Facing Deportation and Removal—What You Can Do

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If you have violated immigration law, you may be subject to deportation or removal proceedings. For illegal U.S. residents who were removed just once, there is a 3 year period that you are barred from re-entering the U.S. For long periods of undocumented U.S. residence or multiple removal offenses, the period of time that you are not admissible to immigrate to the U.S. can grow to up to 20 years.

Immigrants may be detained (jailed) for violations of current immigration law. The minimum bail you will be facing if detained on an immigration hold is $1,500 although it could be more depending on any other criminal record. If you are living in an area participating in the Department of Homeland Security’s Secure Communities Program, immigrants with criminal histories may be deported.

If you are not yet in court proceedings for your removal with the Board of Immigration Appeals, you may have some particular options for avoiding deportation. Some applicants may be allowed to withdraw their application for permanent residence without the consequence of deportation.

Applicants facing deportation may also have the option of voluntarily departing the U.S. While voluntary departure does result in you leaving the U.S., immigrants who voluntarily depart are not subject to the periods of waiting before they can re-enter the U.S.

If you are currently in formal removal proceedings with the Department of Justice Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and/or Immigration and Customs Enforcement, you may have the option of having your deportation cancelled. If you have been a long-term resident of the U.S. and can demonstrate, using the proper U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services waiver, that your deportation would cause your spouse or parents extreme hardship, your deportation may be cancelled. You may also need to file other waivers that support or assert your admissibility for residence in the U.S.

Refugees, Asylees, and battered spouses and children can be subject to removal proceedings for being in violation of immigration law. However, you cannot be deported while your application for asylum is pending. Refugees and asylees will not be deported. However, if your asylum is cancelled or suspended at any time, your removal proceedings may resume.