Every year in the United States, thousands of individuals are placed in removal proceedings. Removal proceedings are legal actions taken by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to attempt to deport non-U.S. citizens. A variety of legal grounds exist for deporting individuals, such as illegal entry or unlawful presence in the U.S. or the commission of certain types of crimes. For non-U.S. citizens, understanding the types of matters that might trigger removal proceedings is critical to living in the United States without fear or legal risk. Today's blog post will offer some general guidance on avoiding removal proceedings.
Follow the law
For many reasons, we should all obey the laws of whatever jurisdiction we are in. When in doubt about the requirements of the law, it is always be better to be on the safe side, and often it is wise to consult with an attorney to ensure that your activities are in compliance with the law.
Vigorously defend yourself
If you are arrested for any crime, it is important to have a competent criminal defense attorney, but also a competent immigration attorney. The immigration attorney can advise you on the potential immigration consequences of a conviction or guilty plea. Pleading guilty to a lesser offense may seem attractive from a criminal court standpoint, but could have serious ramifications from an immigration standpoint. The criminal defense attorney and immigration attorney can compare notes and develop a strategy that minimizes your risks.
Avoid situations that could trigger removal proceedings
Simply remaining in unlawful immigration status could trigger removal proceedings against you. You should consult with an immigration attorney to see if you are eligible for some form of legal status. If you are, you should pursue gaining lawful status as quickly as reasonably possible.
If you are out of status with no legal remedy to gain legal status, and choose to stay in the United States, you are at risk of removal proceedings. Longstanding Immigration and Customs Enforcement policy has limited enforcement actions in certain "sensitive locations" such as schools, churches, hospitals, courthouses and any organization assisting children, pregnant women, victims of crime or abuse, or individuals with significant mental or physical disabilities. However, recent indications are that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have increasingly intruded into some of these sensitive locations to initiate removal proceedings, so consulting with an immigration lawyer is an important step in minimizing the risk of being placed in removal proceedings.
If you are a non-U.S. citizen, you should do everything in your power to avoid being placed in removal proceedings. This begins with having a candid discussion with an immigration lawyer who can advise you of your rights and options. The immigration attorneys of Christiansen Law Firm have extensive experience helping non-U.S. citizens obtain legal status, avoid removal proceedings, and avoid removal when placed in proceedings. Contact the offices of Christiansen Law Firm to schedule a consultation.