I was ordered Deported but I’m still in the U.S.
Many people read the story of Lizandro Claros Salavia, 19, and his brother Diego, 22. The brothers had come to the United States in 2009 without authorization, and had been ordered deported. They had applied for Stays of Removal – basically requesting discretionary permission to remain in the United States that is often given for 1-2 years at a time.
Their most recent requests for Stays were denied. The brothers were subject to orders of supervision, which required them to report in to ICE periodically. Lizandro had just gotten into college and was ready to tell the ICE officers about it, but at his last check-in date, Lizandro and his brother were detained and deported to El Salvador.
Many in their local community were puzzled as to why ICE suddenly decided to take this action, particularly when Lizandro had just been accepted to college. Their family members who remain in the United States are concerned for their safety.
Sadly, this story is not surprising to many top immigration lawyers in Houston. The Trump administration has repeatedly noted that people who have removal orders (also called “deportation orders”) are considered a priority for removal from the U.S.
How can a Person be Deported but still be in the US?
If you’re reading this wondering how someone could have been ordered deported but still be in the U.S., know that it’s possible for someone to be in this situation. If a person is not in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when a deportation order is entered against him, he might have a few possibilities after an Immigration Judge enters an order.
He can present himself to be removed, or file an appeal of the judge’s decision, which could mean months or years of additional waiting on a decision. If the appeal is unsuccessful, the person’s removal order is still in place, but the individual may still be here. And if a person does leave the US after a deportation order is entered, but reenters without authorization, the prior removal order is considered “reinstated,” meaning it is reactivated and the person is subject to deportation is arrested.
What Happens if I Have a Deportation Order and I’m in the U.S.?
If you have a deportation order against you, but you have not left since it was issued, you are subject to arrest, detention and deportation by ICE. This is also true if you were ordered deported, left the U.S., and returned without authorization. If ICE determines that a person is in the U.S. and is subject to a removal order, they may issue a warrant for the person’s arrest.
NOTE: it’s important to know your rights. A warrant signed by an ICE officer or other Department of Homeland Security official is not sufficient to enter your home against your consent. An officer can only enter your home if he or she has judicial warrant signed by a judge.
If you have a deportation order against you and you are arrested, ICE may execute the removal order and deport you from the United States. As an alternative, ICE may choose to put you on an Order of Supervision. If you are on an Order of Supervision, you will be required to report to ICE periodically. Note that if you are already reporting in to ICE based on an Order of Supervision, the Trump administration has shown a trend toward arresting people on orders of supervision. Stories from multiple states, including the story of Lizandro and Diego Salavia above, have been reported since President Trump issued his executive order on Enhancing the Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.
What can I do if I have a deportation order against me?
If you have a deportation order against you, it’s important to determine what actions you can take to protect yourself. One option to explore is filing a motion to reopen your deportation case. If a Motion to Reopen is granted, you will have an opportunity to appear before an immigration judge and basically start your case over again.
If your deportation order occurred years ago, changed personal circumstances, changed conditions in your home country, changes in immigration law that affect your case, not receiving notice of your hearing in immigration court, or possible errors made by a prior attorney representing you could all serve as bases to reopen your case.
However, Motions to Reopen cases are complex, and after they are filed, ICE attorneys have the opportunity to object to reopening your case. It’s important to work with an experienced attorney to assist you if you want to determine if you can file a motion to reopen your immigration case.
Some other options for people ordered deported include requesting a Stay of Removal from ICE, or planning to depart the United States and apply to return. However, any of these options need to be thoroughly researched before you make any decisions. Plan to seek an experienced immigration lawyer to review your immigration history, any criminal history, and general background in order to know your options.
I was Ordered Deported but I’m Still in the U.S.
As the reports show, people with deportation orders are a target for arrest and removal in the Trump administration, and even people who have been reporting in to ICE for years are at risk. If you have a deportation order, take steps to know your options. Speak to a specialized immigration lawyer, get copies of your immigration records and other documents, and find out what you can do.