January 3, 2018

What the Miranda warning means for immigrants

Within the U.S. borders, every person has the right to due process of the law. As we stated in a previous blog post, many protections in the constitution apply to Michigan immigrants. This includes a fair trial and appropriate police conduct during criminal investigations.

One well-known part of due process is the Miranda warning, which you may have heard during an arrest in American crime dramas. This mainly describes the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.

The purpose of a Miranda warning is to help a suspect avoid self-incrimination. “Pleading the fifth” can protect you against confessing to police until you have an impartial trial in court. After receiving a Miranda warning, staying silent is often the best course of action, regardless of your innocence. You will still need to answer law enforcement’s identification-related questions, such as your name and current address.

For immigrants, the Miranda warning can be indispensible. Immigrants who are relatively new to the country might not be familiar with how American courts function. This right allows immigrants to speak with an attorney who can help with criminal defense to ensure that the trial is as fair as possible.

Because immigration policy is currently a sensitive topic in American politics, some immigrants wonder if law enforcement may fail to abide by these rules. Your rights can depend on your status and the type of legal issue. For example, ICE officials may not read a Miranda warning to undocumented immigrants in deportation cases. If you are unsure of your rights as an immigrant, you can ask a knowledgeable attorney to explain your case.