Agents of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) continue to rely on deceit and trickery in detaining undocumented residents throughout the country. More and more, they are resorting to posing as local law enforcement officers.

A recent example occurred right here in Virginia when ICE agents initiated a routine traffic stop in Prince William County, arresting one man. ICE used flashing blue lights on their vehicle to make what appeared to be a routine traffic stop, while wearing uniforms that neglected to identify them or their agency.

Guidelines if detained by ICE

ICE’s masquerading as local law enforcement while driving in unmarked cars creates fear among immigrant communities. It also limits local law enforcement from performing their jobs.

If you are stopped by ICE agents or any law enforcement officers, follow these guidelines:

  • Tell the agents that you are remaining silent and that you want to talk with an attorney. Do not be coerced into saying something, signing anything without a lawyer present.
  • Your rights include contacting your consulate or have the officer notify the consulate that you are under detention.
  • Make sure your immigration documents are in the possession of a trustworthy person.
  • Do not talk about your immigration status with anyone except your attorney.
  • If incarcerated, you can expect a visit from an immigration agent. Do not answer any questions or sign any papers before you talk with an attorney.
  • Make sure to thoroughly read the documents an agent provides you. If you do not understand the, ask for an interpreter.
  • If your individual rights have been violated, document everything about the incident or incidents. This information should include officer badge numbers, number of the patrol car, the agency for which they work as well as contact information related to any witnesses.

We are learning more and more that these federal agents sometimes do not disclose that they are with ICE until after an arrest. Such scare tactics have become more common today. But, please, try to stay as calm as you can and understand that you have legal allies.