Know Your Rights & Responsibilities

It is important to become familiar with your legal rights and responsibilities in the U.S. since norms can vary between cultures. All persons in the United States, including foreign nationals, have certain basic rights that must be respected by authorities, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and local police.  Please note, information presented here is not intended as legal advice; it is for information purposes only.

Your Rights and Responsibilities at WMU

As a member of the WMU community, you are expected to abide by WMU Policies. We advise you to review and become familiar with all Laws, Regulations, and WMU Policies and information provided by the WMU Office of Student Conduct. Even university violations could have consequences for your immigration status. 

Your Rights and Responsibilities in the U.S.

Please review the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) website and the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) website for information regarding your legal rights in the U.S. if you are ever questioned about your immigration status or stopped by police, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, or other federal law enforcement officials. The ACLU has a well developed site  discussing your rights in various situations.  

Be Prepared

  1. Print out a copy of this "Know Your Rights" card and keep it with you in your purse or wallet.
  2. Carry your immigration documents (passport, I-20 or DS-2019, and I-94) with you, especially when traveling outside of the local area. Students on OPT or STEM OPT should also carry his/her EAD card with them when traveling. You should also carry a copy of your I-94 Electronic Arrival/Departure record with you. You may retrieve a printable copy of your I-94 here. Note: It is not easy to replace immigration documents if lost or stolen; the utmost care should be exercised when traveling with these legal documents.
 *INA § 264(e)
 Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him pursuant to subsection (d). Any alien who fails to comply with the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall upon conviction for each offense be fined not to exceed $100 or be imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.


More Resources

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Know Your Rights

Fragomen Worldwide Immigration Website (Immigration Alerts)

Michigan Immigrant Rights Center

Wilberforce Pamphlet - Department of State

Note: The information provided here is basic, general information about the Constitutional rights of people in the United States. For specific information and legal advice, consult a qualified immigration attorney. Lawyer referral services are available vai tha American Immigration Lawyers Association and the State Bar of Michigan. The Western Student Association also provides free, weekly legal aid during the fall and spring semesters for current students.