In 2012, 409,849 individuals were removed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The threat of being removed from the country isn't negligible for anyone who isn't a U.S. citizen, even for people who holds a green card. All it takes is one violation for the removal process to be initiated.
What measures can you take to reduce the risk of removal?
One of the most important preventative measures is to avoid a conviction for any crime, including misdemeanors. Convictions don't include only those delivered by a jury at the conclusion of a trial. Pleading no contest or pleading guilty may also count against you. If you're ever in a position where you're facing criminal prosecution, contact an immigration attorney in addition to a defense attorney. A defense attorney may push you to plead guilty to a less serious charge or accept other penalties; however, doing so will increase your risk for removal. To achieve the best possible outcome for your case, you'll need to consult a lawyer who is experienced with immigration law.
Another way to avoid removal is to always be honest about your immigration status. For instance, you may be tempted to make a false claim of citizenship in order to secure certain work and look more attractive to employers, but submitting a false claim puts you at a high risk for removal. Always be honest, especially on any official documents.
To remain in the U.S., you must also avoid violations related to your green card or visa. Renew your visa status in a timely manner, and fill out all forms accurately. Make sure you're in compliance with requirements laid out by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), including immediately reporting any changes of address to them.
Immigration laws are complex. If you have even the slightest doubt as to how to proceed in a given situation, call on an expert lawyer to advise you on how to avoid removal altogether or help you deal with the removal process if it's already been initiated against you.