Options for People Facing Deportation From the United States

What are the Consequences of Deportation, and What is Voluntary Departure?

When a foreign visitor to the United States has an expired visa or violates other provisions of U.S. immigration law, that individual may face deportation, or forced removal, from the United States.

U.S. Immigration Courts have jurisdiction over deportation cases, and, if there are no provisions of law that allow the person to remain in the United States, these courts can issue an Order of Removal, by which the foreign individual is physically removed from the United States. An Order of Removal does not carry with it any other form of punishment.

An Order of Removal, however, does carry with it several conditions, among them the requirement that the individual being deported is inadmissible to the United States for ten years following the date he or she physically departs the United States.

United States immigration law also provides for an alternative to an Order of Removal for people facing deportation; it is called Voluntary Departure. At its most basic, Voluntary Departure is the departure of a person facing deportation from the United States without an Order of Removal, and it may or may not have been preceded by a hearing before an immigration judge.

When is Voluntary Departure an Appropriate Option for a Person Facing Deportation?

In a Voluntary Departure, the person facing deportation essentially concedes that the United States has the authority to issue an Order of Removal, and voluntarily agrees to depart the United States. When agreeing to a Voluntary Departure, the person facing deportation waives any other relief that may be available, and waives any appeal of their case. However, with a Voluntary Departure, there is no bar to the individual to seek admission to the United States at any time in the future.

If an individual opts to seek a Voluntary Departure, they should realize that failure to depart within the time granted can result in consequences that are more severe than an individual who has received an Order of Removal. An individual who does not depart within the time frame set by a Voluntary Departure may be subject to fines, a ten year bar to readmission, and bars to other forms of relief that are sometimes available to individuals who are subject to an Order of Removal.

If the individual fails to depart within the given time frame, they are also subject to immediate deportation without any hearing—essentially, their Voluntary Departure becomes an Order of Removal, and, even if they depart voluntarily at that point, it is treated under U.S. immigration law the same as a deportation, and it carries with it the ten year bar to readmission.

When Should a Person Confronted With Deportation Seek Legal Advice?

When an individual is confronted with the possibility of deportation by the United States, they should consult a qualified immigration attorney to advise them, particularly if they do not wish to be deported. An immigration attorney can advise clients on whether there are viable alternatives to deportation, including seeking an adjustment of status or finding other provisions of law that may assist their case.

Alternatively, an immigration attorney can advise a client when Voluntary Departure may be the best option, and what the individual’s options are for the possibility of returning to the United States at a future date, if that is what they desire.

If you or someone you know is facing a deportation case, Austin, Texas immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle of the Lyttle Law Firm can help. Ms. Lyttle has helped many clients with U.S. immigration matters, and she can represent individuals facing deportation hearings, assist them in making informed choices about what course of action to take, and provide advice and assistance in pursuing available legal means of avoiding deportation.

Alternatively, she can advise clients of when Voluntary Departure may be their best option, assist them in complying with all necessary requirements, and advise them on how they may wish to proceed in the future.

Ms. Lyttle is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian, and can communicate directly with clients in these languages, as well as read and understand documents in these languages, if necessary. Furthermore, because immigration issues are a matter of federal law, rather than state law, she can handle cases for citizens living in any state, not merely the State of Texas.

The Lyttle Law Firm can give you peace of mind in knowing that all legal avenues of avoiding deportation will be fully considered and pursued. If you need assistance with a deportation case or need advice on what deportation may involve and how it may be avoided, contact the Lyttle Law Firm.