As an immigration lawyer in Houston, I have been asked several questions regarding the latest news on ICE Raids for Deportation Orders. I want to be sure that you have information about what you can do if you are concerned about friends, loved ones, or yourself.
The raids were supposed to take place Sunday, June 23rd, but were later delayed for two weeks. In tweets on June 22nd and 23rd, President Trump stated that the raids are targeted toward people who are subject to deportation orders but are not in custody – they live among in the general public.
ICE Raids for Deportation Orders in Houston
On Saturday, June 22, 2019, The White House announced that it would delay planned raids for two weeks. The announcement specifically quotes President Trump as saying that the raids were going to be targeted toward people who "have already been ordered to be deported" because "...they have run from the law and run from the courts. These are people that are supposed to go back to their home country. They broke the law by coming into the country, & now by staying." These raids could occur again at any point. This is not a good time to avoid problems in your immigration situation or try to go into hiding.
Why Are People With Deportation Orders Still in the U.S.?
Karam Immigration Law currently has several clients who are subject to deportation orders right now. It happens more often than people think, and not everyone who gets ordered deported gets physically removed from the United States immediately.
If a person is ordered deported, by law, there is a time period in which they may file an appeal if they choose to. In addition, Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) can decide to allow a person who is cooperating with law enforcement in an investigation or who is the sole caretaker of a U.S. citizen spouse, child or parent may be allowed to temporarily stay in the country on an order of supervision until the child is older or a sick parent or spouse gets better.
The option to put a person on an Order of Supervision or to stay their removal is completely in ICE’s discretion. In addition, some people may never have appeared at an immigration court hearing, either because they chose not to or because they were never informed of the hearing, and thus remain in the United States.
What to do if ICE agents show up at your door:
What Causes Someone to Get Ordered Deported?
A person can be ordered deported for several reasons. Due to the range of circumstances, some people may not even be aware that they have been ordered deported. Here are some common scenarios:
Deportation Due to Failure to Appear in Immigration Court
One common reason a person may have a deportation order but be living among the general public is that she did not get notice of her hearing in immigration court. If a person files an application with the immigration service, and it is denied, she may be placed in immigration court.
If she never knew a case was filed against her in immigration court, and she doesn’t receive a hearing notice (which is sent by regular mail in most cases), she has no idea that she has a hearing and thus doesn’t attend the hearing. At the hearing, she is ordered deported because she failed to attend.
When a person is ordered deported at a hearing at which they are not present, this is called an in absentia removal order. Showing that a person did not get notice of their hearing is often crucial to reopening these cases so a person can have their day in court.
One major benefit of filing a motion to reopen an in absentia order due to lack of notice is that the deportation of the person in question is automatically stopped (an “automatic stay of removal” is in place) until an immigration judge makes a decision on the motion to reopen the case.
A person is not in ICE custody and loses their case
Sometimes a person is ordered deported after he attends all his hearings in immigration court, but his application to stay in the country is not granted. If the person is not in ICE custody, and he invokes his right to appeal the decision but either doesn’t file an appeal, or files one and loses on appeal, then he is now subject to the deportation order originally entered by the immigration judge.
However, since he is not in custody, ICE has to apprehend him to carry out the deportation or order him to appear at their office for removal. ICE has limited resources, and if the person isn’t a violent criminal or a danger to the public, ICE may not pursue the person (or may be unable to locate him).
Some people have an attorney representing them, but the attorney makes significant errors in the case such as failing to file an application for them to stay in the United States by the court’s deadline and thus abandoning that opportunity.
If an attorney makes an error that has major consequences in the case, the attorney has provided “ineffective assistance”, and a person who takes prompt action after learning about these issues may be able to seek to reopen their case and have a second chance to apply to stay in the U.S.
What to do If I have a Deportation Order
From the announcements made by President Trump, it sounds like the ICE raids to apprehend people subject to deportation orders are aimed at taking action to apprehend people in circumstances like those described above. If you’re concerned about a friend, family members, or yourself, we suggest hiring an experienced immigration lawyer first and foremost. Here are more articles that may answer your questions:
- What Do I Do if I Have a Deportation Order?
- Tengo una Orden de Deportación pero Todavía Estoy en los EEUU
- What do I do if ICE Comes to my Door?
- Qué Debo Hacer si ICE Viene a mi Puerta?
Immigration lawyer in Houston help with Deportation Orders
- We are available to review complex cases and prepare motions to delay removal and to reopen cases.
- We offer flat fees for case review and requesting files from immigration agencies so that we can get information together and give our clients advice on the best course of action.
- We can be prepared to request that people who are in the process of reopening their case be released on an order of supervision if a client is taken into custody.