When immigrants in Maryland and throughout the U.S. agree to a voluntary departure in order to avoid a formal deportation order, they are also agreeing not to return to the U.S. for up to 10 years. There are harsh penalties immigrants may face if they are deported, which is why some immigrants do agree to voluntarily leave the U.S. when faced with the possibility of being deported. But for many folks who have families and jobs they enjoy, not being able to re-enter the U.S. for up to 10 years would be devastating, and they would much rather work with an attorney to fight to stay in the country.
Unfortunately, seven Mexican immigrants who were threatened with being deported agreed to voluntarily leave the U.S. instead of face the consequences of a formal deportation order. Immigration authorities allegedly told the immigrants that once they were back in Mexico, they could quickly resolve their legal status issues and return to the U.S. in a timely manner. This information was not accurate, and law enforcement authorities left out the fact that agreeing to a voluntary departure would mean that the immigrants would not be able to return to the U.S. for 10 years.
According to reports, the immigrants are now pursuing a lawsuit against the U.S. government. They argue that they were coerced into agreeing to voluntary departures, and they believe that what happened to them has happened to many others.
The lawsuit seeks class-action status. The seven immigrants claim that they were provided with misleading information when they agreed to voluntarily leave the country, and that they were threatened with harsh consequences for not agreeing to voluntary departures. The immigrants are requesting that the U.S. government revise its procedures to make sure no immigrant is provided with misleading information when agreeing to a voluntary departure.
If you are facing a deportation issue or believe that your deportation was not handled properly by the U.S. government and law enforcement officials, do not hesitate to reach out to an attorney. You may know very well the severe consequences a deportation would have on you, your family and your future. To minimize these consequences or to avoid a deportation, you will want to make sure your rights remain fully protected while you resolve this serious legal matter. An attorney will thoroughly review your case and navigate through complex U.S. immigration laws in order to fight for a favorable outcome in your case.
Source: The Olympian, "Lawsuit challenges US deportation procedures," Elliot Spagat, June 4, 2013