No Immigration Status? Make a Plan


No Immigration Status? Make a Plan

There is no way to know what actions the new administration will take concerning immigration after January 20, 2017. It is possible that many undocumented immigrants will be arrested and placed in immigration detention centers. If that happens to you, it will be important for you and your family to have back-up plans in place.


If you are undocumented (without immigration status in the US) you may want to take some of the following steps to protect yourself and your family in case you arrested by Immigration.

  1. If you are eligible to apply for any immigration status in the US, you should apply as soon as possible. For example, if you are married to a US citizen, and you entered the US with a visa, you may apply for a green card in the US. If this applies to you, and you file before you are arrested, you may be able to be released from immigration custody.
  1. Make sure someone you trust has your personal information, so that they can find out where you are being held and/or communicate with you if you are deported. This information includes;
  • Accurate spelling of your name, including your middle name and any other names used
  • Birthday
  • Social Security number (if any)
  • Address and other contact information outside the US, including the names of relatives or friends who may receive mail on your behalf
  • Other contact information for you such as an e-mail address, or the phone number of relatives or friends in the US
  • Copies of any notices you may have received from USCIS or the Immigration Court
    • These papers will contain your A number, if you have one. This will make it easier for your relatives to locate you. Not everyone has an A number.
  1. If you have children in the US, you will need to have a plan in place for their care.
  • Custody or Guardianship Plans
  • Designate someone to care for your children in an emergency
  • Consult a family law attorney about custody or guardianship in case you are detained
  • If no parent or relative is available to take custody or guardianship of your children, it is important to make sure that whoever cares for your children has the legal power to make decisions for them concerning medical care and education. The documents below may be important:
  • Power of attorney for health care and education for your children
  • Power of attorney for finances for your children
  1. Make a will, or update your will, so that your husband, wife or children will have a legal claim to your assets.
  1. Designate/Update beneficiaries on pension or retirement accounts and life insurance policies
  1. Beware of immigration scams. During a time of uncertainty, it is even more important to be on the lookout for immigration scams. Those who are at risk of getting arrested and deported are more likely to be targeted by scam artists who try to sell their phony services to those who have no options for staying in the US. They do this by:
  • Filing applications that include false information. It is very important that all the information included on an immigration application be truthful and accurate. If you file a form that includes false information, or for a benefit for which you are not eligible, it may make it impossible for you to file immigration applications later.
  • Providing fake documents, such as a fake green card, or a fake driver’s license. If you give false documents to an immigration officer, you may never be able to return to the US, even if you become eligible to apply for immigration status in the future.
  1. In most cases, if you entered the US without inspection at the border (you did not answer questions from an inspector) or you overstayed your period of admission (stamped in your passport) you will not be able to file an immigration application in the US. In some cases, you may be able to file an immigration application from your home country.
  1. To help you look at your immigration choices, or plan for future immigration to the US, we strongly recommend that you consult with an experienced immigration lawyer. If you want to schedule an appointment for a consultation with a lawyer from our office, click on contact us.


  • If it sounds too good to be true, it is probably not true.
  • Immigration officers do not call people on the phone asking for money.
  • You cannot “buy” a valid green card or social security card.
  • You must be eligible to apply for a green card, usually because you have a close relative or an employer who may file an application for you.
  • Do not be tricked by rumors and bad information.
  • Protect yourself and your children by planning for the future.