OPTIONS FOR RELIEF BEFORE AN
If you have been following the news recently, you have heard about increased raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). What happens if you or your loved one has been taken into custody?
What Happens If I am Taken into Custody?
If you have previously been deported either after going to court or at the border, you will not be granted another hearing typically. Often, ICE will simply make arrangements for you to be deported unless there are some special circumstances, like a claim of asylum, pending application for relief, etc. Each case is different. The facts and circumstances of each person vary and require careful consideration in determining what can be done to assist, if anything. The assistance of an attorney is recommended to help guide you through all the steps, forms and legal arguments that are required.
If you have never been deported from the U.S., you will be ordered to appear before an Immigration Court Judge nearest to the address you give to ICE when they take you into custody. For Indiana, the Immigration Court is located in Chicago, Illinois. Typically your first order to appear will be mailed to the address that you gave to ICE. So make sure it is a good address and you check for mail regularly. If the government mails to the address you gave ICE and you do not get the notice you will have a problem if you miss your hearing. Remember, if you move and do not tell ICE and the Court, the Court will not give you a new hearing. The Court does not accept, “I did not know” as a good excuse.
What Options Do I Have And What Happens Now?
What happens at your court hearing? At your first hearing, or Master Calendar hearing, the Court is going to ask you about what type of relief options you have and would like to pursue. You will need to be prepared to tell the Judge why you believe you should be able to remain in the U.S. under current Immigration laws or ask for time to get an attorney.
So what options do you have for Immigration relief? Every person’s case is different and depends on their criminal background, their current marital status, family status, etc. The assistance of an attorney is recommended to help you decide what options might be best for you and how to best present them to the Court.
Some basic types of relief include Cancellation of Removal, Asylum, Withholding or Removal, Prosecutorial Discretion, Deferred Action, Voluntary Departure, etc.
• Cancellation Of Removal: Is a discretionary benefit that if all elements are proven allows an adjustment of status from that of deportable alien to one lawfully admitted for permanent residence. It requires proof that applicant has been in the U.S. for at least ten (10) years before he was served with Notice to Appear in Court, has Good Moral Character for at least ten (10) years, has not been convicted of an offense under certain sections of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), and removal would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to US Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident spouse, child or parent.
• Asylum: Is a discretionary benefit that must be filed within 1 year of last entry into U.S. and show that applicant has suffered persecution or will suffer persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular group or political opinion. In addition, any applications that are found have been filed knowing the information to be frivolous will bar any type of future relief.
• Withholding: Is a discretionary benefit where applicant must prove that he/she has suffered persecution or will suffer persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular group or political opinion.
• Deferred Action: Is a discretionary benefit that gives a person’s case low priority for removal and temporarily stops any further attempts to prosecute and deport the alien.
• Voluntary Departure: Is typically permitted by the Judge if alien concedes removability and leaves the U.S. within a specified amount of time. The benefit is that the alien does not have a bar to seeking admission at a port-of-entry at any time. However, a failure to depart within the time granted results in a fine and a ten-year bar to several forms of relief from deportation.
Each form of relief has very specific requirements and some have very important deadlines for filing. If you fail to complete any one of the steps or prove any one of their requirements you could be denied and an Order of Deportation entered against you. Seeking the advice of an attorney is recommended.
If you or someone you know needs advice about your immigration case, please contact Griffith Law Group for a free consultation. Our phone number is (317) 236-0486, or visit us at 5150 Pike Plaza Rd., Indianapolis, IN 46254 or at www.indyimmigrationlaw.com.
Stay tuned next month when we discuss what other forms of immigration relief might be available to you or loved ones.