What to Do When You Face Deportation

According to statistics compiled by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the agency and its government partners acted to remove 235,413 individuals from the United States during fiscal year 2015. Of these, 59 percent had been convicted of a crime.

While much of the debate surrounding illegal immigration in the United States centers on those who have unlawfully crossed a border (particularly the border with Mexico), there are other ways in which people’s presence in the country can be illegal; for example, it’s possible to stay past the expiration date of a visa. Regardless of how long a person has been in the United States, and for what purpose, the threat of deportation is ever present, and for that reason is something for which the appropriate preparations must be made.


Particularly when the threat of deportation is imminent, it can be extraordinarily difficult to put your affairs in order. For those who have just entered the United States, this may not be so challenging, but for those who have established themselves here, perhaps over the course of many years, through employment, bank accounts, children and other means, being detained by ICE throws all of these things into turmoil.

For this reason, having written records of your employers, bank information and information pertaining to your children is critical. This information will be necessary to ensure you receive outstanding wages, have access to existing funds and can rest easy knowing your children are being cared for by someone you trust. Similar provisions will need to be made for any belongings or property.

Although it may seem counterintuitive to have legal documents drawn up even when deportation seems like a remote possibility, it’s still the best way to be certain your wishes are honored and your loved ones are protected in the event of your detention and deportation—and it’s your right to do so.


Particularly in cases in which a person’s sole transgression is being in the United States illegally—that is, if they aren’t accused of any criminal activity—there are some ways to defend a person against deportation. Some of these options include applying for asylum, applying for a U visa (if the person has been a victim of a crime), adjusting immigration status and applying for cancellation of removal. None of these options involves an easy path, but they may be able to buy a person some time and, in the best-case scenario, allow them to remain in the United States.

Whether you are currently facing the threat of deportation or have reason to believe you might in the future, the key to improving your chances of securing a favorable outcome is having an experienced and qualified attorney on your side.

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