When the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) instructs the United States Immigration and Citizenship Service (USCIS) and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that you are to be deported from the country, the clock starts ticking. In the current sociopolitical climate in America, you have to assume that DHS and ICE will not hesitate to complete an order of removal. You need to take immediate action to protect your right to remain in the United States. But what can you do?
One common legal tool used by immigrants and the immigration lawyers who represent them is a stay of removal. In short and in effect, a stay of removal stops DHS agents from following through on a deportation or removal order until further notice reenacts it. You might be aware of how an automatic stay in bankruptcy blocks creditor actions and harassment? A stay of removal in immigration is essentially the same concept, only formed to protect immigrants.
Automatic Stays of Removal
You can actually get a stay of removal “automatically” if you file a petition to challenge your removal to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). Such petitions usually need to be done within the next 30 days of receiving notice of your deportation order, but it is safer to assume you have as little time as possible. When the BIA receives your appeal, it is supposed to create an automatic stay of removal on your deportation order, keeping it in place until it rules on your appeal.
Since the BIA can take up to 18 months or longer to review an appeal and reach a decision, filing a timely, well-thought-out appeal with the help of an attorney can buy you plenty of time to delay removal. It is definitely recommended that you consider this option whenever it is a possibility.
Discretionary Stays of Removal
In the event that you miss the window of time to file an appeal with the BIA, or an appeal is not approved or permitted for any reason, you might not be completely out of luck. A deportation officer should have been assigned to your removal case by the DHS or ICE. You can file a stay of removal directly to this assigned deportation officer, who can consider it based on their own discretion.
If your discretionary stay of removal is approved by an immigration judge or your deportation officer, it may grant you up to one additional year in the United States without worry of removal. The stay can also be renewed any number of times, meaning it is possible that you could use discretionary stays to indefinitely stave off removal. Although, the odds of such luck with the immigration system is unlikely, and you should make moves to reestablish your legal validity for staying in the country, such as through a visa.
Additionally, if you are granted a discretionary stay of removal, you should expect for there to be conditions. Specifically, it is common for the stay to be approved alongside an order of supervision, which requires you to report to a local ICE office at routine intervals. Failing to report to the ICE office, or not meeting any other standard expected with the order of supervision, may cancel the stay of removal entirely.
Need help figuring out stays of removal and seeing if you can get one to stop your deportation? Call (239) 800-0580 to connect with Hurtado Immigration Law Firm in Fort Myers. Immigration cases are all we do, and we handle them well. Find out more by scheduling a consultation today.