If U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) decides you're in the United States illegally, you'll probably receive a notice of deportation. You might receive a notice of deportation if you did not enter the country legally, or because your visa or green card expired, or because you committed a crime. In any case, you can fight deportation to your home country. Deportation is also called removal.
You Can Dispute the Grounds
If you're facing deportation because you broke a law, your only option may be to convince USCIS that you're innocent of the crime. This usually isn't an option if you were convicted. If you pled guilty, however, an attorney might be able to help you make a case that you did so only to avoid the risk of being convicted for a more serious charge if your matter had gone to trial.
You Have Some Options
If you're facing deportation because your documentation expired or because you never got documentation in the first place, you can challenge your removal by asking USCIS for a waiver. A waiver asks the government to forgive the fact that you were in the country illegally and to allow you to apply for a visa or green card to make your presence in the United States legal.
You can stay in the United States unless your visa or green card is denied. You can also ask that your removal be canceled entirely, but this option applies only if you've been living in the United States for at least 10 years and if your deportation would seriously affect your family. Your family members must be U.S. citizens, either by birth or by naturalization.
You Can Appeal the Decision
The USCIS decision is not necessarily final. You have the right to protest it to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), which is part of the U.S. Department of Justice. If the BIA also rejects your challenge, you can under circumstances go to the U.S. Court of Appeals. Speak with an attorney to find out more about appealing your deportation decision.
You Can Leave Voluntarily
Deportation is not usually immediate. You may have up to four months to get your affairs in order and go home. You can agree to leave the country voluntarily and avoid having the deportation or removal on your record with USCIS. This can make it possible for you to legally re-enter the United States at a later time. With a deportation on your record, returning could be very difficult, if not impossible.
An Immigration Lawyer Can Help
The law surrounding immigration and deportation is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact an immigration lawyer.