In the event that a family member is being held by the local authorities, you have to act quickly to prevent him or her from being deported. There are several factors that decide what your options are. Before taking action, here is what you need to know.
Why Is Your Family Member Being Held?
An immigration hold is used by local police departments to detain undocumented immigrants while Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, checks their status. ICE is required to pick the person up within a 48-hour period or the local authorities have to release him or her. Unfortunately, this does not always happen and your family member could still be taken into custody by ICE.
Even if your family member is released after the 48-hour period, ICE can still track and take him or her into custody.
Will Your Family Member Be Deported Right Away?
Whether or not your family member will be deported immediately depends the circumstances of his or her case. If the government already has a deportation order for him or her, your relative can be deported. At that point, you and your family will have to fight for your relative to be allowed re-entry into the country.
However, if there is no deportation order, your family member is entitled to a hearing in immigration court. Before the actual deportation hearing, a bond hearing is scheduled. It is important that your relative does not sign any documentation before consulting with an immigration lawyer. He or she could mistakenly forfeit the right to an immigration hearing.
What Happens Next?
If your family member meets the requirements for legal status, he or she needs to prove it. For instance, if your relative has an immediate family member who is willing to sponsor his or her petition, has a stable job, and does not have a criminal record, he or she could possibly qualify for a green card. If your family member previously had a green card but it has expired, your attorney might recommend reapplying for the card while waiting for the hearing.
The best course of action to take if your loved one is being held by local authorities is to contact an immigration lawyer as soon as possible. The lawyer can start working on getting bail so that your loved one can be released. He or she can also start building the case for why your relative should be allowed to remain in the country.
If you've decided that you want to adopt a child, the first thing you should do is reach out to a family law attorney. While it may not seem logical to get an attorney involved from the start, it's important that you protect yourself legally from the beginning. After making the decision to adopt, I have been through the process several times. I created this site to help other adoptive parents understand what they can expect from the entire process, including the legal support you're likely to need. I hope this information helps you feel more confident in this major life decision.