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Does the Constitution apply to you if you are not a citizen?

That immigration is a complex matter is no secret. Whether you are trying to bring your fiancé to America, work in the United States or get your Green Card, the application process can seem demanding. Appeals may seem to take forever. And denials can often put hope to the test.

Regardless of your adjustment of status, you may not understand what rights you have. According to a professor from Yale Law School, Cristina Rodriguez, the U.S. Constitution applies to undocumented immigrants. Rather than “citizen,” the Constitution often refers to “person” or “people.” Therefore, Rodriguez says the rights apply to you, regardless of citizenship.

How rights might apply to you

Just because these Constitutional rights might apply to you does not mean you can necessarily predict how they will be effected. It may be good to consider what the following rights could look like in your case:

  • Legal representation – According to the Sixth Amendment, you have the right to counsel in cases of criminal defense. However, in matters of civil deportation cases, this right would not apply.
  • Due process - Unless you are processed through expedited removal, you have the right to a hearing in immigration court.
  • Unreasonable search and seizure – An exception applies to border searches, which courts do not consider unreasonable.

Though you cannot predict the way a given court will decide to interpret the Constitution, your presence in the country may entitle you to certain rights. If those are violated, a dedicated immigration attorney can help you determine appropriate next steps.

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