The Dream Act Starts with You


Voluntary departure is defeat

In November, my two year long battle with deportation proceedings was nearing an end. At the end there are always two options:

Voluntary departure: You will have 60 days to leave the country on your own with no right to “change your mind” or appeal. Failure to depart by the end of that period would result in a fine and a 10-year ban from adjusting your status or applying for cancellation of removal. Choosing voluntary departure would prevent you from asking for any kind of temporary relief, including deferred action.

Voluntary departure is one of the reasons why you should be very careful signing anything given to you by ICE or Border Patrol. They might coerce you into voluntary departure by describing it as an easy way out of jail, which it is. Unfortunately, it is also designed to waive your right to a hearing and with it any chance of staying in the United States.

Order of deportation: The judge will order ICE to take steps to deport you. ICE will arrange your flight out and send your lawyer a letter stating when and where to report for removal. However, you still get the option to appeal the case within 30 days of the order. At the end of 30 days you can submit a request for an order of supervision (deferred action), which is your last line of defense before being deported.

Before going to my final hearing, my lawyer and I determined that my last line of defense was, in fact, deferred action. Opting for voluntary departure meant throwing in the towel and accepting defeat. Receiving an order of deportation meant fighting another battle for the right to stay with my family and friends. Armed with this information I got ready for my last time to face the judge.

Click here for the next part of my story.