Late last Friday; I received an urgent call on my cell phone from a woman named Susana, a friend of client, who needed my help immediately. She stated that earlier in the day her husband was at work when the Immigration Service arrived and arrested him on sight. As the deportation officers were securing him they instructed that he was being arrested as a result of an outstanding deportation order from 2002. This was the first he had heard of the order.
I asked Susana if she could meet me without delay and if she could bring her husband's immigration documentation, she agreed and we met a couple of hours later. As she walked in I noticed that she was upset and that something had happened. After a brief introduction Susana informed me that it was too late, that her husband had already been removed from the country, less than 12 hours after being picked up.
We then went on to discuss her husband's immigration history and reviewed some of his documentation. This review should have happened before this day, as I was able to find out many things that would have helped her husband. Things like how his attorney was disbarred for ineffective assistance to hundreds of immigrants who were subsequently deported, things like how he failed to timely file an appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals; either item could have been used to reopen his case. Now, because he was already outside of the U.S., we were talking about ways to bring him home to his family.
It is no secret that the Immigration Service has recently decided to be more aggressive in finding, apprehending and removing individuals with outstanding deportation orders and who have not left the country. In the past, criminals and terrorists were the primary subject of such a task force, not any longer. The Immigration Service has announced that they will actively seek after all of the estimated 600,000 individuals living in the U.S. who are under an order of deportation and if Susana's husband is any example, they are doing it an expeditious manner.
In light of this new aggressive enforcement policy, immigrants with outstanding orders of deportation must do something about their situation before they experience the green trucks rolling up to their home or work site. The first thing to do is to contact a qualified, experience immigration attorney who can review your case and give you a plan of action.
There are things you can do.
An experienced immigration lawyer will tell you that even a final order of deportation may be reopened and reexamined by an immigration court under the proper circumstances. An experienced lawyer will explain that if your case was decided in your absence, with out notice to you or if your attorney was ineffective in pleading your case that you might be able to reopen and stay your deportation order.
Additionally, your counsel can work with the Immigration Service on a possible joint motion to reopen your case or if there has been a recent change in the law that would benefit you move to reopen the case via a Sua Sponte motion.
If you have a loved-one who is in a situation similar to Susana's husband and already outside of the U.S. there is a way to bring him or her back before the required ten years. One method is referred to as a 212 waiver or Permission to Reenter After Deportation. I was recently with a family reunited by such a waiver that brought back a husband after being deported a few years earlier. Where a person has been ordered removed and can show amongst other things good moral character, length of time in the U.S., ties to the U.S. and visa availability a waiver of the deportation may be obtained.
The point of all of this is that things can be done, avenues are available and to sit and do nothing will put you or a loved one in danger. Find a lawyer, plan a course and provide for the future of your family here in the U.S.