish citizenship. NEVER FLEE A CHECKPOINT!

At Border Crossings: At the ports of entry, agents may question people about their citizenship and what they are bringing to the country. Although it is your right to remain silent, if you do not answer the necessary question to establish citizenship officials may deny you entry or detain you for further questioning and/ or search. Agents MAY search any vehicle and all passenger belongings without a warrant, "reasonable suspicion" or consent.  Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requires that searches be "conducted in a manner that is safe, secure, humane, dignified, and professional." They should not damage personal property during an inspection.

In Jail or Detention:  If you are detained, you always have the right to remain silent and you have the right to speak to an attorney. If you are a citizen of another country. you also have the right to speak with your consulate. You may be asked where you were born and how you entered, however you do not have to answer these questions. Your answers may be used to detain or deport you.  Do not sign anything without talking to a lawyer. If you are not a U.S. citizen, signing certain documents may mean that you are giving up your opportunity to stay in the U.S. 

Disclaimer: This is not legal advice. Consult with a lawyer if you have specific questions regarding your situation. 

Source: The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona. www.acluaz.org