Talking to the police is stressful for anyone in the United States. That’s true for people who know they haven’t done anything wrong and people who were born in this country. It’s just the nature of the relationship between the police and the public in modern America.
For an immigrant who worries about being deported, though, that conversation carries an extra level of stress. They may not know if they have broken any kind of law. They may not know what type of charges can even lead to deportation. They may have spent years building up a life in America, but they’ll feel worried that one conversation with a police officer is going to take it all away from them.
When having a conversation with the police, it is important for immigrants to stay calm and collected at all times. This is hard under stress, but it’s important. A bit of friendly conversation can quickly reduce stress and cause everyone to relax.
That said, immigrants also need to remember that they do have rights. They don’t always have to answer questions. They can tell the officers that they want to see their lawyer. They should never be insulting toward the officers or get angry with them, however. Even if the whole thing feels confusing and unfair, it’s important for people to focus on their rights and remember that they will have a chance to defend themselves in court against unfair or even illegal actions by police officers.
It’s also true that immigrants often feel like they have more at stake than natural-born citizens. Deportation is a real risk. That’s why it’s important for them to understand their legal options if that conversation leads to an arrest.