Being a non-citizen in Louisiana or elsewhere in the United States can be a challenging and stressful experience. If you encounter a serious issue, such as being taken into police custody and charged with a crime or being accused of illegal entry to the U.S., you might be at risk for deportation, which is an immigration issue that is complex and often difficult to resolve.
If you want to live and work in Louisiana, it is always best to learn as much as you can about U.S. immigration law ahead of time, which can help you avoid legal problems upon arrival. However, many foreign nationals have resided within the state for months, or, perhaps, years, before legal problems arise. In any case, it’s good to know what type of support is available to you if you or one of your loved ones is at risk for removal.
You have rights in the U.S. even if you’re not a citizen
When your legal status in this country is that of a foreign national, it doesn’t mean that you do not have any rights. In fact, you are protected against unlawful searches or seizure under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, just like any other adult. You also have a right to remain silent under interrogation without legal representation.
If you’re at risk for deportation and believe that a personal rights violation occurred leading up to or during your detainment, you are allowed to file a complaint. This would be done through the Department of Homeland Security.
You might be eligible to change your legal status
It’s best to try to remain calm and explore all available options for deportation defense if you have been flagged for removal. In certain circumstances, you might qualify for a legal status adjustment. For instance, if one of your family members is a permanent resident in the U.S. and is willing to sign a petition on your behalf, you might be eligible for a green card.
You might also be able to seek a protected status. If you believe that your life would be endangered by returning to your country of origin, you may request asylum. There is also a process known as ”withholding removal,” which enables you to stay in the United States but does not provide options for permanent residence or citizenship. Under this status, the U.S. government can re-activate your removal order if conditions improve in your country of origin.
What to do if you are worried about deportation
Many Louisiana residents have encountered immigration problems such as the risk of deportation but have been able to successfully resolve such issues. It is helpful to discuss your situation with someone you trust who is knowledgeable about U.S. immigration laws. It is also wise to tap into any local resources that might be available for you to obtain guidance and support as you navigate the U.S. criminal justice system or immigration proceedings.