There is some confusion these days about Federal agents’ pursuit and deportation of undocumented people.
Many have asked what to do when they observe persons detaining Hispanics without presenting either warrants or their credentials or badges. Is this legal?
No. When police or a sheriff or other law officer detains and accuses someone of acting illegally, that person is obligated to identify him or herself with name and address. He or she has the right to remain silent and the right to request to speak with an attorney. This is as true of undocumented persons as it is of citizens.
If you observe someone attempting to detain a person without providing a charge of illegal action and without showing an ID badge number or warrant, you should tell the person being detained to walk away and remain silent. If you have your cell phone, you should record what is happening and report it to the police.
The Fourth Amendment could not be clearer: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.” The writers of the Constitution understood that police power needs strict regulation, to protect peace officers as well as the people from force and intimidation.
This is the law of the land. Following it is the right thing to do and our duty as citizens.