The fear of deportation is rife amongst immigrant communities, and never more so than in the political climate that we are in at the moment. Virtually anyone without full documentation or who comes into contact with the criminal system faces deportation, and families face separation. There is little more worrying than having a letter pop through your door, summoning you to the immigration court. If this is happening to you or someone you love, there are a few critical steps that you need to take, and that is what we are going to be looking at in this article.
Understand Your Rights
Every single person in the United States, whether a confirmed citizen or going through the immigration process, has certain fundamental rights, one of these being having the right to remain silent. If you are detained, do not answer any questions until you have a qualified and experienced Family Immigration attorney who knows your situation and give you the appropriate advice. Remember, anything that you do say can be used as evidence against you.
Do Not Sign Anything You Don’t Understand
Do not sign any documents without consulting a lawyer, especially if you do not fully understand the language or the terms. Every person in the US has the right to ‘due process,’ which means fair treatment in the court and justice system. By signing something that you do not fully understand, you may be forgoing that right, which makes things a whole lot more complicated. Do not be afraid to ask for an independent translator if the law enforcement or immigration agency speaks a different language to you.
Get a Lawyer
This is something that you ideally want in place as soon as you have any inkling of court action. You want a lawyer who is experienced in this particular area of law and has a good reputation. Ask for recommendations from family, friends, and colleagues who may have been through the process and check for reviews on social media. Be aware of any lawyers who promise a particular outcome – this is down to the judge that day, so no one should be guaranteeing anything. If they are, this can be a warning flag that things are not entirely as they should be. Be aware that as in every profession, there is the occasional attorney who bends the rules a little, or is involved in shady deals to get a particular result – avoid anyone who does this like the plague, as ultimately, it will be you who gets into trouble.
We appreciate that this is much easier said than done – after all, it is a worrying time. However, getting worked up will make it seem even more stressful, and can lead to people saying and doing the wrong things, which worsens the situation. A good lawyer, evidence, and remaining calm, cooperative, and polite will go a long way to a successful outcome for you and your family.