How To Report Illegal Immigrants

Written by J. Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

If you know of someone whom you have good reason to believe is illegally in the United States, it is well within your rights and indeed your responsibility to report that person to immigration officials. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can simply report everyone who looks different or speaks a different language. You have to have concrete proof or at least very good evidence that a person is not legally in the country.

Illegal immigrants burden state and local budgets, and they are more at risk for criminal behavior and non-integration than legal immigrants to the United States. By reporting illegals, you do a service to the process of legal immigration.

Getting the Proof You Need

Proof of illegal immigration is often as simple as talking to somebody who would know. In most cases, this is a co-worker, supervisor or employer, though it may also be a friend or family member. You may also find proof if you see someone engaging in questionable activities that could suggest a criminal presence such as drug trafficking. While you don’t need to find incontrovertible proof, you should do your best to base your beliefs on definitive statements or observations rather than mere feelings.

Once you have the proof you need, you should gather names, phone numbers, addresses, license plate numbers, photographs and physical descriptions, as they may be useful. Obviously don’t get more information than you are able to acquire safely.

Report To Police If Necessary

If a suspected illegal immigrant is engaged in illegal activity such as illicit trafficking or theft, you should call your local law enforcement agency before contacting Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Discuss what you’ve observed and make sure to mention that you believe the perpetrator(s) to be illegal immigrants, and the police will follow up with the ICE.

Anonymous Reporting

An anonymous report may be a good choice if you want to keep yourself safe. Not only will this help you avoid filing paperwork if you are called as a witness for the police or immigration officials, but it will help to keep you from being a target. Anonymous reporting services are private organizations that may require a small fee.

Reporting to Immigration and Customs Enforcement

For supposed illegal immigrants not committing a crime, contact ICE at 1-866-DHS-2ICE (347-2423). You will be required to give detailed descriptions as well as any information you’ve gathered, and you may be called in to make a statement and fill out paperwork. This is why you should be absolutely sure before reporting supposed illegal immigrants. Only share concrete facts of observation and what others said rather than sharing personal speculation.

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