President Trump has been very clear on his stance against illegal immigration. Officials have already increased deportation activity. Many expect more raids targeting undocumented immigrants with criminal records to follow soon.
Presumably, the new President means for his deportation activity to encourage legal naturalization among immigrants, reduce the strain undocumented immigration places on American taxpayers, and remove potentially dangerous undocumented immigrants with criminal records. However, many immigrants – both documented and undocumented – fear the government may wrongfully deport them. It’s vital to understand what to do if you or a loved one is facing deportation.
When immigration officials deem an individual is living in the United States illegally, they issue an order of deportation for that person. Anyone who has crossed the border into the U.S. illegally, overstayed a legal travel visa, or used a falsified passport, may face deportation. Additionally, some individuals applying for legal immigration status may not have the necessary paperwork to defend against deportation.
A past criminal conviction may also lead to an order of deportation. Even minor convictions from years ago may lead to an order of deportation, even for green card holders. If you are unsure whether an order of deportation exists for you, use your Alien Registration Number on your work permit, green card, or passport to find out by calling the Executive Office for Immigration Review. If your number is in the system, you may have an order of deportation on file.
If you or a loved one has an order of deportation, there are a few vital documents that could help improve your situation. First, contact a reliable immigration attorney if possible. Having legal counsel will be tremendously helpful for the coming proceedings, and a good attorney will help you sort through the necessary paperwork and file it properly.
Some of the key information you should gather includes:
These documents will help you and your immigration lawyer navigate your case. However, should you face a deportation raid or arrest by immigration police, remember even undocumented immigrants have Constitutional protection. Similar to any other arrest, you have the right to counsel, the right to remain silent, and the right to humane treatment. Any violation of these rights is a serious offense.
An arrest by immigration police does not necessarily mean the government will deport or even detain you. If the police are going to detain you, provide loved ones with your attorney’s contact information. You may also want to arrange for child care if you have children, reach out to your employer and let him or her know what is happening, and give your family your bank account information. If the government deports you, you will most likely not be able to retrieve your personal belongings.
One final consideration: immigration police do not leave a note for your family after they arrest you. Family members can find out if you’ve been detained by using the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Online Detainee Locator tool. If immigration authorities have detained a loved one, reach out to a qualified immigration attorney to help you navigate your case.
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