DFW Airport: Immigration Detention Of Non-Citizens

Each day, hundreds of non-citizens are detained at ports of entry across the United States.  The Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport is no exception.  There, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP or “Customs”) routinely runs background checks on nonimmigrant visa holders and lawful permanent residents.  Often, Customs will find that the non-citizen has been convicted of a crime that appears to make him or her inadmissible for re-entry into the United States.

The person may be detained for several hours while a determination is made by Customs to place this person in deportation or removal proceedings.


What to do if you relative is detained by Immigration at DFW Airport

First, don’t panic.  Simply because your relative is detained does not mean that he will be deported.  The Vinesh Patel Law Firm has helped hundreds of persons detained at ports of entry to ultimately secure release from immigration detention, and often to win or maintain permanent legal status in the United States.

Second, attempt to contact your relative and instruct him or her to be cautious about making statements to government officials.  Much like in criminal cases, statements made by defendants can be used against them.  Having an experienced Dallas deportation attorney   at your side will help protect your rights and improve your chance of a good outcome.

Third, find a deportation attorney near DFW airport who can begin a process of early intervention.  Customs often makes mistakes in charging a person with inadmissibility.  You need an experienced professional to evaluate your relative’s case to see if putting forth an aggressive defense is his or her best interest.

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But he’s traveled outside the country for several years!

Sadly, many lawful permanents residents and visa holders have been able to travel in and out of the United States for several years before they are detained by Immigration at the airport.  It’s shocking and heart-breaking, and dramatically unfair.  At The Vinesh Patel Law Firm, our attorneys have had clients who have even been granted advance parol by USCIS before being detained at the DFW Airport.  It’s flat-out wrong, and it’s a violation of non-citizens’ due process rights.

So why does it happen?  For two reasons.  One is that Customs now has greater access to a person’s criminal history at the state and federal levels.  So newer background checks may pull up information that was not available before.  Second, the Department of Homeland Security regularly revises its policies on who to detain and who to place in removal proceedings.  Much like a prosecutor in criminal court, immigration officials have a large amount of discretion in which cases to pursue.  Over time, DHS may have increased its enforcement against returning lawful permanent residents.

Can a lawful permanent resident be detained and deported?

Unfortunately, yes.  If a permanent resident has certain types of criminal convictions on his record — or has “abandoned or relinquished” his status — Customs may tell him that he cannot reenter the United States.  Specifically, the immigration laws says that a permanent resident in the following categories may run into trouble at the DFW Airport, or any port of entry: (1) if he has abandoned his permanent resident status (usually based on a lack of ties to America plus a lengthy absence or series of absences); (2) an absence for over 180 days; (3) if he has engaged in illegal activity outside the United States; (4) if he has committed a drug offense of a crime involving moral turpitude.

How to stop deportation of a person detained at DFW Airport

Deportation attorneys at The Vinesh Patel Law Firm are skilled in discovering the best defenses to deportation.  You can learn more about what a deportation attorney can do by visiting this helpful overview on deportation and removal in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area.

There are several types of relief that may be available to non-citizens detained at the DFW Airport.  First, a lawful permanent resident may be eligible for cancellation of removal for certain permanent residents.  It is essentially one-time waiver.  To get it, the person must prove that — prior to being placed in removal hearings — he had his green card for 5 years, continuously resided the United States for 7 years, and was not convicted of an aggravated felony.  While it sounds simple, these requirements are chock-full of exceptions and nuances.  That is why it is important to consult with an experienced Dallas immigration attorney before making any important decisions.

Another form of relief that may be available is called a Section 212(h) waiver.  It can waive several types of criminal grounds of inadmissibility by proving extreme hardship to a qualifying relative.  Again, the requirements for this waiver are not straightforward, and applying for this waiver is best handled by a qualified immigration lawyer.

Where are they taking my relative?

Based on our Firm’s collective experience in deportation defense, persons arrested at DFW Airport are often shifted first to a temporary detention facility in Dallas, located at 8101 N. Stemmons Freeway.  From there, he may be moved to the Rolling Plains Detention Center in Haskell, Texas — if ICE concludes that further detention is needed.

Whether ICE will continue detaining someone is a matter discussed in further detail elsewhere.  Even if ICE decides to keep a person in immigration detention, a good attorney may be able to secure his release by getting an immigration bond, or by a few other means.

An immigration attorney serving the right of people detained at DFW Airport

Our Firm understands the shock of the situation.  Whether your relative was returning from a vacation or a family visit — nobody expected that he or she would have to undergo such a traumatic experience.  Nobody expected that your relative would be treated like a criminal upon return to a place he or she considers home.

Our Firm is committed to trying our best to get your relative out of immigration detention, and to keep him or her in the United States.  Call us at 855-278-2943 for a free consultation.