Federal immigration law allows the government to deport individuals who do not have current lawful status or who have become removable for another reason. For example, immigration officers can deport someone if they crossed the border without being inspected by an immigration officer, if they overstayed a visa by not leaving the country when the visa expired, or if they become removable due to a certain kind of criminal conviction, even if they have a green card.
In addition to considering whether your business is at risk because of the immigration laws, it is important to have plans in place in case you are ordered deported by immigration authorities. While it is extremely difficult to do so, you can try to make an emergency deportation plan to prepare potential ways to fight your deportation from your home country as a way to eventually return to running your business in the United States. You can also make an emergency business plan to ensure that your business is in good hands while you are living outside the United States and potentially leave a way for you to continue to manage it from abroad.
Steps to Take Once You Are Back in Your Country of Origin to Fight Deportation
Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible for many people who have been deported to ever return to the United States. If you have been deported and want to try to find a way to return to the United States to continue your business from within the country, there are limited options.
1. Be Aware of Bars to Returning to the United States After Deportation
For immigrants who have already been deported, it is extremely difficult to come back to the United States due to bars on returning to the country after deportation. Depending on the type of deportation order, immigrants who have been deported can be subject to legal bars preventing them from legally returning to the U.S. for either five, ten, or twenty years, or sometimes, permanently after deportation.
2. Consult with a Skilled and Experienced Immigration Lawyer to Identify Potential Legal Options
First of all, it is really important to consult with an immigration lawyer about your options if you are deported.
For the few individuals who do have a pathway available to try to legally return to the country, the process is legally complex and requires a highly-skilled, experienced immigration attorney.
It is best to make sure that the immigration attorney is actually a licensed lawyer in good standing with a State Bar Association and that they maintain their license with continuing legal education. One of the best resources to check this information is through the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) lawyer search. If the immigration attorney is a member of AILA, that is also a great way to check and make sure the person is actually a lawyer and not a notario fraud.
3. Appeal a Deportation Order
An immigration attorney can help a person who has been deported determine if they have any options to try to challenge their deportation order through an appeal in the courts. For example, an individual who has been ordered deported by an immigration judge has 30 days to appeal the decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals, which is the appellate agency for immigration cases under the United States Department of Justice. An individual who has been ordered deported by the Board of Immigration Appeals can seek to appeal that decision to a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also within 30 days.
However, there needs to be a valid basis to challenge the deportation order under the law. If there is no legal issue to appeal, it could be a waste of money, effort, and time to appeal the deportation order decision.
Additionally, not all deportation orders can be appealed through the courts. For people who do have a basis to appeal and are still within the 30 days to file an appeal, it is so important to obtain an immigration attorney experienced in appeals because individuals most often only get one chance to argue for an appeal at each stage of the process.
4. Seek to Reopen a Deportation Order
Additionally, an immigration attorney can help a person who has been deported identify if they have an argument to seek to reopen their deportation order from their immigration case at either the immigration court or the Board of Immigration Appeals. Generally, immigrants can seek to reopen their case within 90 days of the deportation order if there is a valid reason under the law to do so that meets specific requirements, and only after that 90 day period in rare circumstances. It is quite difficult to seek to reopen a case to overturn a deportation order, and again it is really important to work with an immigration attorney to make sure that the one chance to seek reopening is done the right way.
5. Seek Consular Processing Through a U.S. Embassy or Consulate
For deported immigrants who are not able to appeal their deportation orders or seek to reopen them, an immigration attorney can also help them figure out if they have an option to return to the United States through consular processing at the U.S. embassy or consulate from abroad. For example, someone may be able to apply for a green card through a family member who is a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident. Or perhaps the person may want to try to apply for a student or tourist visa.
A person who has been deported and wants to apply to return to the United States would need the help of an immigration attorney to seek a waiver to waive their prior deportation order. Such a waiver is discretionary, meaning that the immigration officers do not have to grant it. Applying for a green card or visa through consular processing is also discretionary, so it is important for someone who has been deported to put forward the best case possible with the help of a skilled immigration attorney.
Making an Emergency Business Plan: How to Continue Managing Your Business from Your Country of Origin in the Case of Deportation
Like with figuring out a plan to return to the United States after deportation, it is critical to consult with an attorney to make an emergency plan for your business in case you are deported.
1. Make an Agreement with Your Partners
An attorney can help immigrants put in place an agreement with their business partners should one of the business partners get deported. The advanced agreement can determine how the other partners will respond in that scenario. Some partners may agree to continue to allow the person who is deported to maintain ownership in the business and/or continue to compensate them financially.
2. Attempt to Continue to Own and Manage the Business from Abroad
Although it may be quite complex to do so, deported immigrants can hire an attorney to see if it is possible to come up with a plan to continue to own and manage their business from their country of origin after deportation. A lawyer can assist with managing the business, representing the country’s interests in the event of a dispute, and ensuring the stability of the business from within the United States once the deported business owner is no longer in the country.
3. Making Plans to Transfer Ownership of the Business
It is common for many immigrants who worry about being deported to choose to have another person they trust continue to run their business in the event that they are deported. For example, a person may transfer the ownership of the business to someone who is a U.S. citizen or assign that other person the ability to make decisions through a power of attorney in the event that they are deported.
4. Put the Business in Another Person’s Name
In addition to making plans to transfer ownership of the business to a relative who is a U.S. citizen in the case that they are deported, some immigrants decide to affirmatively put their business in the name of a family member or partner with legal status. Making this decision could have many legal implications and consequences. It can also put an immigrant in a vulnerable situation where they could easily be taken advantage of or lose their rights in the business. Therefore, it is important to seek the advice of an attorney before making any decisions about whose name to put a business under.
5. Scale Down or Sell the Business
Due to the fear of deportation, or even in view of deportation when it becomes more and more of a certainty, some immigrants decide to scale down their businesses or sell their businesses. Unfortunately, it is often the case that someone who finds himself or herself in this situation and has to sell their business due to deportation has to sell their business at a loss. Yet for some, it may be worth selling their business even at a loss in order to reap some of the financial rewards of their hard work before leaving the country.
To sum up, although it can be very difficult to face the possibility of deportation as a business owner when you have so much at stake in the United States after years and years of hard work building up a business, there are some options that immigrants who have been deported can pursue to try to return to the United States or continue their business from abroad.
At Camino Financial, we believe that there should be “No Business Left Behind.” We stand by Latino immigrants regardless of their immigrant status. That’s why it’s our mission to show you how to fight for your rights and learn about ways to protect your business and family.
Educating yourself about your rights and what to do in the case of an immigration issue is one of the best ways to be prepared. Make sure to learn about what to do if immigrant agents come to your business, how to educate yourself in personal finance, and legal resources for getting immigration help.