Whether you've been living and working in Texas for more than a decade or just recently arrived here from your country of origin, you have probably heard horror stories about people being torn apart from their loved ones and placed in detention centers. You may understand the fear and anxiety that can come with being an immigrant in the United States. Even if you work hard, pay your taxes and obey the law, you may still worry about possible deportation.
There are several things you can do to avoid problems with immigration officials. It's also good to know where to turn for help in a pinch, especially if you're at work or out with your family and an immigration officer suddenly approaches and informs you that he or she is detaining you.
Be on time, follow the law, and keep good records
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This means that by being as prepared as possible and doing everything you can ahead of time, you increase your chances of avoiding problems down the line. The following tips may come in handy:
- If you ever have an official appointment at an immigration office, U.S. consulate or embassy, don't be late! Not only can this cause delays in whatever process you might be navigating at the time (such as application for citizenship or permanent residency), it may actually lead to deportation!
- If you possess a visa, it is of paramount importance that you make sure you clearly understand all the requirements and regulations that accompany your particular status. Every visa is different and even a very minor violation may trigger the removal process.
- Don't listen to just anyone when asking questions about U.S. immigration law. You are the one who will bear the negative consequences of misguided information; therefore, it's always best to seek guidance from someone well-versed in immigration and naturalization law, such as an experienced attorney.
- If your papers are in order, make sure you always have copies of any and all documents that pertain to your case. Know where your papers are at all times and be able to access them quickly, if needed.
- If you happen to be an undocumented immigrant, you may want to learn how to tap into advocacy resources ahead of time in case a problem arises when you least expect it.
Keep in mind that if an immigration officer places you in a detainment center, the removal process has already begun. This, however, doesn't mean it will necessarily end with your deportation. There may be several options available to stop your removal.
Most Texas immigrants who run into legal trouble call on attorneys who have successfully represented other immigrants to act on their behalves in related proceedings.