Non-citizens can find themselves in deportation (removal) proceedings for various reasons. The proceedings can result in an unwanted return trip to their home country. The proceedings can also create a lengthy ban on reentering the United States of anywhere from three to ten years, or even life, depending on the seriousness of the grounds underlying the deportation.
For example, persons who have accumulated 180 days, but less than a year of unlawful presence and have then left the country cannot return to the U.S. for three years. Persons who have accumulated one year or more of unlawful presence and have then left the country cannot return to the U.S. for 10 years. Those who have been convicted of a serious criminal offense — an aggravated felony — and have left the U.S., cannot ever return to the U.S. However, there are New York green card lawyers who can help non-citizens resolve some of these very complex immigration issues.
Some of the most heart-wrenching cases involve children of immigrants. Millions of these children, the majority of whom are native-born U.S. citizens, live in mixed-status families with one or more undocumented parents. The implementation of removal orders grievously affects these children. A recent report released by the Inspector General’s office of the Department of Homeland Security found that over 108,000 parents of U.S. citizen children were removed from the United States between 1998 and 2007. These deportations have had devastating impacts on the well-being of these children who can be permanently separated from one or both parents, face interruptions in schooling, suffer from short- and long-term emotional trauma, and endure severe economic hardship.
While deportation can be a terrifying process, fraught with anxiety about being forced to leave behind loved ones and opportunities, it should never be assumed that a removal order is a foregone conclusion. With adequate legal preparation and representation, deportation can be stopped in many cases, but it is not easy and straightforward. Expert legal representation is essential because current immigration law, is not only harsh, but also counterintuitive and seemingly illogical. For example, there are circumstances in which non-citizens have a better chance of legally living in the United States and avoiding deportation if their criminal history occurs before they seek permanent resident status and get a green card than if they first gained permanent resident status and were later convicted.
Client A overstays his visa by ten years and marries a United States citizen. He is convicted of money laundering, bank fraud with a loss of $200,000, and grand theft. He is sentenced to four years in jail. Although he is deportable for his crimes, he is still eligible to seek a green card and adjust his status based upon his marriage to a U.S. citizen. It will not be easy, and he will need a waiver, but it will be possible.
Client B has had his green card for ten years and is also married to a U.S. citizen. He gets convicted of the very same crimes with the same sentence. He is deportable and NO WAIVER is available.
In comparing these situations, it should be noted that the client without a green card has an opportunity to fight deportation, whereas the client with a green card does not. This is just one example of what is NOT logical about U.S. immigration law. Hopefully, comprehensive immigration reform will help to eliminate its logic-defying aspects.