As an immigrant, you may wonder about the deportation process. Even those who have legally entered the United States often consider what to do if they are asked to leave, and they want to know how that scenario likely to play out.
For one thing, deportation is not immediate. It is not as if agents from U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) show up at your house and you’re on the first plane out of the U.S. that evening. So what do they do with you before you’re actually deported?
Every situation is unique, but some immigrants are held in detention centers. This is legally allowed in the U.S. Immigrants can wait there until the case is decided, after which they will be deported if they lose their bid to stay.
Can you just choose to leave the country?
If you do not want to be detained and you feel that deportation is inevitable, are you allowed to leave on your own? Again, situations are unique, but this is an option for many immigrants. This is called a voluntary departure, and it can (in some cases) preserve an option to return later.
There are legal steps you need to take in the process — simply leaving is not the same — and so you have to work with the government, but this may help you avoid some parts of the traditional deportation process.
What if you want to stay and fight deportation?
Of course, you may not want to get deported and may not even think that deportation is legal in your case. There are ways to defend against the deportation process and protect your right to stay. You just need to know exactly what legal options you have. Working with an attorney is essential, however, when you’re facing this kind of action.