What to do if you get a “knock on the door”

What to do if you get a “knock on the door”

Many people are justifiably afraid and concerned about their future in America once Donald Trump becomes president. When he kicked off his campaign, he stated his intention to deport the approximate 11 million illegal aliens who are in the US. He later changed his position to focusing on the approximate 3 million he referred to as “bad hombres,” or those who pose a danger to society, such as criminals, terrorists, and possibly those with previous deportation orders.

However, people are still worried that ICE will come to their home or workplace, handcuff them, and take them off to the airport, to be flown back to the Philippines. But it is not that simple or easy for the government to deport/remove people. You have rights and are entitled to Constitutional due process, and if you are ever faced with a knock on the door, you should have an attorney represent you, to protect your rights and determine if you are possibly eligible for some sort of relief from deportation/removal.

With respect to fearing a knock on the door, you should be aware of the following:

  • The government cannot simply knock on a person’s door or come to their place of work, grab and handcuff them, and take them to the nearest train station or airport and send them out.
  • Instead, each person is entitled to his or her “day in court.” They must be served with a Notice to Appear (NTA), which sets forth the charges or reasons they are deportable.
  • The person then has the right to appear in court, and apply for various forms of relief, if eligible, which must be heard and ruled on by the immigration judge in a trial-like setting.
  • Some forms of relief, which exist under current laws, could include cancellation of removal, adjustment of status (if they were petitioned by a relative and their priority date is current), waivers (if they are in removal/deportation because of some previous immigration violation such as fraud or crimes, to name a few).
  • Court proceedings could involve several appearances. If their case is denied by the immigration judge, they can appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), which could take several more years.
  • Where is Mr. Trump going to find enough courtrooms and judges to handle the approximate 11 million new removal proceedings? It will cost billions of dollars to build new courtrooms and hire and pay new judges (and their staff) to handle all of these removal proceedings and appeals.

The bottom line is it is not feasible to gather up and deport/remove millions of people.  But if you are among the “unlucky ones” who are facing removal, or are later placed in removal, it is vital you have an attorney represent you, and protect your rights.

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