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What Rights Do Illegal Immigrants Have?

Posted by Gutierrez Law Firm on June 19, 2013

The United States affords certain legal rights to anyone residing within its borders or territories. Certain federal rights have even been extended to individuals who are in the country illegally. Moreover, each state has granted legal protections that may exceed those of the federal government. A qualified immigration attorney can fully explain to you the legal rights of an immigrant who lacks legal status in the United States.

Constitutional Rights

The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution guarantee certain basic human rights to every resident, regardless of immigration status:

  • The right to receive legal notice and defend oneself in court in the event of a lawsuit
  • Protection against search and seizure without probable cause
  • The right to file a discrimination lawsuit in federal or designated state courts
  • The right to appeal a removal proceeding by immigration officials

Undocumented Workers in the U.S.

Hiring an undocumented worker is illegal in the United States. A non-citizen is legally required to produce one of the following documents to work legally in the United States:

It is the responsibility of the employer to verify the legal status of job applicants. Undocumented workers are subject to certain rights and restrictions when it is discovered that they are working illegally in the United States:

  • Depending on the state, they may not qualify for unemployment insurance
  • Not all states allow undocumented workers to collect compensation in the event of injury
  • Disability insurance may be available for workers who pay into the system
  • Undocumented workers have the right to organize to improve workplace conditions and participate in union activities

Discrimination Protections

Discrimination based on nationality is illegal anywhere in the United States. An employer may ask for documentation of an applicant’s legal status, but only if there is a company policy that applies to all workers. Particular groups or employees may not be singled out for the purpose of discovering their legal status.

In the United States, even individuals who are in the country illegally have the right to be represented by legal counsel. Unlike legal residents, however, the government will not pay for the cost of a qualified attorney. The laws and administrative procedures associated with U.S. immigration policy are complicated and difficult to decipher, so anyone who is facing an immigration issue is encouraged to contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. That is because an immigration attorney is accustomed to representing individuals who lack legal status in court and before immigration officials.

For expert legal representation in Texas, contact the Gutierrez Law Firm at 210.225.7114 to set up a complimentary consultation.

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