Foreigners and their rights

Many immigrants in Nashville are unsure of their civil rights. They may think they do not have any because they are not citizens of the United States, and they do not realize they do not have to suffer the many forms of mistreatment and harassment they often receive. Many of the rights and protections laid forth in the Constitution also extend to immigrants. Anyone who is a foreigner, regardless of his or her immigration status, should take some time to learn about her or his rights.

Protection against unlawful searches and seizures

Foreign nationals have the right to refuse entry into their homes to law enforcement and the authorities if they do not have valid warrants. The authorities are not allowed to search their homes and seize their possessions without warrants, either. But, in the event of emergencies, the authorities do not need permission and may enter their residence without permission.

Protection from unlawful arrests

Foreigners who commit crimes are subject to the same prosecution laws as citizens. However, they cannot be apprehended or detained illegally. But, authorities do have the right to arrest immigrants who are in the country illegally if they suspect they will flee the country to avoid prosecution.

Right to employment opportunities

Foreigners by law should have access to the same job opportunities as citizens. Their employers must provide them with safe and reasonably hazard-free work environments. Employers and their representatives cannot violate their rights or retaliate against them. They should also pay their foreign workers at least minimum wage for full-time work and overtime pay for overtime hours. Immigrants who work at jobs where they are not paid properly or subject to abuse and other employment issues have the right to take their situations to court.

Many situations can occur where immigrants may feel they need legal representation. Some foreigners assume that since they are not citizens, they cannot seek out legal counsel. Immigration issues are often quite complex, and when immigrants do not know their rights, they are even harder to overcome. Some immigrants are not familiar with the laws of this country and may accidentally break some. Even if they break the law, most immigrants qualify for legal representation, due process, fair and timely trials and more.

Immigrants should always keep copies of their immigration paperwork with them and in safe and secure places. They should also know their rights so they can keep others from infringing on them. Immigrants who do not have their paperwork should not delay in getting it, and foreigners who are dealing with immigration issues should speak to an attorney about their situations for guidance and to learn more about their rights.

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