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Immigration Court Case FAQ

Immigration Court Case | FAQ

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) defines immigrants (otherwise called aliens) as individuals that are not citizens or nationals of the United States (US). Texas has a lengthy history of immigration, with Mexicans accounting for the vast bulk of immigrants. They now make up a sizable proportion of the state's total population and contribute to economic growth in many industries. As such, immigrants are essential to the vibrant and healthy communities that make up Texas. 

Immigrants may feel safer while they go about their daily activities if they stay up to date on the immigration rules and regulations of the federal government and the state of Texas.

Who is in Charge of Immigration in Texas? 

The federal government establishes and enforces most immigration restrictions in the US. These regulations determine who is eligible to become a US citizen and who is permitted to enter the country as a refugee, temporary resident, or permanent resident. Various government agencies collaborate on the design and implementation of immigration policies. They include:

The US Department of State (DOS)
The department's primary responsibility is to issue visas for admission into the country, including immigrant and non-immigrant visas. A visa is usually required if a non-citizen wishes to visit the nation momentarily or permanently migrate to the US. The DOS is the most accurate source of information on various types of visas and who is eligible to acquire them.

It is critical to understand that while having a visa allows a person to legally enter the US, it is not necessarily a guarantee that they will be able to do so. Customs officers at the border decide who is permitted to enter the country and who is not. The State Department is in charge of visa management, but customs personnel make the final decision.

Agencies under the DOS include:

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) 

The DHS is responsible for administrating the immigration system. The department comprises several federal departments that facilitate US immigration. They include:

  • The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): This department is responsible for ensuring lawful admission into the US and administering immigration benefits. USCIS is in charge of a wide range of tasks, including but not limited to:
    • Determining eligibility for citizenship and naturalization
    • Background screening of visa applicants
    • Obtaining biometric data from visa applicants
    • Facilitating international adoptions
    • Administering humanitarian programs, including asylum and refugee petitions
    • Managing work programs
    • Processing refugee petitions and granting asylum.

  • Customs and Border Protection(CBP): This agency is responsible for border security, trade, and travel within the US.
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement(ICE): The ICE is in charge of conducting investigations and enforcing immigration laws within the US. This includes detecting and expelling deportable unauthorized immigrants.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is charged with enforcing federal law and administering justice in the United States, including numerous immigration policies. Relevant agencies that operate under the DOJ include:

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS))

The HHS maintains all Americans' health and provides essential human services. Through the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), the HHS provides money to public and private groups that assist refugees, asylees, victims of human trafficking, unaccompanied minors, and other qualified individuals with the process of resettlement and economic independence.

The State Bar of Texas

This is an agency of the state's judicial branch. Its objective is to assist the state Supreme Court in monitoring all attorneys who have been licensed to practice law in Texas. The attorneys play a significant role in the implementation of the immigration law and in safeguarding immigrant rights.

What Court Handles Immigration Cases in Texas?

The Immigration Court hears cases regarding immigration, including asylum claims and deportation proceedings. Among the court's tasks are: 

  • Determining whether or not to provide legal status to foreign nationals 
  • Removing or expelling any foreign nationals who have committed an immigration infraction 
  • Hearing the appeals of non-citizens that wish to seek asylum.

Immigration courts in Texas include:

806 Hilbig Road
Conroe, TX 77301
(936) 520-5400

1100 Commerce Street, Suite 1060
Dallas, TX 75242
(214) 767-1814

El Paso
700 E. San Antonio Avenue
Suite 750
El Paso, TX 79901
(915) 534-6020

El Paso SPC
Service Processing Center
8915 Montana Avenue, Suite 100
El Paso, TX 79925
(915) 771-1600

FortWorth IAC
819 Taylor Street, Suite 600
Fort Worth, TX 76102
(817) 333-0500

2009 West Jefferson Avenue
Suite 300
Harlingen, TX 78550
(956) 427-8580
1919 Smith Street, 14th Floor
Houston, TX 77002
(713) 718-3870

Houston (Annex)
1919 Smith Street, 6th and 14th Floors
Houston, Texas 77002
6th Floor: (713) 751-1514
14th Floor: (713) 751-1500

Houston – Greenspoint Park
16800 Greenspoint Park Drive, 2nd Floor
Houston, TX 77060
(281) 765-5900

Houston - S. Gessner Road
8701 S. Gessner Road, 10th Floor
Houston, TX 77074
(713) 995-3900

1406 Jacaman Rd., Suite B
Laredo, TX 78041
(956) 523-6200

566 Veterans Drive
Pearsall, TX 78061
(210) 368-5700

Port Isabel
Port Isabel Processing Center
27991 Buena Vista Blvd.
Los Fresnos, TX 78566
(956) 254-5700
Mailing Address:
27991 Buena Vista Blvd.
Los Fresnos, TX 78566

San Antonio
800 Dolorosa Street, Suite 300
San Antonio, TX 78207
(210) 472-6637

San Antonio (Annex)
106 S. St. Mary's St., Suite 600
San Antonio, TX 78205
(210) 230-9505

What Documents do I Need to Support My Immigration Case in Texas?

Every stage of the immigration application, procedure, and process involved with entering the United States will necessitate the submission of documentation. Documents that immigrants and petitioners must present to the USCIS and other government authorities include but are not limited to:

  • Passport. For an immigrant to be admitted into the US, they must provide a recognized passport from their country of origin; however, the requirements for each immigration procedure may differ. Because passports are also primary documents, they can be used to verify one's identity when applying for or submitting requests for other official paperwork. If a foreign individual does not have a passport, they can request a waiver of the obligation to have one.

  • Visa. Before entering the US, immigrants must first get a valid visa, regardless of whether they want to stay permanently or temporarily. Foreign nationals will be required to apply for a specific visa that outlines the reason for their travel to the country. These visas may include work visas, student visas, family visas, and business/work visas. On entry, a government officer will inspect and stamp these visas. 

    Also, before a visa may be declared valid, US Customs and Border Protection must permit the holder to enter the country. Still, foreign nationals who meet specific criteria and are citizens of certain countries may be excluded from obtaining visas.

  • I-94 / I-95. When visa holders are granted entry into the country, they will receive either an I-94 or an I-95 document. The documents must be provided as proof of legal entry into the US. It will include information about the dates of arrival and departure and facts about the visa's validity. Immigrants and non-immigrants alike are obliged to carry these papers at all times in the United States. 

  • I-551. Form I-551, also called a "green card," is a legal document showing that a foreigner has been allowed to live permanently in the US. Some officials, employers, and government agencies may also want green card holders to fill out this form as proof that they are allowed to live and work in the county.

  • Border Crossing Cards (BCC). These cards are only issued to Mexican citizens. They allow foreign nationals with ties to the United States or Mexico to enter and depart the country for brief periods while maintaining their legal status. A BCC is typically valid for 10 years.

  • Advance Parole Travel Documents. An Advance Parole Document is a form of temporary travel authorization. Non-immigrants must file this document in order to leave the country and return without risking their immigration status. 

  • Re-Entry Permits. When permanent residents (green card holders) intend to leave the country for up to two years, they must obtain a re-entry permit. It demonstrates that the individual had no intention of giving up their immigration status and allows them to apply for entrance into the United States without first obtaining a returning resident visa.

What Documents are Needed to Sponsor an Immigrant? 

Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, is the principal immigration form that a US immigration sponsor must produce to pledge financial support to a foreign beneficiary. It is a legally binding agreement between the sponsor and the US government. By signing this document, the sponsor agrees to offer financial help to the prospective immigrant if they cannot do it on their own.

The supporting documents that must be submitted along with the Affidavit of Support form include:

  • Federal income tax records 
  • Certificate of citizenship, a birth certificate, a certificate of naturalization, or a photo of an unexpired U.S. passport.
  • Copy of green card
  • Proof of relationship between the sponsor and intending immigrant
  • Documentation of assets and liabilities.

When a single petitioner's income is inadequate to support an intending immigrant, they can find a joint sponsor to combine income. A joint sponsor is a U.S. citizen or green card holder that financially supports an applicant. In this case, the government may require a document of joint sponsorship. All of the documents required for a primary sponsor are also required for a joint sponsor, and a Form I-864A must be completed by each individual who will combine their income/assets to meet the minimum annual income criteria. Each sponsor must submit their properly signed I-864 form and a set of supporting documents. 

The following are some of the eligibility requirements for qualifying as an intended sponsor:

  • The individual must be an American citizen or have a valid green card
  • They must be 18 years or older
  • They must have an annual income of at least 125% of the federal poverty line.
  • They must prove that their permanent home is in the United States. Individuals cannot serve as sponsors if they live permanently outside the country, and have no plans to return to the US.

Sponsors must supply only photocopies of the supporting documents. Furthermore, suppose they submit any documents in a language other than English. In that case, they must provide a complete translation into English as well as a declaration from the translator affirming that:

  • There are no gaps in the translation and that it is complete.
  • They are capable of translating from the foreign language into English
  • Translator's phone number and email address 
  • Translator's signature and the date of signature.

How Much Income do You Need to Support an Immigrant in Texas? 

$22,887 per year is the minimum annual income required to sponsor an immigrant in Texas. The USCIS poverty guidelines specify the monetary income requirements for sponsoring immigrants. These criteria are determined by the number of persons residing in the sponsor's household and the number of family members moving to the United States.

As the number of individuals in a home increases, so does the minimum necessary income. Furthermore, the amounts for Alaska and Hawaii residents are higher than those for residents in other states.
Income requirements for most sponsors: 125% of Federal Poverty Guidelines.

Number of household members Sponsors in US states Sponsors in Alaska Sponsors in Hawaii
2 $22,887 $28,612 $26,325
3 $28,787 $35,987 $33,112
4 $34,687 $43,362 $39,900
5 $40,587 $50,737 $46,687
6 $46,487 $58,112 $53,475
7 $52,387 $65,487 $60,262
8 $58,287 $72,862 $67,050
For each additional immigrant $5,900 $7,375 $6,787

Income requirements for military sponsors: 100% of Federal Poverty Guidelines.

Number of household members Sponsors in US states Sponsors in Alaska Sponsors in Hawaii
2 $18,310 $22,890 $21,060
3 $23,030 $28,790 $26,490
4 $27,750 $34,690 $31,920
5 $32,470 $40,590 $37,350
6 $37,190 $46,490 $42,780
7 $41,910 $52,390 $48,210
8 $46,630 $58,290 $53,640
For each additional immigrant $4,720 $5,900 $5,430

Assets may also provide additional revenue for sponsors. They can show that they have the appropriate amount for sponsorship by demonstrating it only via their income or jointly through their income and assets. However, the assets that are used to supplement the income should be easily convertible into cash within a year without causing the owner undue difficulty or financial loss. 

What Happens When an Immigrant is Detained in Texas? 

When immigrants are detained in Texas, their location can be determined by using the ICE detainee locator website. It will be helpful to have the individual's Alien Registration Number (the identification number assigned to them by the USCIS). A green card or work permit will show this number.

If the alien registration number is unknown, the inquirer must know the immigrant’s date of birth, country of birth, and name as they appear in ICE's database.

But, if the subject in issue was very recently apprehended, the website may not include the most up-to-date information. Furthermore, the system does not reveal any information to individuals under 18. In that case, the inquirer must contact the ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations field office located in the area nearest to where the subject was apprehended.

If the detainee is presently being detained in an ICE facility, the next step is to establish contact with their deportation officer. Every detainee is assigned a deportation officer who has the power to negotiate the detainee's release from detention by voluntary departure, stipulated removal, or any other method. The officer also aids in visiting or communicating with the detainee.

On the other hand, If the subject is not currently being detained in an ICE-operated detention center, they may have been moved to a local prison or correctional institution. In this case, the inquirer may contact local law enforcement authorities in the area where the person was picked up.

Obtaining Release for the Detained Person

When someone is being detained in immigration detention, an immigration lawyer may be able to help determine if it is preferable to secure the detainee's release and have the matter reviewed by the immigration court at a later date. To obtain a release, it is important to first determine if ICE has set a bond. The bond is an amount of money provided to ICE as a guarantee that the inmate would appear in court on future dates and obey any orders issued by the judge. If the inmate performs a promise, the money will be returned to them; but if they escape, they will forfeit the money.

If the prisoner is eligible for a bond, ICE will notify them of the amount they must pay. If they cannot make payment, the detainee's counsel may file a request for a "bond hearing." Every individual detained has the legal right to a bond hearing, during which it will be decided whether or not the person may b released on bond and how much the bond should be.

The minimum bond amount is $1,500, although it can go as high as $20,000 or more. Individuals intending to pay this on behalf of the inmate must have legal status in the United States and provide picture identification. Overall, if an immigrant is detained, it is critical to act quickly, particularly if the prisoner has been deported before or has an outstanding removal order. 

Can Immigrants Represent Themselves in Court?

Yes, individuals facing immigration matters in court can represent themselves. Every immigrant has the right to be represented by an attorney if they have the financial resources to hire one, but the government is not required by law to provide appointed counsel in immigration proceedings. Hence, those who cannot afford legal representation, including minors, must represent themselves in court.

Many immigrants face deportation alone and without legal assistance, because few immigrants can afford to hire a lawyer, 

While in the United States or attempting to re-enter the country, these legal difficulties may influence a person’s immigrant status:

  • Illegal entries. Illegally entering the United States without first getting a visa may jeopardize a person's ability to stay in the country legally. A foreign national must apply for a visa with the Department of State before making what should be regarded as a legitimate entry into the United States.

  • Visa extensions. Foreign nationals seeking to extend their stay in the United States must request an extension before their existing allowed term of stay expires. If the foreign national stays in the United States for a longer period than authorized, they risk being expelled and barred from returning for an indefinite period.

    To be eligible for an extension, the applicant should submit a request to extend a stay at least 45 days before the expiration date of the authorized stay. If a non-citizen meets any of the following conditions, they may apply to extend their stay:

    • They were granted entrance into the US on the basis of a non-immigrant visa.
    • They have a valid non-immigrant visa.
    • They have not been convicted of any crimes that would exclude them from acquiring a visa in the first place.
    • They have not violated any admissions requirements.
    • They possess a valid passport that will remain valid for the length of the extended stay.

What is an Immigration Letter of Recommendation

A letter of recommendation is a legal document used to assess an immigrant's character, integrity, and work ethic. The letter aims to demonstrate that the letter's subject has the necessary characteristics and only positive intents toward the country. Furthermore, the most valuable feature of letters of recommendation is not only the letter's content but also the background of the person who wrote it.

Who Can Write a Letter of Support for Immigration Purposes? 

The person writing the letter must be able to provide examples that support the applicant's character and support the immigration case they are attempting to make. As a result, there are usually no restrictions on who may write a letter of recommendation as long as the individual can show that they know the candidate well enough to write about the attributes required in the letter. 

Hence, good candidates for writing letters of support include:

  • A current or former employer
  • Long-term friends or neighbors 
  • Church members, etc.

Relatives can also write such letters, but it is advised to have someone not in the applicant's immediate since relatives are often biased. 

All immigration reference letters must include a brief history of the writer's connection with the person being cited, a focus on the individual's good characteristics, and an indication of what future contributions may be expected from them. Consequently, the framework of an immigration letter of recommendation includes the following components:

  • Greeting and date
  • The introduction: This section introduces the writer, their legal status, and their connection to the immigrant.
  • Letter body: This part should contain proof that the court can use to decide the person's moral character. The writer can provide specific examples and comments on the immigrant’s positive traits, their emotional and financial stability, and the difficulties they would encounter if they were refused permission to remain in the US.
  • Conclusion: This section is the writer’s final chance to connect with the judge reading the letter. As such, they must reiterate why the person for whom they are writing the letter is an exceptional person whose presence in the US will benefit the community and society because of their great moral character.

To finish, the writer must provide their contact information and signature.

How do I Become a Permanent Resident in Texas?

A person becomes a permanent resident in Texas by obtaining a permanent resident card, otherwise known as a Green Card. This card gives its holder an official immigration status in the United States, entitles them to certain rights and responsibilities, and is required for naturalization.

There are multiple ways that an individual may be eligible for a permanent resident card:

  • Obtaining a Green card through family. A person may be eligible to obtain a green card if they are the immediate relative of a US citizen. Eligible individuals include the spouse, unmarried child (under the age of 21), and parent of a US citizen. Other relatives of a U.S. citizen or relative of a lawful permanent resident under the family-based preference categories include the fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen or the fiancé(e) 's child and widow(er) of a U.S. citizen.

  • Obtaining a Green Card through Employment. Individuals who are first, second, or third preference immigrant employees may be eligible to apply. First preference immigrant employees are often exceptional scholars. They excel in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. As such, they often include excellent lecturers. researchers, or executives. Second preference immigrant workers operate in a job that requires an advanced degree or are seeking national interest exemptions. 

    Meanwhile, qualified employees with a minimum of two years of training or work experience are the third preference immigrant workers. They are also professionals whose jobs need at least a bachelor's degree in the United States or a foreign equivalent. Third preference immigrant workers may also be unskilled workers who conduct unskilled labor that requires less than two years of training or experience.

  • Obtaining a Green card through Physician National Interest Waiver. This category is intended for medical practitioners who agree to work in clinical practice full-time in a specific location for a set period and meet all other qualifying qualifications.

  • Obtaining a Green card as an Immigrant Investor. Immigrant investors are non-citizens who have invested or are investing at least $1,050,000 (or $800,000 in a specific employment area or infrastructure project) in the U.S. that will create jobs for at least 10 workers. They might be eligible for a green card under federal law.

  • Obtaining a Green Card as a Special Immigrant. Individuals that may be eligible to apply include:

    • Religious workers of a religious denomination who are coming to the U.S. to work for a non-profit religious group
    • Special Immigrant Juveniles include children who have been abused, abandoned, or ignored by a parent and need the protection of a juvenile court.
    • International broadcaster to work as a journalist for the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM).
  • Obtaining Green Card through Refugee or Asylee Status. Asylees and refugees that have been physically present in the US for at least one year since they were granted asylum are eligible to apply for legal permanent resident (LPR) status. 

  • Obtaining Green Card as a Human Trafficking Victim. Non-citizens who have been victims of certain crimes, such as human trafficking, are granted legal permanent resident status under US immigration law. U nonimmigrant visas are provided to victims that have undergone significant bodily or mental abuse and may assist with the investigation or prosecution of the illegal activity. On the other hand, T nonimmigrant visa is granted to certain victims who help law enforcement investigate or prosecute human trafficking crimes.

  • Obtaining a Green Card as a Victims of Abuse. Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), an individual may be eligible to become an LPR if they are the victim of battery or extreme cruelty committed by a U.S. citizen or LPR spouse, former spouse, parent, or child.

  • Obtaining Green Card through Registry. If a non-citizen has been residing in the United States continuously before January 1, 1972, they may be eligible to register for a Green Card. If they meet the requirements, they must file Form I-485 - Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust status with the USCIS, together with all relevant supporting documents and fees.The USCIS will assess the application and schedule an interview with the applicant. This Green Card will be valid for 10 years after it has been awarded.

  • Obtaining Green card through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV). This program is one of the numerous pathways that non-citizens can pursue to become permanent residents of the United States. It is a free lottery in which anyone from all over the world can enter for a chance to apply for green cards and legally live and work in the US. Those who win this lottery do not need to have any relatives or coworkers who are US citizens or lawful permanent residents to apply for a green card. The DV lottery makes a limited number of immigrant visas available to persons who meet specific criteria.

Once I Obtain a Green Card, What do I Need to Obtain Citizenship Through Naturalization?

Naturalization is the process through which immigrants can become a citizen of the United States after meeting the requirements outlined in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Only certain types of immigrants are eligible for naturalization. Applicants must: 

  • Be 18 years old or older when completing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization
  • Be lawful permanent residents (green card holders).
  • Be a permanent resident for at least five years.
  • Prove that they have lived in the United States for at least 30 months. · 
  • Prove that they have lived in their state of residence for at least three months.
  • Have the fundamental capacity to read, write, and communicate in English
  • Have a thorough understanding of American history and administration (civics)
  • Take the Oath of Allegiance, and pledge their support for the ideals and principles contained in the United States Constitution.
  • Provide proof of marriage, divorce, or the death of a spouse if applicable,
  • Produce documentation of all arrests and detentions, including plea bargains and sealed or deleted documents
  • Provide documentation of any trips taken outside the nation as a permanent resident in the last five years.

What is the Basis for Being Deported? What are the Consequences of Deportation?

Deportation or removal occurs when the United States government orders a person to leave the country. Green card holders who commit crimes or engage in behavior that might lead to deportation risk losing their lawful permanent resident status in the United States. The INA provides various reasons why non-citizens may be deported or removed from the country. Some of the most prevalent reasons for expelling someone from the US include but are not limited to 

  • Criminal convictions. Criminal convictions involving aggravated felonies, crimes involving moral turpitude ("CIMT"), drugs, firearms violations, and domestic violence can result in expulsion from the United States.

  • Being in the U.S. unlawfully. An illegal immigrant may be deported without a hearing, typically through a process known as expedited removal, in as little as 24 hours after being picked up by ICE. An immigrant is considered to be in the country illegally if:

    • They do not have the appropriate permission and authority to be in the US
    • Their permission to enter the United States has been revoked or canceled;
    • The foreigner could not maintain the status that permitted them to enter the nation.
    • The foreign individual failed to meet any standards for entry into the United States.
    • The immigrant has knowingly encouraged or assisted another alien to enter the United States unlawfully
    • The foreigner obtained their immigrant visa through fraud.

  • Fraud. Many fraudulent conducts are grounds for deportation. These include Fraudulent marriage to obtain a green card; falsely claiming U.S. citizenship to receive a job or government benefit; or forging, altering, or employing an altered document to receive government assistance or benefits.

Other reasons for deportation include:

  • Failure to register as a sexual offender when mandated 
  • A conviction for attempting to avoid immigration officers at a checkpoint 
  • Participation in genocide, persecution, or terrorism.
  • Delay notifying appropriate immigration authorities of a change of address within ten days after the transfer unless the individual can demonstrate that such failure was not the result of intentional or malicious behavior.

Consequences of deportation

After being deported from the United States, it will be difficult for them to secure a new visa or green card that will allow them to return to the nation. In most situations, the federal government will impose a period of inadmissibility on the individual. During this time, the deported individual is not authorized to enter the country through its borders. The restriction is normally in place for 10 years; however, its term might range from five years to unlimited time. Given the notoriously complicated nature of deportation proceedings, it is important to employ the services of a deportation and removal attorney.

Can a Foreign Fiance(e), Who Has Been Admitted into the US to Get Married, Be Required to Leave?

The foreign partner who seeks to enter the US on a fiancé visa must marry their U.S. citizen spouse within the first ninety days of arrival; otherwise, the foreign partner must leave the country. Following the ceremony, the newlywed partner can apply for permanent residency.

What is Conditional Permanent Resident Status in the US?

A conditional permanent resident is someone who came to the United States as the spouse of a U.S. citizen before their second wedding anniversary, which is the foundation of their immigration status. A green card is issued to a conditional permanent resident for two years. This lets them live and work in the United States as any other green card holder until they must renew their status to a full, ten-year green card.

Conditional permanent residents must leave the country if their immigration status is not changed within 90 days before their conditional Green Card expires. They must file a petition to remove the limitations on their permanent residence status within those 90 days. 

In the case of marriage-based immigration, applicants must prove their marriage is legitimate again after these two years. After this, they will be eligible for a "permanent" green card valid for 10–year renewable periods.

Can a Deportation Order Be Appealed?

Yes, a person can appeal a judge's decision to remove or deport them, but only in certain situations. The grounds for removal will decide whether or not a removal order can be appealed. If a person's removal was ordered because they committed a crime for which they have already been convicted, they cannot appeal the order. 

File a Motion to Reopen 

With a Motion to Reopen, an immigrant might be able to ask the judge to reopen their case and review the deportation order. This motion is a brief or letter to the judge that explains why the case should be reviewed and includes any laws, facts, or evidence that might persuade the court to change its position. In most cases, immigration courts will consider a motion to reopen in two situations: 

  • A motion to reopen an in absentia decision. If an immigrant was given a deportation order in absentia (meaning they were not present throughout the proceedings), the court might consider reopening their case. They can request that the case be reopened because they did not participate in the proceedings and were unable to defend the claims of removability filed against them.

    However, the petitioner must demonstrate to the court that they could not attend the original hearings owing to "exceptional circumstances." These circumstances are serious events beyond one's control. Serious sickness, assault, or extreme cruelty perpetrated against the non-citizen, their child, or parent are specific examples.

    They may also file a petition to reopen the case if they were never notified of their immigration proceedings or if they were in the custody of the federal or state government at the time of the proceedings and had no control over attending the hearings.

  • A motion to reopen because the circumstances have changed. If, after receiving the deportation order, the immigrant discovers new significant facts or evidence that they did not have access to during the original proceedings, or if they discover that circumstances in their home nation have changed to the point where they have a legitimate fear of returning, the immigration courts allow motions to reopen in such cases. 

    When the case involves new facts or evidence, petitioners have ninety days from the day their deportation order was issued to file their appeals. The newly found material must be reasonably relevant to the original deportation order. Meanwhile, suppose the conditions in their home country have changed after their hearing. In that case, immigrants who desire to seek asylum or delay of removal due to fear of returning to their country of origin can request to reconsider their case based on this new information. 

    Although this type of motion does not stay (stop) the deportation order, the petitioner has the right to request that immigration officials delay their deportation while the motion is being reviewed.

File a Motion to Reconsider

An immigrant has the right to make a Motion to Reconsider with the immigration court if they feel the immigration judge who heard their case reached the incorrect judgment due to a misunderstanding of the immigration rules or because the laws have changed after the case was initially heard. According to immigration regulations, the time for filing a motion to reconsider a deportation order is thirty days, beginning on the day the order was issued. This motion must explain how the immigration court misinterpreted the law and reached an incorrect judgment based on the facts and evidence.

Consultation with an immigration attorney may be beneficial in identifying the best course of action.

Appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals (and Beyond) Might Work

The Board of Immigration Appeals, or B.I.A. reviews lower immigration court verdicts. Immigrants who believe the immigration court made an incorrect decision in their case due to a misinterpretation of the law, or because of incorrect conclusions based on the facts and evidence, can appeal the decision to the B.I.A. They will have 30 days from the date of the deportation order issued by the immigration court to file an appeal with the BIA.

After appealing, the deportation is automatically delayed. However, suppose the immigrant is appealing a judge's decision on a previous request to reopen or motion to reconsider. In that case, they must also petition for a stay of deportation from either the judge or the B.I.A. while the appeal is being handled.

If the B.I.A. does not rule in their favor, immigrants can file an appeal with the federal circuit court of appeals for their state and eventually with the United States Supreme Court. An appeal to the federal appellate courts would be time-consuming and would be best handled by an experienced immigration attorney. .

Can a U.S Citizen File an Application to Adopt a Foreign-Born Child?

Prospective adoptive parents must have their applications accepted by the USCIS even before they identify a child for adoption. Prospective adoptive parents can submit Forms I-800A and I-600A to show their eligibility to adopt and their capacity to give proper care to a child. 

Once granted, the applicant's adoption service provider will transfer their forms and dossier, to the country where they wish to adopt a child. The foreign nationals will then assess their eligibility according to their laws. The next step is to wait for a child match after receiving approval from both the US and the other country.

Yes. The USCIS has the discretion to waive or reduce a filing fee if the applicant can establish that they cannot pay. Immigrants applying for naturalization(Form N-400) might qualify for a fee reduction or fee waiver. 

  •  Fee reduction. To qualify for a fee reduction, the applicant's total annual family income must be between 150 and 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. To apply, eligible applicants must submit Form I-942 (Request for Decreased Fee), Form N-400, the reduced fees, and the relevant supporting documentation.

    The USCIS will not accept Form I-942 if it is submitted after they have already filed Form N-400.

    If a fee reduction is approved, the sole charge that will be reduced is the application fee, which will be reduced from $640 to $320.

  • Fee waivers. To be eligible for a fee waiver, the applicant must present evidence to the US government that they are unable to pay the mandatory filing fee for one or more of the following reasons:

    • Their annual household income is at or below 150 % of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
    • They are experiencing financial difficulties (such as significant medical expenses or unemployment).

      Using public assistance programs like Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) by an application as proof that the applicant cannot afford to pay for their immigrant visa is no longer considered by the USCIS. This modification went into effect in December of 2019.

      Immigrants may only apply for cost waivers for specified forms and services, such as the Application for Naturalization, the Adjustment of Status, and the biometrics fee. They must submit Form I-912 (Obtain for Fee Waiver) together with Form N-400 (the USCIS will not accept Form I-912 if it is delivered after Form N-400), as well as any additional papers that may be necessary, to request the fee waiver. 

      If the application is accepted, the cost and the biometrics fee will be waived.

I’m in The United States on a Temporary Visit and Wish to Obtain a Permanent Visa, What Can I do?

While in the United States on a visitor visa, a person may apply for a green card, which would allow them to become a lawful permanent resident if specific requirements are met. Non-immigrant visas, often known as visitor visas, are granted to persons who seek to enter the United States temporarily for business, tourism, or a combination of the two.

People who enter the United States on a visitor visa and meet the requirements to apply for lawful permanent residency (LPR) in the United States are eligible to apply for an adjustment of status under the provisions of Immigration and Nationality Act section 245(a) (INA).

The following must occur for visitors to alter their status while in the United States: 

  • They must have been either examined and permitted admission into the United States or inspected and granted parole access into the United States.
  • They must file an adjustment of the status application in the proper format.
  • They must maintain a physical presence in the United States.
  • They must satisfy the conditions to be given an immigrant visa. 
  • They must be eligible to apply for a green card. 
  • They must have an immigrant visa readily available when they file their application for adjustment of status and when a decision is rendered on their application.

I’ve Received a Deportation Order, is There Anything I Can do to Avoid Being Deported?

During a removal process, the essential thing to do is to establish that an immigrant had legitimate reasons to continue residing in the United States legally. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) empowers immigration courts to relieve immigrants of their obligation to remove or deport them if certain conditions are satisfied.

Ways to stop a deportation process include: 

  • Apply For Adjustment Of Status. There are a few scenarios in which an individual who has been put in removal proceedings may apply or amend their status to become a lawful permanent resident with a petition from a relative who is already a citizen or holder of a green card (I-130). The adjustment of status procedure results in both becoming a lawful permanent resident and receiving a green card.

  • Requesting a Waiver of Removal. A request for a waiver or a stay of removal merely asks the government to forgive the person's unlawful presence in the United States and to stay, or suspend, their removal. This option is only available in cases where the reasons for removal are not based on criminal convictions.

    Another comparable option is the Cancellation of Removal. This is usually only an option if the deportation significantly impacts a person's family and the individual has lived in the United States for at least ten years. In addition, the person's family must be US citizens (through naturalization or birth)

    To qualify for removal cancellation, the applicant must have resided in the United States for at least 7 years after admission and be a lawful permanent resident in the United States for at least 5 years before applying. Furthermore, they must not have been convicted of a serious crime, and they must not have previously been given the cancellation of removal.

  • Political Asylum. Foreign nationals may be awarded political asylum if they can establish that they have been persecuted in their home country due to their race, religious beliefs, citizenship, political stance, or membership in a social group. The application must be filed within one year of the immigrant's arrival in the US.

  • U-Visa. Immigrants who have been psychological or physical victims of violence and want to work with law enforcement to investigate and prosecute illegal activity may be eligible for a U-Visa. These people must have been abused in some way. The U visa prevents deportation and can eventually lead to the issue of a green card. The U-visa was created to help law enforcement investigate and prosecute criminal activities while also supporting victims willing to participate in the inquiry.

  • Voluntary Departure. To prevent deportation, the petitioner might offer that they depart voluntarily. One of the advantages of this decision is that there will be no official removal action recorded on their record. As a result, returning to the United States legally in the future will be much easier. However, the immigrant must physically leave the country within the time limit specified or face a fine and a 10-year prohibition on re-entering the country. 

    An applicant may qualify for voluntary departure if they can show that:

    • They have had a physical residence in the United States for at least one year
    • They have an excellent ethical character for at least five years
    • They are not removable for an aggravated felony or terrorism
    • They can pay their way back to their country of origin
    • They can post their departure bond
    • They have not previously been granted voluntary departure after remaining in the United States without a visa.

Individuals facing deportation or have been granted an order to leave the country must consult with a professional immigration attorney immediately. These attorneys provide aid and skill in removal processes by submitting all documents and providing critical verification of the candidate's credentials. They are also in charge of ensuring that all regulations are followed and their client’s rights are not violated.

How do You Get Someone Deported in Texas?

A person can have an illegal immigrant deported by reporting them to the Department of Homeland Security. They can submit their report via the online tip form or call (866)-347-2423.