U.S. citizens are generally obligated to report anyone they know to be in the country illegally, though this should not be construed as a right to spy on anyone who “looks suspicious.” Still, illegal immigration is a concern and a very real problem, especially for cash-strapped state and local budgets. By reporting illegal immigrants to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, you can help support legal immigrants and the process of legal immigration.
Step One: Gather Information
This involves direct evidence of illegal immigration rather than just hearsay or gossip. It should come from an authoritative source such as an employer, a co-worker or a family member. Because illegal immigration is often associated with crime such as drug smuggling or human trafficking, it may be helpful to note instances of suspected illegal activity, though it is obviously not advised to investigate further. Details such as names, addresses, phone numbers, license plates and physical descriptions may also be useful to gather.
Step Two: Report To Police If Illegal Activity Occurring
If you truly believe that someone is involved in illegal activities, your first responsibility is to inform the police of your suspicions. You may suggest that you think they are illegal immigrants, but it will then be the police’s job to investigate their immigration status further.
Step Three: Consider Making An Anonymous Report
There are companies that will file an anonymous report with immigration officials if you are concerned for your safety or don’t want to make your name known. These companies also offer assistance in finding the proof you need to be sure of a person’s illegal status. While this service may require a small fee, some people feel that the fee is worth it to avoid any problems in the community.
Step Four: Report To Immigration And Customs Enforcement
If you don’t believe a crime is being committed, your evidence may still point to illegal immigration. The number to contact is 1-866-DHS-2ICE (347-2423). When sharing information with the ICE, you should avoid making emotional or ambiguous statements and only share the concrete facts of what you saw or heard that convinced you that they could be illegals. Keep in mind that simply speaking Spanish, “seeming different” or “being out of place” are not concrete facts that point to a person’s illegal status. A statement by the potential illegal’s friend, employer or family member discussing details of the immigrant’s legality will go much further with the ICE.