Watching the news lately may be unsettling for many who are foreign nationals in the United States. It seems like every night the news reports on the deportation of those who entered the country illegally. For some, this was their only offense, but for others, criminal activity resulted in their removal from the U.S.
If you are in Kentucky on a visa or you have a green card, you may feel that you are safe from deportation. However, any violations of immigration law or involvement in criminal activity may place your residency status in jeopardy. Understanding the deportation process may help you recognize when it is appropriate to seek legal assistance.
The deportation process
Because you have valid documentation legitimizing your residency in the country, you would likely have the benefit of a hearing before a judge before your removal. Otherwise, for those without travel documents, or whose documents are forgeries, deportation occurs immediately. Within the Department of Justice, the Immigration Court will hear your case, and a judge will make a ruling on whether you will remain in the U.S. or return to your home country. Until the date of your hearing, you will likely be held in an immigration detention center.
In some cases, you may avoid the deportation process by voluntarily leaving the U.S. This may allow you to avoid some of the penalties, such as a ban from admission, that accompany deportation. However, if the DOJ judge rules in favor of your deportation, the government will contact your home country for travel documents and permission to return you at the expense of the U.S. government.
Don't face deportation alone!
Once a judge rules for your deportation, you have one more option. You may be able to file for an appeal, depending on your circumstances. Here is where the guidance of a legal professional will especially benefit you. However, if your appeal is unsuccessful, you may enlist the help of an attorney to apply for readmission to the U.S.
If you have family or loved ones in the U.S., removal from the country may bring enormous hardships. You have the right to seek legal counsel at any point in the process, and the sooner you have an advocate, the better your chances of a positive outcome. Additionally, an attorney can assist you in filing a complaint if you suffer any mistreatment while in detention or at any other time during the immigration or deportation process.