What Legal Rights Do Immigrants Have in the United States?: Part II

Shaun Salmon | July 17, 2018

From asylees and refugees to business and student visa recipients (and from domestic violence to political strife), immigration is a big deal. It’s important to recognize that there are several laws governing U.S. immigration policy and human rights - both at the federal and international level. In Part II of this two-part article, we’ve identified three more things attorneys should keep in mind concerning the legal rights of immigrants:   

  1. If an immigrant is taken into custody, he or she must be afforded due process and other rights to ensure that they are relatively safe from harm while in detention. Immigrants are also entitled to due process in any hearing or other legal matter that they are involved in - regardless of whether they are documented or undocumented, or whether they are detained for breaking laws, immigration or otherwise. (Read: due process applies to immigrants, just like any other person).
  2. In most cases, Congress will set forth the rules related to how immigrants are treated when they are in the U.S. Authorities at both the federal and state levels, however, may have some leeway when it comes to enforcement. In some cases, this means that they are enforced in a lenient fashion. In others, it means they are enforced beyond the scope of what the law may have intended.
  3. Neither the federal government nor state governments can deprive a person of life, liberty, or property solely because of their presumed immigration status. To do so may even be a violation of the United States Constitution. 

To learn more about the laws that provide rights to immigrants, check out this important program - and you can always take a deeper dive into the practice of immigration as a whole on Lawline.com. For ways to help with the current crisis, see this super-helpful guide or this Time Money article.

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About the Author

Written by Shaun Salmon

Shaun is the Director of Content at Lawline. She holds a JD with a certification in Intellectual Property/Entertainment & Sports Law from Seton Hall Law and is admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey. In her free time, she coaches a high school dance team and choreographs the school’s musical. She is also a passionate advocate for animals and strives to cultivate Animal Law programs, among her other endeavors with the company.


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