Just days after United States President Donald Trump declared a state of national emergency to contain the spread of COVID-19, the issue of deportations and removal orders came up. Government officials in Guatemala exercised sovereignty to block the arrival of individuals being deported from the U.S. This decision was made out of genuine concern over contagion risk. In Massachusetts, Democratic Senator Ed Markey called for an overall suspension of the deportation process during the national emergency, and the logic behind this proposal is that overcrowded detention centers lack the hygiene necessary to prevent coronavirus infections.
At a time when the immigration process in the U.S. has become almost adversarial, foreigners should be aware of certain risk factors that could result in deportation proceedings. With this in mind, here are five things to consider, brought to you by the team from KS Visa Law, premier immigration attorneys in San Diego, CA.
1. Get Legal Representation
In terms of policy, the White House can try everything possible to increase the pace of deportation and removal cases, but due process isn’t something that can be taken away. What this means for individuals facing deportation is that their cases can be clarified, challenged, taken to court, and even appealed. Foreigners who are adequately represented by immigration law firms stand a greater chance of avoiding deportation compared to those without legal counsel.
2. Watch Out for Fraud Situations
Everything written or entered on USCIS forms must be truthful. Fraudulent petitions and applications give immigration adjudicators reasons to issue deportation notices. In some cases, incorrect information isn’t actually fraudulent—it may be a mistake or a misunderstanding, and this is when it pays to have an immigration attorney explain things.
3. Spot Technical Defects in the Deportation Process
Many deportation cases, particularly those involving immigrants who have been lawfully admitted, begin with a Notice to Appear, and USCIS carries the burden of serving this document correctly. If the notice is sent to an incorrect address or has errors in items such as name spelling or case number, these are defects that can be used to defend against deportation.
4. Be Careful When Pleading Guilty in Court
An insidious reality of the American criminal justice system is that it’s often stacked against defendants. Law enforcement agents and prosecutors are known to pressure suspects into entering guilty pleas when their cases go to court, and this is a problem for immigrants because it can compromise their status. Instead of automatically pleading guilty, it’s better to consult with an immigration attorney to check if a conviction could lead to deportation.
5. Move to a “Sanctuary City”
The sovereignty structure of the U.S. allows some jurisdictions to adopt laws for the protection of their own communities. Some municipalities refuse to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents if they think overzealous policies have the potential to disrupt families and neighborhoods. Foreigners not only reduce their deportation risk in these cities but also feel safer.
The deportation process can be difficult to understand without the help of professionals, as can various other aspects of immigration. If you’d like to learn more, or if you need immigration services in San Diego, CA, get in touch with KS Visa Law today at 858-874-0711.