A Deportation Order Does Not Mean That The Options Are Over: We Explain Why | Univision Immigration News

A bricklayer who was injured in the partial collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel that is built in New Orleans, Louisiana, and was arrested two days later by federal agents, is about to be deported from the United States.

Identified as Delmer Ramírez-Palma, the immigrant of Honduran origin was one of the more than a dozen workers who were injured in the accident recorded on October 12.

At least two people died in the collapse of several floors.


The immigrant was arrested days after the tragedy by Border Patrol agents (CBP) at the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge in New Orleans, located about 15 miles from the hotel, confirmed the Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in a statement.

Ramírez Palma has a deportation order issued in February 2016 and is currently in ICE custody "pending his transfer to his country of citizenship," the agency added.

"Unfortunately, I already had a deportation order," says Abel Núñez, executive director of the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), who added that in these cases the government usually executes the expulsion order in an expedited manner.

I looked for help

“Many immigrants who have a deportation order don't know it,” says Núñez. “Many, when arrested, prosecute them and then release them. But because of ignorance they don't go to court, they think they are free and get lost within the system ”; add.

The problem appears when, as in the case of Ramírez-Palma, “people come into contact with the police authorities and discover that they have a deportation order. That's when they realize the seriousness of the matter. ”

According to data from the Information and Access Center for Transactional Records (TRAC) of the University of Syracuse (New York), between fiscal years 2011 and 2019 the immigration courts issued 959,555 deportation orders. It is not known how many have been executed.

According to data from the Immigration Case Review Office (EOIR), between October 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019, 57,539 deportation orders were issued in absentia (a monthly average of 6,393).

In 2018 the number of expulsion orders in absence were 46,058, and in 2017 it reached 41,914.

Do not sleep

The key to defending your right to stay depends on how fast you move and seek legal help to review your case.

“More than anything, get legal advice. For that, you have to review your file and look for possibilities and that you don't know they exist, ”says José Guerrero, an immigration lawyer who practices in Miami, Florida. “In some cases it has been discovered that the immigrant did not go to court because the government sent a Notice of Appearance (NTA) with no filing date and address. In those cases, the government must start all over again, a new trial, ”he adds.

Guerrero also says that “a motion to reopen can also be filed because new evidence appeared in favor of the case. But for all that it is necessary for a certified lawyer to review the case and present a legal strategy. ”

Legitimate reasons

"While the government certainly has the right to deport people with legitimate orders of final deportation, many of those orders may be subject to challenge," says Stephen Yale-Loehr, a professor at Cornell University Law School, in NY. "Immigrants have rights," he added.

For example, he explains, "given the inefficiencies in the immigration court system, many people may have received a deportation order illegally because ICE did not have their correct address to notify them of their date in immigration court."

Yale-Loehr indicates that, “in these cases, affected persons may have the right to reopen their immigration case. Find a lawyer now, ”he said.

Six month term

“People who have a final order of deportation in absentia and never heard that they had to go to immigration court, have a period of six (6) months to reopen their case and explain why they did not appear and the judge then issued an expulsion order from the United States, ”explains Lilia Velásquez, an immigration lawyer and associate professor at the University of California School of Law in San Diego.

“They can explain and show the court why they did not appear, for example, that the government issued the order to appear with the wrong address, or without a physical place to go for a specific time. And for that reason they did not go and the court decided to expel them in absence, ”he added.

But in general, "when the judge issues a final deportation order there is no turning of the page," says Velásquez. “People who have these orders and have no argument to challenge them, have to know that they will be deported. And if they are arrested they have no right to appear again before a judge, ”he warned.

In photos: the five documents an immigrant needs to avoid expedited deportation