Nothing can completely prepare a family for the devastation that occurs when a beloved family member is arrested by immigration officials. Not only is a family member or loved one in custody, possible deportation also looms. By following these steps you can help procure your family member’s release from custody and avoid removal from the United States.
1. Be proactive. If your family member is unlawfully present in the United States, consult with a qualified immigration attorney before he or she is arrested. The attorney might be able to obtain your family member lawful status. If not, the attorney should be able to provide detailed advice about what to do in the event of an immigration arrest.
2. No talking with immigration officials and no signing papers without an attorney present. Unfortunately, unrepresented people often sign documents to voluntarily return to their home country without fully understanding the consequences. Immigration officers incorrectly advise them that this is their best or only option. Accepting a voluntary return order results in a quick removal from the United States and, many times, destroys any hope of future lawful immigration. We always tell our clients not to sign anything or say anything without an attorney present.
3. Be quick. If your family member is arrested, do not wait to call an attorney. Time matters. Attorneys should be able to immediately contact immigration officials to obtain information about the case and to negotiate a bond, if possible.
4. Be prepared. An immigration attorney will want biographical information about the person detained, including: details about family members, criminal history, and prior immigration violations (including any prior illegal entries). If you have this information ready when you meet with your lawyer, you will be a step ahead.
5. Questions to ask the attorney. To ensure your attorney is qualified ask these questions. Is the attorney board certified to practice immigration and nationality law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization? How many detained cases has the attorney handled? How will the attorney communicate with you? Will your family member qualify for a bond? What’s the long-term plan to legalize the family member?
DMCA has successfully represented persons in immigration detention for years. After we’re retained we immediately call immigration to obtain information about the detained person. We also send a representative from our office to speak to our clients as soon as possible. Our goal is to procure the release of our client as soon as possible. If you have a family member or a loved one in immigration custody, we can help.
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