Year after year, many foreign nationals enter the United States with hopes and dreams of a better life but things do not always go as planned. In 2019, ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers arrested approximately 143,000 non-citizens and removed more than 267,000 – which is an increase in removals from the prior year.
The deportation process is frightening, and causes stress and uncertainty. Deportation doesn’t just affect non-citizens who are subject to this process; it is also affects your loved ones.
When Does a Deportation Case Start?
Even if you entered the United States illegally or you entered legally but violated the terms of your visa, the removal case against you does not start until the government has served you with a Notice to Appear (NTA) in immigration court. You may be served in person or by mail. The NTA is a very important document that outlines the reasons why the U.S. government is trying to remove you from the country.
As soon as you get a NTA, you should start working on defending yourself against these proceedings. Immigration violations are civil—not criminal—so you will not be provided with an attorney but the government will have one when you go to court.
Fight Your Deportation Case
The first step in improving your chances of beating the deportation case is to consult with a private immigration attorney, experienced with removal proceedings. When you reach out to us for help with a deportation case, you will meet with the attorney during the initial consultation and she will review the NTA, your entries to the United States, your immigration record, your criminal history, whether you have any United States citizen family, current conditions in your home country, how long you have been living in the United States, your community record, and whether you have any fear of returning to your home country.
Once we get all the facts surrounding you case, we will build a robust defense, customized just for you. We will give you our honest opinion on what we believe your chances are, answer all your questions and give your case the time and attention that it deserves.
Common Deportation Defense Strategies
The government’s deportation case against you is not open and shut. The government has the burden of proving that you are deportable. You have a right to challenge their claims and show that you qualify for immigration relief that, if successful, will stop the removal case.
Some of the strategies that we pursue for our clients are:
- Motions to Terminate Removal Proceedings;
- Cancellation of Removal;
- Adjustment of Status;
- Violence Against Women Act (VAWA);
- Cuban Adjustment Act;
- Withholding of Removal (WOR);
- Relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT);
- Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA);
- Temporary Protected Status (TPS);
- Prosecutorial Discretion;
- Waivers for Criminal Offenses;
- T Visas for Victims of Human Trafficking;
- U Visas for Victims of Crimes;
- Voluntary Departure; and
- Administrative Appeals
Don’t Fight Deportation Alone
Immigration court is not the place to try and represent yourself when your future and your family’s future is at stake. Studies have shown that only 37% of immigrants go to immigration court with a lawyer. Of the 63% who went without, only 2% were able to win their cases.
Put yourself in the best position possible to stay in the United States. Contact the Fletcher Law Office for your personalized strategy session, by phone at 561-507-5772, email at [email protected] or via our contact form. We bring experience and aggressive legal representation to help you combat deportation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Getting married to a U.S. citizen could provide immigration benefits, such as allowing you to adjust your status and get a green card. However, this is not guaranteed. Your entire record will need to be evaluated, including whether your entry to the U.S. was lawful, your criminal history and medical history.