Immigration Law FAQs

I Lost my Immigration Case in Court, Will I Be Deported?

Not necessarily. If an immigration judge orders you deported, you have 30 days from the date of the decision to file an appeal with the Board of immigration Appeals (BIA). This means that you are challenging the decision that the immigration judge made and if the Board agrees with you, your immigration case is not over. You have a right to remain in the United States while the appeal is pending.

If the Board renders an unfavorable decision, this could be the end of your immigration case. When the Board agrees with the immigration judge, the decision becomes final and you have a deportation order against you. Unless you have a new legal basis upon which to remain in the country, you should start preparing for departure.

If you are not in custody, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will sometimes send a “Bag and Baggage” letter, letting you know the date, time and location to report for your deportation and how much luggage you can bring. Sometimes, there is no letter and you are taken by surprise.

If you are unable to travel due to illness or another very good reason, you can apply for a “stay of the removal order” which will allow you more time in the U.S., if the application is granted.

I Was Granted Voluntary Departure, How Soon Do I Have to Leave the U.S.?

A grant of voluntary departure gives you either 60 or 120 days to leave the United States. If you fail to depart you can be fined up to $5000 and you will have a 10-year bar to several types of immigration benefits, including adjustment of status. If you leave after the specified time, you will be considered deported and barred from returning to the United States for 5, 10, or 20 years or even permanently. If you do not leave the U.S. the voluntary departure order automatically become a deportation order and you can be picked up by immigration officials and deported, without first seeing a judge.

How Soon Will I Be Deported After an Immigration Arrest?

It depends. If you have a final order of removal, the U.S. government has a right to remove you. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has to coordinate your deportation with your home country. You could be deported in a matter of days, weeks, months or even years. In some cases, ICE cannot deport you because your home county is not approving ICE’s deportation request.

If you were never in removal proceedings and was served with a Notice to Appear (NTA), for the first time, the court has to find you removable before you can be deported. You can also consent to removal by electing voluntary departure, if you want to leave the U.S. on your own. You will be given either 60 or 120 days to leave.

How Can I Avoid Being Found by ICE?

There is no way to be 100% safe from immigration enforcement officials. You can minimize your risk of encounters with ICE by not traveling within 100 miles of the U.S. border and staying within “ICE sensitive locations,” such as schools, daycares, preschools, primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, and known school bus stops during periods when school children are present at the stop, health care facilities, such as hospitals and doctors’ offices places of worship, including synagogues, mosques, and temples, funerals and weddings, and public demonstrations, such as marches, rallies, or parades.

Can I Get a Work Permit with DACA?

Yes. A DACA recipient is eligible for work authorization. You must show that you have an “economic necessity.” The “work permit” is valid for a period of 2 years, subject to renewal at the time you renew your DACA application.

Are DACA Recipients in Lawful Status After the DACA Application is Approved?

No. “Deferred action” is not the same as lawful status. It means that the you will be protected from deportation because the Department of Homeland Security will exercise prosecutorial discretion when dealing with immigrants who have DACA. Deferred action allows the U.S. government to focus its enforcement resources on removing individuals who pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety. DACA recipients are “low priority” for the purpose of enforcing immigration laws.

An applicant whose DACA is granted is authorized to stay for the approval period and will not accrue unlawful presence while DACA is in effect. But any previous or subsequent accumulation of unlawful presence is not forgiven.

Can I Renew My DACA and Work Permit?

Yes. You may submit your DACA renewal request as early as 150 days before the date of expiration listed on your DACA approval notice and your Employment Authorization Document (work permit).

To be eligible for renewal, you must:

  • Not have departed the United States on or after August 15, 2012, without advance parole (prior approval);
  • Have continuously resided in the U.S. since you submitted your most recent request for DACA that was approved; and
  • Not have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and do not pose a threat to U.S. national security or public safety.
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