One of the scariest things a person can experience is a uniformed law enforcement officer knocking on your door with a search warrant or arrest warrant. That fear only intensifies when the uniformed officer is a member of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and they are attempting to find and detain you or a loved one.
Many people have the misconception that only undocumented individuals have to fear ICE officials coming to look for them or arresting them. However, that is not the case. While it is mostly undocumented immigrants who are arrested by ICE pursuant to "collateral encounters" (traffic stops, other police matters, etc.), many of the people whom ICE officials arrest are people who are in the United States with a valid Visa or individuals who are Lawful Permanent Residents.
This happens to LPRs and people with lawful status if they commit some sort of crime that potentially makes them a deportable alien, or, something has come up in regards to how they obtained legal status that makes them inadmissible. Regardless of the reason you or a loved one is picked up by ICE and detained, the key is to act quickly! Any sort of delay in the process can cause significant problems in the case.
The first step that should be taken is the hiring of an experienced and qualified Immigration Defense attorney. Unlike criminal matters, the government is not required to appoint you a lawyer for the case. So, you must either hire a lawyer, or seek out pro bono counsel through an organization. Hiring an experienced lawyer could make all of the difference in your case.
For example, so long as you are eligible for it, an attorney can put together a "Bond Package," or a group of documents that can show the Court that while your case is pending, you should be released on bond. If the Immigration Judge sets a reasonable enough bond that someone can post on your behalf, you could be released from detention while your case is resolved.
An Immigration Defense attorney will also be able to review the facts of your case and determine if you are eligible for any forms of relief from deportation. For example: If you or a loved one have been a Green Card holder for five years, have continiously resided in the United States for seven years, and have not been convicted of an Aggravated Felony, you may be eligible for Cancellation of Removal.
Available forms of relief are incredibly fact specific, and having an attorney to advocate for your interests will only increase the likelihood of success in your claim for relief. Attorneys know what will need to be proven to the Court and how best to submit the case and the documentation required.
So, if you or your love one are detaned bu ICE officials for either being an undocumented immigrant in the US or because you have committed a crime and are being told you're deportable, contact us at Chan & Associates. We are experienced in handling Immigration Defense matters from bond proceedings through full Merits Hearings.