What Are Your Rights When Interacting With Border Patrol Agents?
Every immigrant will, at one point or another, need to interact with Border Patrol agents. By being aware of their rights, immigrants can avoid potential problems and make these interactions go smoothly.
What Are Border Patrol Agents?
The U.S. Border Patrol is a division of the United States Customs and Border Protection agency. A Border Patrol agent is an individual who works for the U.S. Border Patrol.
Some of the responsibilities a Border Patrol agent has are as follows:
- Preventing undocumented immigrants from entering the United States.
- Detecting illegal narcotics and preventing them from entering the United States.
- Securing the land borders that divide the United States from the countries that surround it.
Each one of these responsibilities serves to facilitate the same goal: preventing unauthorized people, and items, from entering the United States.
Every single immigrant will, at one point or another, need to interact with a Border Patrol agent. For this reason, it’s important to not only be aware of their responsibilities, but how they interact with legal immigrants.
What Do Border Patrol Agents Do?
Right before a legal immigrant can enter the United States, they will need to go through the United States Customs and Border Protection agency.
Some of the most significant questions a Border Patrol agent may ask an immigrant are as follows:
- Why are you visiting the United States?
- How long do you plan to visit?
- Where will you be staying?
- Do you have the means to support yourself financially in the United States?
- Do the documents you present match the purpose and intention of your visit?
Outside of asking these questions, a Border Patrol agent may also:
- Search a car or other vehicle and/or vessel.
- Stop cars on the roads and highways near the border.
- Search the property of an immigrant they suspect has committed a crime.
- Arrest an immigrant who they suspect has committed a crime.
All of the questions and actions outlined above are responsibilities that Border Patrol agents can, and must, satisfy.
What Can You Do When Interacting With A Border Patrol Agent?
Every single immigrant has a variety of rights that they can, and often should, exercise when interacting with a Border Patrol agent.
Some of the most notable rights immigrants can exercise, when interacting with a Border Patrol agent, are as follows:
- The right to remain silent.
- The right to tell a Border Patrol agent that they won’t answer any questions without a lawyer present.
- The right to ask why they are being detained.
Outside of these rights, Border Patrol agents must have probable cause to search an immigrant’s belongings. But, if they don’t have probable cause, then they can only do so if the immigrant consents to a search. For this reason, a Border Patrol agent who searches an immigrant’s belongings, without their consent, is breaking the law.
Speak With A Houston Immigration Lawyer
Sometimes, interacting with Border Patrol agents is tricky and uncomfortable. And, sometimes, Border Patrol agents violate the laws they are sworn to obey.
Speak with a Houston immigration lawyer today. We will assist you in dealing with Border Patrol agents and any potential rights violations you may have experienced.