In case you missed it, Saturday marked the "National Day of Action for Deportation," when immigration advocates called on politicians to put an end to forcibly removing persons from the United States.
Under the Twitter hashtags #Not1More and #2Million2Many, activists rallied around the common goal of ending the deportation of undocumented immigrants. It's believed that as of this month, the Obama administration will have deported 2 million people since 2009.
Deportation haunts many American immigrants, but here are five legal tips to consider when fighting removal from the United States:
1. Find a Good Immigration Attorney.
This is really the most important piece of advice for any person facing deportation: Find a good immigration attorney. If you begin to fight your removal without the proper legal assistance, any potential mistakes may cost you your ability to remain in the United States.
Finding the right immigration attorney also means asking the right questions, ensuring that you and your attorney are in sync with your immigration situation and your expectations.
2. Determine Your Immigration Status.
In order to build your case against deportation, you need to understand your current immigration status. You may be legally in the United States on a visa, residing on an expired visa, or remaining in the country after entering without documentation. You may discover that although your visa has expired, you were actually a U.S. citizen all along, as happened to one lucky man from Mexico.
More realistically, discussing your exact status with your attorney can allow you to learn more about your options moving forward.
3. Know Why You're Facing Deportation.
Many residents find themselves fighting deportation based on contact with the criminal justice system, like getting arrested for an alleged crime.
For example, while a first-time DUI charge without injury is unlikely to lead to deportation in and of itself, the proceedings may bring to light that a resident is in the United States illegally. Knowing what you're required to disclose to an immigration judge and how you can proceed in defending yourself is key.
4. An Adjustment of Status May Be Possible.
If you are a non-permanent resident facing deportation, you may be eligible for an adjustment of your immigration status. Depending on your work, family, or country of origin, you may be eligible for permanent residency -- and more importantly, you may be able to avoid removal. This option may even be available if you entered fraudulently or illegally.
5. Consider Alternatives to Deportation.
Sometimes fighting deportation means knowing when to bow out, to fight another day. It may be in your best interest to voluntarily leave the country when facing deportation, to avoid the negative effects of a removal order.
Knowledge is power in fighting deportation, so don't leave yourself powerless. Contact an experienced immigration lawyer today.
- Immigration Activists Escalate Deportation Fight: 'Not One More' (The Huffington Post)
- Baby Born on Plane, Arrives As U.S. Citizen (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- Which Crimes Can Get Legal Immigrants Deported? (FindLaw's Blotter)
- What do You do if Your Tourist Visa Expires While You Are in Jail? (FindLaw's KnowledgeBase)