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Airport Detention of Lawful Permanent Residents

Protecting Green Card Holders Being Detained

Undocumented immigrants are not the only non-citizens who can be detained. Any non-citizen can be detained for certain reasons, whether it's from a past conviction for a deportable crime or leaving the U.S. for more than six months

Lawful permanent residents, or green card holders, may be detained at border crossings by Customs and Border Protection, ICE, or other immigration officials. Such residents and their families often wonder why they are treated in this manner. Possession of a Green Card does not convey the same rights as U.S. citizenship. Therefore, lawful permanent residents may still be subject to screenings by officials.

Have you or a loved one been detained at a Texas airport? Call Galaviz Law Firm, PLLC to speak to our Houston immigration attorney at (713) 597-5642 for help.

Reasons for Being Detained at the Airport

Border officials have specific rules they are expected to follow. Lawful permanent residents are not automatically permitted to re-enter the U.S. under certain conditions.

Reasons for airport detention include if the lawful permanent resident:

  • Left the U.S. for more than six months
  • Abandoned their Lawful Permanent Resident status
  • Was involved in illegal activity outside the U.S.
  • Committed a felony or crime of moral turpitude

Individuals found to be in the above categories may be subject to removal (deportation) hearings and will be issued a Notice to Appear by the border official. The Notice will state the reason for the deportation case. You may also be placed in a detention facility.

Receiving a Notice to Appear does not automatically mean that you will be deported. You should, however, retain the services of a skilled immigration lawyer who knows how to fight removal through a thorough investigation into the matter and the use of appropriate legal remedies such as 212(h) waivers, cancellation of removal, and other options.

Your Rights During Airport Detention as a Lawful Permanent Resident

When you are detained at the airport, you do not have the automatic right to an attorney. You are only required to answer questions related to your permanent resident status, identity, and standard customs questions. You may be asked to sign documents, which should be read carefully - if you don't understand any given form, you should not sign the document. You should contact an immigration attorney as soon as you possibly can once the initial detainment is over.

Can a Green Card Holder be Deported?

The short answer is yes. Aside from not renewing their green card, green card holders can be deported for other reasons. Most noticeable, if a green card holder has violated any U.S. laws, then they are subject to deportation. Crimes such as:

  • Smuggling
  • Committing marriage, voting, or document fraud
  • Crimes of moral turpitude (murder, manslaughter, abuse, robbery, and more)

What Rights Do Green Card Holders Have?

According to The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services your rights as a green card holder, or permanent resident include:

  • The right to live permanently in the U.S.
  • The right to work in the U.S.
  • The right to live protected by U.S. law

As noted above, green card holders can be deported if they have committed an offense of moral turpitude.

We Are Available to Protect Your Permanent Resident Status

At Galaviz Law Firm, PLLC, we understand that these matters can arise unexpectedly, which is why our Houston immigration lawyer is always available. Our firm is committed to helping you protect your Green Card status and will aggressively fight deportation using all of the legal strategies available.

Detained at the airport? Contact us at (713) 597-5642 for assistance today or contact us online.

  • Abraham J Galaviz Photo
    Abraham J Galaviz

    Founding Attorney

    Abraham is very passionate about his work. He empathizes with Clients because he knows that his parents once traveled the same road his clients are now traveling. The people he helps all have a story behind them. He knows that his clients want the opportunity to work and have a better future. 


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    “This is a young honest lawyer that won’t hesitate to go above and beyond. The reason I’m saying this is because, I went to other lawyer agency’s and they told me my case would be difficult, expensive ...”

    - Leo G.
  • We guarantee you; you hire Galaviz, he will have your best interest at heart.

    “My husband is a UNITED STATE NATURALIZED CITIZEN and Galaviz is to thank for his honesty, hard work, and patience.”

    - Marivel H.
  • Mr. Galaviz gave me the hope I lacked at times and thanks to all his hard work and dedication my husband is now home with us.

    “He answered all my questions and was honest with me.”

    - Christin K.
  • Thanks to Mr.Galaviz, our family is complete again!

    “Thanks to Mr.Galaviz, our family is complete again!”

    - Cindy M.
  • Thank again for helping my mother get her residency.

    “What can I say such an amazing lawyer!”

    - Ericka H.

The Results that Matter

  • Charge Reduced Released on Bond

    Judge grants a reasonable bond after proving client was not subject to mandatory detention for previous criminal history.

  • Charge Reduced Removal Defense / Adjustment of Status

    Case terminated and Lawful Permanent Resident status granted for the wife of U.S. Combat Veteran.

  • Case Dismissed Arrested for Possession of Marijuana

    Arrested for possession of 1,300 pounds of marijuana and in danger of deportation.

  • Lawful Permanent Resident Keeps Green Card Possession of 862 Pounds of Marijuana.

    Client was arrested and convicted of Possession of more than 800 pounds of Marijuana in the Rio Grand Valley, and sentenced to several years in State Jail.

  • Lawful Permanent Resident Keeps Green Card Medicaid Fraud - Loss was more than $10,000

    Immigration Officials placed Client in removal proceedings because she had previously been convicted of Medicaid Fraud – more than $10,000, which is an aggravated felony.

  • Lawful Permanent Resident Status Won Alien in Possession of Firearm - Aggravated Felony

    Client was arrested and charged in Federal Court for the offense of Alien in Possession of a Firearm – an Aggravated Felony for immigration purposes.

  • Lawful Permanent Resident Keeps Green Card Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon on a Police Officer

    Immigration Officials placed Client in removal proceedings because of a previous conviction for – Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon on a Police Officer.

  • Charges Dismissed Client Released from Custody Practice Area Removal Defense / Immigration Detention

    Accused with 3 DWI charges and in danger of being deported after being a permanent resident for 34 years.

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At Galaviz Law we understand first hand what you're going though.

Having parents who have gone through the immigration process, has not only allowed us to be more compassionate and understanding but has also given us a more competitive advantage. Our success rate speaks for itself. We're here to help you.