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Your rights in detention

You have the right to remain silent.

You do not have to respond to questions about where you were born, where you are from, or your legal status, but you should never lie. Once you are detained, you will have to give your name, address, and birthdate, but you do not have to answer other questions.

You have the right to refuse to sign.

You can refuse to sign any paper until you consult with a lawyer. Do not sign anything you do not understand.

You have the right to make a phone call.

  • You have the right to call a family member, a lawyer, or your country’s consulate.
  • When you call your family, tell them the name of the jail where you are detained and your Alien Registration Number, or “A” number. This number should appear in all immigration or detention documents. It is nine digits and starts with the letter “A.”

You have the right to a lawyer...
but you have to find one and pay for it.

  • The government will NOT provide a lawyer for immigration cases. You must find your own lawyer.
  • It is important to find an immigration lawyer who specializes in deportation cases. You should not trust anyone who is not authorized to represent you in your immigration case.

None of the information in this resource should be considered legal advice. Please speak to an immigration attorney or Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) accredited representative about your particular case.

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