Many immigrants come to Texas in search of better lives, only to wind up living in fear that the least little infraction (such as a traffic ticket) is going to get them deported. Whether you've been here for several decades or only just arrived, you probably know what it's like to lie awake at night and worry about your status. If you happen to be undocumented, such fears are usually greatly intensified.
Just because police stop you or immigration officials question you, it doesn't necessarily mean you will be subject to removal. Yes, officials may detain you, and you might have to go through a complicated and stressful process, but you may have options that can help keep deportation at bay.
Does one of these options coincide with your situation?
There are several types of relief for which you may be eligible if your residency in the United States is being threatened by removal. Here are some options that may help you keep your feet on American soil:
- Asylum: If you fear persecution (or were persecuted in the past) upon returning to your country of origin, you may be able to seek asylum (safe refuge) in the United States, which, if granted, would make you ineligible for deportation.
- Discretionary relief: If you have evidence that may convince an immigration judge that there's a good reason to grant you relief during removal proceedings, this may be the most viable option for you.
- Adjustment of status: As long as you have not committed a crime, failed to appear in court or were unable to leave after the court granted you a voluntary departure order, you may be eligible to apply for an adjustment of status. There are other eligibility requirements you must fulfill as well.
- Voluntary departure: While this doesn't initially keep you from leaving the United States, it does allow you to request re-entry without waiting for 10 years as you would typically have to do if the court issued a formal removal order.
You may also appeal to the appropriate administrative body if you disagree with the court's removal ruling. In some situations, you may be able to get judicial or administrative relief upon appeal. It's important to remain calm and to know ahead of time where to turn for help if a problem arises.
A Texas immigration and naturalization law attorney can advocate on your behalf in meetings and hearings regarding the removal process or your current immigration status. With the help of experienced representation, you may be able to mitigate your circumstances.