Posted on: 26 June 2017
Given the current political climate in the United States, being an illegal immigrant is scary; however, your fate isn't decided by any political party or agenda; it's ultimately up to you. Whatever circumstances brought you to America, you need to do everything within your power to defend your right to the process that will keep you here. Here are three important ways to accomplish that.
1. Find An Immigration Attorney Right Away
Perhaps the single most important thing you can do to avoid deportation is to contact an immigration lawyer. You should understand your immigration status, what that means to you in daily life, and how to work to change that status. An immigration attorney will start the paperwork and keep you informed of any changes and what your obligations are to meet them. Especially since the United States legal system can be so complicated and stubborn if you aren't in full compliance, you need practical legal advice to protect yourself.
While you're there, be sure and ask your lawyer what the best way to go about getting a job is. Depending on your status, there may be special exclusions to prohibitive laws that allow you to seek employment, but you must follow the letter of the law exactly. While being an illegal immigrant does make the job search more challenging, you obviously need a means of supporting yourself, and a lawyer is the best person to help you find a way to do that with the least amount of risk or backlash.
2. Start Living Like You Belong Here
Nobody wants to feel like they have to hide from the world, and you really shouldn't have to live that way, either. As you're waiting on the legal system to process you, you should begin making an effort to adapt to your new environment. While this doesn't mean giving up your old way of life or letting go of the traditions and beliefs you hold fast to, it does mean making some minor adjustments that will help you out in the long-run:
- Make friends in your neighborhood and at local civic organizations, where you can learn more about your community, and get help from the community while possibly giving a hand, too, if possible.
- Watch a lot of American media, as it will help you acclimate to the culture and learn more about the language.
- As soon as you are able, get a checkup and see if you should have any shots or immunizations. You should be eligible for some form of healthcare.
- Have a way to relieve the stress you're under, such as through exercise. The world can seem very hostile when you're a stranger trying to find your way, and relieving stress helps you to keep your focus, maintain a good attitude, and protect your health, too.
- Be prepared for resistance from some locals, officials and other people you may encounter. While most people aren't going to go out of their way to cause you trouble, a few may resent your presence, feel threatened by it, or otherwise be uncomfortable, and you need to be prepared to deal with these unfortunate attitudes.
3. Lead An Exemplary Life
Naturally, you want to avoid getting into any kind of legal trouble while your immigration status is being process, as any trouble can easily get you deported back to your home country; however, there are other reasons to be on your best behavior, such as meeting the eligibility requirements of Naturalization. During the Naturalization process, your actual moral conduct will come into question, and if you've had run-ins with local law enforcement or otherwise demonstrated a lack of ability to get along in American society, you may not be as likely to become a naturalized citizen.
Additionally, being an asset to your local community will mean you have people who will speak up on your behalf throughout the entire process of you becoming a legal citizen; there will be people eager to help you adjust and do well in your new town, and all of that can go a long way in creating an environment you really want to live in.
While being considered an "illegal" person may not be the ideal way to live, it's a temporary label. With time, persistence, and the right immigration attorney, you can change your status and thereafter avail yourself of all the country has to offer, for the rest of your life.Share