Pursuing the American Dream is not easy, much less crossing the border into the United States. Many obtain their documents and manage to cross into a better life, but others remain in immigration limbo and are deported and expelled from the country before achieving it.
If someone is caught by the border patrol and does not have the required papers, the legal processes initiated will be difficult to overcome. Once the scenario is the worst possible, the real question is: Can I obtain legal status if I have been deported?
Are you sure you know what deportation is?
Deportation is “the process of removal (expulsion) from the United States of an alien for failure to comply with the laws of the country,” according to official U.S. government definitions.
That is, an unlawful act was committed such as entering the country illegally, committing a crime or violating U.S. laws, disobeying immigration laws, or engaging in criminal acts that threaten public safety.
These prosecutions are initiated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
At the law firm of Jaskot Law we tell you everything you need to know about this process, what to do if you are deported, the types of deportation, the waiting times for your case and if I can obtain legal status if I am deported.
Types of deportations: Is there a difference between removal and deportation?
There is no difference between removal and deportation. The term removal is a newer term than deportation, but both refer to inadmissibility in the country and expulsion from the country.
Those who are subject to the admission process in the United States are subject to the inadmissibility process (INA 212(a) and persons who have been admitted are subject to the grounds of deportability (INA Sec 237).
How do I know that I have a deportation order?
It is crucial that you know for sure whether an immigration judge has ordered your removal. Especially if you had a court hearing and do not remember whether you attended, what the judge said, and whether you ever received a removal notice. Among the possibilities, it may have happened that the immigration judge:
- He ordered deportation because you did not go to court.
- Ordered deportation at the end of the hearing.
- In lieu of the deportation order, he ordered a “voluntary departure” that allows you to leave the United States without facing the legal consequences of deportation.
Attention! If the court offered you the option of “voluntary departure” and you are still in the U.S. on the deadline date, immigration will automatically issue a deportation order. In addition, depending on the violations of the laws, you may voluntarily leave the country and still have a few years of inadmissibility to re-enter.
How long does the deportation process take?
Deportation timelines depend on various factors. Mainly, whether the person is detained by ICE or not. In the first case, the immigration court will initiate an expedited process that can take between 3 and 6 months, while if the person is not detained, it may take a bit longer.
However, the current administration is making efforts to improve and optimize the way in which removals are processed. It is possible for there to be changes regarding the speed at which immigration procedures are conducted.
How can a deportation order be removed?
Like everything in immigration laws, the possibility of removing a deportation order will depend on each particular case. If you are lucky, you can apply:
- to the Immigration Judge to reopen your case.
- to the Board of Appeals (BIA) for a review and reopening of your case.
- to immigration agents that the deportation order be reviewed, and if possible challenged, canceled, or removed.
In any case, it is imperative that you consult with an attorney to review your procedural situation, and to plan with you a strategy to avoid or cancel your deportation.
Can I stop the deportation?
Yes. It is possible to stop a deportation proceeding if the order was wrongly issued from the beginning. You should always have your case, your file and immigration status thoroughly evaluated by a specialized and competent professional, who will make sure that the order is incorrect before you admit anything that would make you deportable.
Can I obtain legal status if I have been deported?
As we said before, each case is different, and whether I can obtain legal status if I have deportation or not will depend on each particular situation. But if you entered the country, and you have a deportation order initiated for illegal activities, you must understand that it is not easy.
You can only obtain legal status through the so-called U Visa. This will eliminate the deported status.
On the other hand, it is possible to arrange papers if your status is not “deported”, but instead you signed a “voluntary departure”. In this case, you are not considered under deported status, so you can re-attempt to enter the country through the legal path. That is, you are allowed to apply for any visa.
Can I return to the United States?
Supposedly, a person who has been deported cannot re-enter the United States for five, ten, twenty years, or even permanently. The amount of time will depend on the illegal act committed, i.e., the reason for deportation.
The person deported and removed from the country is considered “inadmissible” by immigration for the period of time established by the court that processed the case. And entering during that period of inadmissibility is heavily punishable under U.S. law.
Is it possible to enter legally before waiting the required number of years?
You can legally re-enter the United States only if you have a new legal basis on which to make your visa or green card application. For example, you have a citizen sibling and their priority date has been updated, or you have a job offer as a tech worker that allows you to apply for an H1B visa.
In these particular cases, it is possible to obtain legal permission to enter earlier, but not without first submitting a Form I-212 Permission to Reapply for Admission to the United States after Deportation or Removal. Commonly known as a “waiver request,” this form will allow you to ask the immigration authorities to waive your inadmissibility and give you a second chance in the country.
Who is eligible to submit a waiver request?
Only certain individuals may apply for Form I-212 and be accepted:
- Those who were previously removed from the U.S. or ordered removed but voluntarily left the country.
- Those who have entered the U.S. illegally after a prior removal or deportation order, or were present in the U.S. for at least one year without authorization from immigration authorities.
Understanding immigration law is not easy, especially when it comes to deportations. It is therefore essential to have a specialist lawyer by your sideto ensure that all processes are carried out correctly so that your case has a successful outcome. If even after this article you are still wondering: Can I obtain legal status if I have been deported, you definitely have a complicated case, and you should go to the experts.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it possible to obtain legal status if I have a deportation order?
Yes, it is possible to fix your papers even if you have a deportation order. You can pursue different options, such as requesting a cancellation of removal order or requesting a stay of the order while you complete your immigration proceedings. It is important to seek the advice of an immigration attorney to explore your options.
What is a suspension of deportation?
A stay of deportation is an order issued by an immigration judge that temporarily stops a deportation order. This order allows a person to remain in the United States for a specified period of time and, under certain circumstances, may open the possibility for a person to apply for permanent residence.
How do I know if I am eligible to obtain legal status if I have a deportation order?
To find out if you are eligible to obtain legal status if you have a deportation order, it is important that you consult with an immigration attorney. Each case is different, and an attorney will be able to evaluate your situation and determine whether you are eligible for certain legal remedies, such as suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal.
What options do I have if I am not eligible for suspension or cancellation of removal?
If you are not eligible for suspension or cancellation of removal, you may still pursue other options such as applying for a U visa or T visa, or seeking other forms of humanitarian protection. It is important to seek the advice of an immigration attorney to explore your options and find the best solution for your situation.