Right to Remain Silent: Do Immigrants Have It? Harlan York and Associates. The #1 Immigration Law Firm.

Right to Remain Silent: Do Immigrants Have It?

Harlan York and Associates. The #1 Immigration Law Firm.


Anyone who has watched any TV cop show knows “You have the right to remain silent.”

This right stems from the famous Supreme Court case of 1966 known as Miranda v. Arizona.

For nearly half a century, police have been required to give Miranda warnings to criminal suspects.

When Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrests an immigrant, there is no right to remain silent.

But is this just? 

Now the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is considering the Miranda warning in immigration cases.  In other words the Court is asking the question: “Do Immigrants Have the Right to Remain Silent?”

Ironically the cases are called Segovia and Miranda-Fuentes.

The 9th Circuit has jurisdiction over Immigration cases from Alaska, Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, the Northern Mariana Islands, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.  A strong ruling could affect millions of immigrants.

The Court will decide whether Immigration and Customs Enforcement should notify people upon arrest for potential deportation: Do Immigrants Have the Right to Remain Silent?

There are other warnings that an immigrant’s words can and will be used against him or her in United States Immigration Court.

Both Rebeca Segovia and Elder Miranda-Fuentes are green card holders fighting removal from the United States.

Their lawyers argue that it is nonsense to ignore Miranda rights – while allowing Immigration and Customs Enforcement to question suspects – and afterwards tell them that lawyers may assist in replying to questions by ICE.

When you stop and think about it, this whole process is as senseless as the lack of rights that immigrants have to an attorney when stopped at the port of entry or when they appear at United States Embassies and Consulates to apply for visas.

The simple facts are that the Immigration laws are arguably the most complicated of all regulations in federal codes. 

The United States is the greatest country in the world.  Yet we have tolerated this practice of limiting the rights of foreign nationals to be properly advised of the law for far too long.

Do Immigrants Have the Right to Remain Silent?

I humbly submit that the right answer is YES.
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Written by: Harlan York

Immigration Attorney Harlan York is Former Chair, Immigration Section, NJ State Bar Association and Former Co-Chair, NY State Bar Association CFLS Immigration Committee. Mr. York appeared on National Television on CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose and Primer Impacto on Univision, as well as Telemundo, NBC, and PBS. He was honored as First Ever Immigration Lawyer of The Year in NJ by Best Lawyers.

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