The legal rights of undocumented immigrants are grounded in the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees equal protection of the law, not only to any U.S. “citizen,” but also any “person” living within “its jurisdiction.”
What Specific Constitutional Rights Do All People Residing on U.S. Soil Have?
The Right to Remain Silent
The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says that every person has the right not to answer questions asked by a government agent. They can ask you questions but you cannot be arrested just for refusing to answer them.
The Right to be Free from “Unreasonable Searches and Seizures”
The Fourth Amendment protects your privacy. Without a warrant, no government agent can search your home or office without your consent, and you have the right to refuse to let him or her in. If you are arrested in your home, the officers can search the area “close by,” which usually means the room you are in at the time of the arrest.
The Right to Advocate for Change
The First Amendment protects groups and individuals who peacefully advocate for their rights or who oppose government policies. But, the U.S. Supreme Court has said that Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) can target non-citizens for deportation because of their speech and political views, as long as it could deport them for other reasons. This means the ICE could target a visitor who overstayed a visa because it disliked his or her speech, views, or associations with individuals and groups.