The United States government retains the right to decide if and when a person who is not a citizen may remain in the country. If the government claims that you have entered the country illegally, that you have overstayed your visa or that you have violated laws within the country, you could face deportation.

The government will likely begin removal proceedings against you. Keep in mind, though, that you have a right to an attorney and to fight back against the deportation. Before you can be deported, the government has to prove that deportation is a necessity in your case. You get an opportunity to argue to stay.

What should you do if you’re given a Notice to Appear from the Department of Homeland Security?

If you are given a Notice to Appear, it’s a good idea to get in touch with your immigration attorney. The notice gives you a lot of important information that you can review with your attorney, such as the reason for the proceedings, why the proceedings are being brought against you and which violations you’re accused of.

There will also be important information on what happens if you do not appear in court upon request and how you can seek relief from removal in some instances.

What should you do if you want to stay in the United States despite violating laws or visa deadlines?

In many cases, people go through the hearings as required. They may admit that they are removable due to their actions. However, at that point, they can apply for several different types of relief. Some include an adjustment of your status, asylum or protection through the Convention Against Torture.

When you appear in court, it is the immigration judge’s job to let you know if you qualify for any type of relief, but it’s still wise to talk to your attorney about your options in advance. You should also make a request to hear the options you have in court while on the record, so the judge knows that you are aware of your rights.

There are ways to protect your right to stay in the United States, even if you’re here illegally and get caught by the authorities. Immigrants are a vital part of the U.S. economy, and there are certain paths you can take to retain a legal status in the country regardless of how you got here.