Facing deportation and removal proceedings can be a frightening and stressful experience. At Little Law, P.A., we defend the rights of immigrants, green card holders, and their families and can offer proactive and compassionate legal help. If you or a family member is facing a deportation, we can represent you in all stages of the process, including bond hearings, master hearings, and individual hearings. To learn more about how a Tampa FL deportation lawyer can help you understand your rights and options, contact us today.
How Do Deportation Proceedings Work?
Deportation doesn’t necessarily mean that will be automatically removed from the U.S. Removal proceedings typically move quite slowly, as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) must follow a strict legal process.
However, if you’re accused of a crime that occurred within 100 miles of the border and you’ve been in the U.S. for less than two weeks, ICE can arrange a hearing and petition the court for expedited deportation. This can be completed in two weeks or less. If you’re facing expedited deportation, it is essential that you speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. Typically, deportation proceedings take many months to resolve.
Traditional deportations will involve the following:
- In detained cases, an arrest by police, border patrol, or ICE;
- A Notice to Appear that should give you a time, date and place for your first court hearing; and
- A series of court hearings during which your case will be decided.
If the ruling goes against you, then:
- The judge will issue an order for removal; and, unless a timely appeal id filed
- You will be physically removed from the U.S.
If you have received a Notice to Appear, don’t panic. You still have options and defenses available to you. But you need a Tampa FL deportation lawyer who can build an effective strategy that can help protect you and your loved ones.
What to Do If You’ve Been Arrested or Detained
Ask to speak to your attorney immediately. As a legal resident of the U.S., you have the same legal rights as everyone else. This includes the right to due process, the right to remain silent, and the right to refuse searches. You also have the right to speak with an attorney. Until you have an attorney present, you should not:
- Provide any documents to authorities;
- Answer any questions; you have the right to remain silent and should politely exercise it;
- Sign any documents created by ICE or police; or
- Let an ICE agent into your home unless they have a warrant.
If you are approached by ICE agents or local police, it is imperative that you do not speak with them until you have an attorney present. You may be inclined to think that because you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide. That may be the case, but you’re still at-risk of endangering your immigration status. Having an immigration lawyer present limits your exposure and ensures that you can mount a sound defense to any charges against you.
If you’ve been arrested, you may be detained for 48 hours before authorities charge you with any crime or initiate deportation proceedings. ICE has sometimes targeted immigrants with seemingly minor infractions. If they believe that you have provided false or misleading information to immigration officials, this may also be grounds for deportation. If you believe you’re at risk of being deported, talk to a Tampa FL deportation immigration lawyer before ICE knocks on your door. We can advise you at each stage of the process.
What Are Grounds for Deportation?
In order to initiate a deportation, ICE agents or DHS officials must establish grounds for the removal. In other words, they must provide a reason why an immigrant should be deported. Some of these grounds include violations of the law including seemingly minor infractions, while others address questions of fraud during the application process.
Inadmissibility at time of re-entry
In cases where a greencard holder has lived outside the country for 180 consecutive days or longer, they may be denied re-entry into the U.S.
Depending on the type of criminal conviction you have on your record, ICE may initiate deportation proceedings against you. These include drug offenses, prostitution offenses, or other crimes of “moral turpitude”. For greencard holders, these crimes must have been committed within 5 years of obtaining green card status. In cases where a green card holder is convicted of an “aggravated felony”, they can be deported at any time.
Allegations of fraud
If you provided false or misleading information to immigration officials, you can be deported on grounds of fraud. In some cases, an immigrant makes an honest mistake on their application or misunderstands a question during an interview. The government must show that the fraud was intentional and that the immigrant was attempting to mislead immigration officials. This includes marriage fraud. Immigration officials will presume that any marriage terminated within two years of entry into the U.S. is fraudulent.
Termination of status
In some cases, immigrants are brought to the U.S. for employment or on family visas. If their status is terminated, and they remain out of status, they can be deported.
Drug crimes as grounds
Greencard holders can be deported on the grounds that they are a drug addict, conspired to sell drugs, or possessed them illegally. For marijuana, the threshold is 30 grams or more. Any amount of any other drug can be grounds for deportation.
Helped smuggle an illegal alien into the U.S.
If a green card holder helps another person enter the U.S. illegally within five years of obtaining green card status, this is grounds for deportation.
A green card holder can be deported on the grounds of possessing an unregistered firearm or even conspiring to purchase one illegally.
Change of address
If you plan on moving, it is imperative that you alert U.S. immigration authorities, in writing, with your change of address. Failure to do so can result in deportation.
Dependency on public assistance
Those who are dependent on public assistance within five years of entry into the United States may be deported on those grounds.
Speak to a Tampa FL Deportation Lawyer Today About Your Options
If you or a loved one is facing deportation in the U.S., we know how much fear and uncertainty you are likely facing. Don’t try to face it alone. An experienced Tampa FL deportation lawyer at Little Law, P.A. can provide compassionate and aggressive representation, as well as make sure you both understand and defend your rights. Contact us today to learn more.