Safety for Undocumented Students

Wrried student

As the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) continues taking action against undocumented immigrants in cities around the country, some NC State students may fear for their safety and security. If you are impacted, it is important to understand your rights.

NC State Police, in partnership with students and campus organizations including the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity, has created an FAQ (frequently asked questions) to provide critical information for anyone who has questions about their rights if stopped by the either NC State or local police, whether through general interactions, traffic stops or being pulled over, and how NC State Police works with federal agencies such as DEA, ICE and DHS.

About the FAQ

This list of FAQs was created as a direct result of student leaders and organizations coming together and requesting ways to make their campus community and peers feel more welcome and safe on campus, and then developing much of the list. Participating organizations included Students for Immigrant Rights and Equity, Mi Familia, Association of Latino Professionals for America, Latin American Student Association, Lambda Pi Chi, Sube Ritmo, Lambda Theta Phi, Afrikan American Student Advisory Council and Student Government. We thank these students for their efforts to help make NC State an even more inclusive and welcoming campus for everyone.

Interacting with Police Officers

What should I do if I am stopped by NC State Police?  
If you are stopped by a university police officer, the officer should tell you the reason for the stop. You should cooperate with the officer and provide any identification if requested. On campus, you may be required to produce your university-issued identification in certain instances.  Examples of such instances include when having an ID is generally required, (such as accessing buildings or events) or investigation of possible policy violations. Stay calm, do not run and you should not argue with, resist or obstruct the officer. When stopped, the officer should tell you the reason for the stop. If they do not, you may ask as to the reason.

Do NC State Police check citizenship?
University police do not check the immigration status of individuals they stop. The only time they are notified of an individual’s immigration status is if there is a notification attached to the individual’s name when they run checks through the NCIC (National Crime Information Center) system.

What is the NCIC?
NCIC is the national repository database maintained by the FBI for individuals wanted for crimes or reported stolen items (including personal property, weapons, vehicles or money). As part of standard practices, officers check this database to determine if a stopped individual has any outstanding warrants, stolen vehicles, stolen property, missing persons, etc. For more information about NCIC, see National Crime Information Center (NCIC).

What do I do if Local Police (RPD) stops me?
When stopped, the officer should tell you the reason for the stop. You should cooperate with the local police and provide any identification if requested.

What do I do if an outside federal agency (DEA, ICE, DHS) contacts me and/or stops me?
The same rules apply as when stopped by local police.

Traffic Stops

What happens if I am stopped for a license and insurance check?
You are required to have a driver’s license in your possession and to produce it when asked. The same is true for vehicle registration.

Why do NC State Police make driver’s license and auto insurance checks?
Driver’s license, seat belt and other motor vehicle checking stations (including DWI) ensure compliance with motor vehicle laws and increase safety by keeping unlicensed and/or impaired drivers or unsafe vehicles off of the roads.

If You Are Pulled Over

What should I do if I am pulled over for a traffic violation?
Most officers will tell you who they are and the reason for the stop. If they do not, you may ask the reason. They will ask you for your driver’s license and vehicle registration. The officer will take the documents you provide, ask you to remain in the vehicle for your safety and run the documents to determine if they are valid. The officer will then issue the appropriate enforcement action based on the set of circumstances.  In most instances, it will be either a verbal warning, written warning or a citation. In rare instances, and dictated by the degree of the offense/violation, the officer may arrest someone. If you are arrested, do not resist. Read all papers provided to you carefully and ask for an interpreter if you don’t understand the instructions or cannot read the papers.  

What happens if I am pulled over for a traffic violation and I am not a U.S. citizen?
The same as above. However, if you do not have a driver’s license because of being a foreign national (i.e., you are a student or visitor to the country), you must provide your government-issued passport.

What happens if I am pulled over for a traffic violation and I do not have any legal status in the U.S.?
Our officers may issue a citation or arrest the individual for the motor vehicle or criminal violation (i.e., driving while impaired). We will only detain an individual for immigration-related concerns if there is an indication from another law enforcement agency to detain the person. We do not have any input or involvement with what transpires at the jail after an individual is turned over for processing.

NC State Police Working with Federal Agencies (DEA, ICE or DHS)

Can off-campus agencies request information about a student?
Yes, off-campus law enforcement agencies can request information about students. However, that does not mean that the information is automatically provided. 

When will NC State Police release information to another agency?
Only in very limited instances can information be provided. For law enforcement, those instances usually require a judicial process or if there is an emergency situation (i.e., someone’s life is in danger) to release the information. A judicial process can be a subpoena, search warrant, court order or arrest warrant. Regardless, the judicial process must have already been initiated before information can be released.

Does NC State Police release information about immigration status?
University police do not access or disseminate any information related to visa or immigration status.