Facing Bankruptcy? Contact Walker & Walker Today!
In today’s tumultuous society, many undocumented immigrants are fearful of deportation.
Many have built lives and raised families in the United States.
Obviously, they want to do all they can to keep their families safe and secure.
If you are an undocumented immigrant, and are in serious debt, what would a bankruptcy filing mean for you and your family?
Would it lead to an arrest and deportation? What should you know about filing bankruptcy and the threat of deportation?
Factors to Consider
The short answer to the question: “Will I get deported if I file bankruptcy?” is No, unless you have been doing seriously fraudulent things.
Walker & Walker has filed many bankruptcies for immigrants, and even for people who are only in the US temporarily, or maybe who have left and come back. Not one of them has ever had trouble with ICE or their immigration status because of it. After all, you don’t need to be a US citizen to file bankruptcy in the US.
Perhaps that is not the reassuring answer you wanted to hear, but there are several factors to consider when you are thinking of filing for bankruptcy as an undocumented immigrant.
- You do not need to have legal residential status in the United States to file for bankruptcy. Generally speaking, anyone who owns property, or has a permanent residence or business in the United States, is eligible to file for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
- In order to file for bankruptcy, you will need to have a valid form of identification to show to the court. Basically, you will need to have either a Social Security Number, or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN for short). ITINs are provided by the IRS without regard to immigration status. For the ID requirement a passport or Mexican Consular ID is sufficient.
- It is important to recognize that if you file for bankruptcy, that becomes a matter of public record. The bankruptcy court and the IRS have no jurisdiction over the deportation of undocumented immigrants. Generally speaking, they also have little interest in such matters. However, putting any aspect of your life on public record for everyone to see can attract unwanted attention. One place where this can cause trouble is if you are sponsoring someone for a visa, but your bankruptcy paperwork shows that you have no income or assets to support them.
It is wise to consult with an attorney experienced in immigration issues before proceeding further.
Who Does ICE Target?
Perhaps you may be wondering if the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (or ICE) will be more likely to target you as a result of filing for bankruptcy in open court.
Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer as to how ICE selects targets for deportation.
ICE agents have wide discretionary powers when it comes to deportation cases.
For example, ICE agents usually avoid making arrests in “sensitive areas” such as schools, places of worship, and hospitals.
Recently, the agency has stated that it would place limits on arrests in courthouses as well.
However, such limits are self-imposed, and not prescribed by law. In fact, many immigration arrests take place nearby such “sensitive areas.”
Generally speaking, ICE agents are more inclined to work with immigrants who are in the process of seeking legalization.
However, many have noted the apparent arbitrariness and inconsistency of the agency’s procedures.
What is absolutely certain is that the agency has really cracked down on undocumented immigration in the past couple of years. By the end of the 2017 fiscal year, for instance, the number of arrests from ICE agents had increased 42% from the prior year.
Seek Experienced Help From A Twin Cities Bankruptcy Lawyer
If you are an undocumented immigrant, no doubt such information concerns you greatly.
If you are in a position where you may need to file for bankruptcy, you want to seek help from those with experience and expertise in such matters.
Contact Walker and Walker Law Offices today for a free evaluation of your case. We can help you determine what is in the best interests of you and your family.
Don’t make a decision without thinking it through. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Reach out to us today.