Being detained by immigration at the airport is an overwhelming experience and, unfortunately, the government is using this tactic with increased frequency. One of the first things you should do is assess if you are truly being detained. Oftentimes, individuals do not realize they are free to leave due to the strategic language law enforcement officers use. Ask the officer if you are free to leave or if you are being detained. The last thing you want is to talk yourself into a corner for no reason.
However, if you are being detained, you should refrain from providing any statements without obtaining legal representation.
Reasons Why the Government Detains Immigrants
The government tends to detain immigrants due to a belief that they pose a public safety threat.
Some of the most common reasons why the government detains immigrants include:
- The individual committed a crime
- The individual arrived at the border without formally applying for asylum or without a visa
- The individual has an outstanding deportation on record
- The individual missed prior immigration hearing dates
Steps to Take if You Are Detained
If you are arrested or detained at the airport by immigration, you have certain rights and being aware of them can make a difference in your situation.
Here are some steps you should take if you are detained at the airport by immigration:
- Ask to speak with an attorney and do not sign anything until you speak to an attorney. You might inadvertently sign away your rights to see a lawyer or a judge.
- Do not take a voluntary departure without speaking to an attorney. If you do so, you might never be allowed to enter the United States again or obtain legal immigration status.
- You have the right to contact an attorney or your family. However, the government will not provide an attorney for you.
- When you obtain legal counsel, be sure to tell your attorney every relevant details pertaining to your case. Withholding information will only harm your case.
- If you believe returning to your home country will put your safety at risk, inform the deportation officer as well as the court. You might qualify for asylum.
Not only should you avoid speaking at this time, but you must also be polite and refrain from making any sarcastic or flippant remarks to the immigration officers or officials. It might not change the outcome of your case, but at least you will not worsen the situation.
Reach Out to Our Knowledgeable Immigration Team Today!
At Galaviz Law Firm, PLLC, our immigration team has helped hundreds of clients achieve successful results, regardless of the complexities involved in their immigration case. We understand how high the stakes are in such cases and will do everything possible to ensure you secure a favorable result and can lead a prosperous life in the United States.
Secure the experienced legal counsel you need for your immigration case and reach out to our law office at (713) 597-5642 to set up an initial consultation to learn more about how we can help you!