Where are Immigrants Most at Risk?

1. After leaving the country and trying to re-enter: At an airport, seaport, or at the border, immigration agents may detain a non-citizen if they have an old conviction (even a misdemeanor), false papers, no status or a deportation order. If you have ANY kind of criminal conviction, including a CWOF ("Continued Without a Finding") in Massachusetts, speak to an attorney with experience in crime-related deportation before leaving the country.

2. When applying for citizenship or adjustment of status: Many people put themselves at risk of deportation when they attempt to adjust their status by applying for citizenship or a green card when they have old orders of deportation or past convictions. Undocumented people who apply for adjustment of status will be subject to deportation if their application is denied. If you have ANY criminal conviction, including a CWOF in Massachusetts (see above), speak to an attorney experienced in crime-related deportation before applying for adjustment of status or citizenship.

3. When stopped by the police: In Massachusetts, Governor Deval Patrick rescinded a Memorandum of Understanding with immigration authorities that would have trained and allowed State Police to arrest immigrants they deemed to be deportable. Although many local police departments are hesitant to enforce immigration laws, they may refer absconders, noncitizens "suspected of criminal activities" and anyone with an immigration warrant to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Officials may notify DHS even when they question a noncitizen.

4. After completing a criminal sentence (including probation) or being released from jail/prison: You may be sent to immigration after you complete jail time, probation, or a rehabilitation program. Undocumented immigrants and legal immigrants with a past conviction may be turned over to immigration even if they are acquitted of a crime.