Being removed from the United States — also referred to as being deported — is often a traumatic experience. However, an order of removal is not necessarily the final say on the matter. Under U.S. immigration law, those living in Louisiana might be able to delay or avoid removal altogether.
Receiving asylum as a refugee is a smart option for those who cannot return home due to safety concerns. In order to receive asylum, individuals must file within their first year of coming into the United States. They must also be able to demonstrate their inability to go back home because of prior persecution or a substantial fear of persecution because of their religion, race, nationality, political opinion or more.
A voluntary departure is another option for avoiding deportation, but it is usually used as a last resort when other options have failed. When individuals choose to leave voluntarily, they admit to their removability, but without taking on the stigma of a formal order of removal. After leaving they can still seek admission at a U.S. port-of-entry. However, if they do not leave within the granted time, they can be barred from receiving deportation relief for a period of 10 years and may also be hit with a fine.
For those who have spent years building lives in Louisiana, receiving an order of removal can be devastating. It does not have to be the end of the road. Whether through seeking asylum, a voluntary departure or other forms of deportation relief, some people may be able to utilize options under U.S. immigration law to avoid the difficult process of deportation.