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Can I Still Be Deported in the Midst of COVID-19?Since COVID-19 hit the U.S. in early March, normal life in America has essentially been put on hold, at least in some aspects. Restaurants have adjusted their means of service, employees have been told to work remotely for the time being, and travel has been restricted and highly discouraged. Despite these societal implications, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is still in full action.

In order to address the high global contagion of COVID-19, the Trump administration has halted international students moving to the U.S. and enrolling in American universities in the coming school year. This is hardly the only area of immigration or international travel being affected in the U.S., and deportation is a harsh reality for many immigrants and foreigners seeking asylum in the U.S.

Coronavirus Outbreaks in Detention Centers

The novel coronavirus manifests through close contact and the transfer of respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, or talking. For this reason, Americans have been mandated to wear masks in public places or when around those who are outside of their immediate family. With some of the highest case numbers in the world, it is no surprise that U.S. immigration detention centers are seeing their fair share of outbreaks. Asylum seekers from a Texas detention center noted that detainees were not given masks or gloves and were kept in close quarters. As of June 1, over 1,406 detainees had tested positive for COVID-19 – this number now sits at 3,917 confirmed cases.

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Harris County, TX deportation defense attorney

Getting deported is every immigrant’s biggest fear. Whether you just arrived in the United States or have built a life here, you run the risk of being sent back to your country of origin if you are found to be in violation of immigration laws. The deportation process is scary for any undocumented immigrant, but it is important to understand the steps followed during this process and your rights when facing potential deportation.

The Deportation Process Explained

The deportation process can begin with an arrest by state or local law enforcement officers. When criminal charges are filed, an individual’s fingerprints are sent to the Texas Department of Public Safety, which are then passed on to the FBI. If these fingerprints match federal immigration records at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the person can be detained in the local jail for up to 48 hours before being released to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE may also begin deportation proceedings against a person on its own by sending a person a Notice to Appear for a removal hearing. Deportation will typically involve the following steps:

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