Monthly Archives - October 2018

What Rights (if any) Do Undocumented Immigrants have?

The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution grants every “person” in the US certain rights. Yes, the 14th Amendment clearly uses the word “person” not citizen. It does not suggest in any way that human rights be limited to native born Americans. Yet, this is the way some people have chosen to parse this very important protection when it comes to undocumented persons residing in the US. I am Erika Roman an immigration attorney in Van Nuys and at Elrlaw Group we believe that every person is entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This is not a minority belief. It is the chief principal upon which this country was founded. The belief that human and civil rights apply to non-citizens is also a belief that has been consistently upheld by the Supreme Court. Examples of these rulings include:

  • Yick Wo v. Hopkins (1886)

·         Wong Wing v. U.S. (1896)

·         Plyler v. Doe (1982)

  • Zadvydas v. Davis (2001)

The Rights You Do have as an Undocumented Immigrant

Often, both citizens and non-citizens are confused as to which rights they do have under the constitution. Make no doubt about it, you do have certain rights even if you are undocumented and we are willing to fight for them. The rights that all persons who are in the United States have are based on the concept of Equal Protection. Here are several of these rights.

  • The right to a trial by jury
  • The right to a Miranda warning
  • The right to defend yourself against charges and deportation
  • The right to representation in criminal court
  • The right to protection against unlawful search and seizure
  • The right to protection against self-incrimination\
  • The right to file civil lawsuits
  • The right to be paid for work performed
  • The right to a healthy and safe work environment
  • The right to organize or form a union
  • The right to a free K-12 education

This list of your rights as an undocumented person is by no means exhaustive. You also have the right to receive healthcare and other programs that keep you safe and ensure your well being e.g., fire, police services, etc. In final analysis, the courts have ruled that, persons residing within the borders of the United States – undocumented immigrants immigrationincluded – are granted the same fundamental, undeniable constitutional rights granted to all Americans. If you have questions about immigration rights in Los Angeles, contact my office.

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