Question and Answers
US IMMIGRATION NOTES - Atty. Marco F.G. Tomakin (The Freeman) - December 2, 2018 - 12:00am

Q1: I was arrested a month ago for a traffic violation. When the policeman asked for my license and registration, he also asked about my immigration status. I told him I am on a tourist visa. However, I did not tell him that I have long overstayed here in the US. Now I am afraid to go to my traffic court hearing scheduled next month.


A1: First of all, you are very lucky that the local police did not refer you to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement. There are other immigrants I know who were stopped for a simple traffic violation but ended up in deportation proceedings because the local police informed ICE agents. Do not miss your traffic court hearing. If you miss it, you will only be complicating your situation since a warrant for your arrest could be issued to you and ICE could be notified. Will the judge ask about your immigration status? Possibly. And if he knows you are undocumented, he may advise that whatever traffic violation you may have could impact your immigration status.

Q2: Maybe just judging by my Asian features, a guy asked me to give him $10. Since I did not have money at the time, I refused. The guy then started cursing and punching me in the head. He then ran away when some Good Samaritan intervened. I received six stitches in my head as a result. Now I am afraid to report to the police since I have an expired student visa.

A2: You should report to the police. You are a victim of a crime and as such you have the right to file charges against your perpetrator. Being undocumented does not strip you out from your right to seek redress and fight for justice. Since you are a victim of assault, you could be eligible for a US visa which may be helpful in attaining lawful status.

Q3: I came to the US in 2007 and overstayed. I transferred from one state to the other. I am now married to a US citizen. I only learned recently that an immigration judge issued an order of removal against me in 2012. I did not know that I had an immigration court hearing since I did not receive any notice from ICE. What should I do now?

A3: You may be eligible to file a motion to reopen your old case before the immigration court. You must have a valid reason to convince the court why you missed your hearings. And if granted, you have to inform the court that you are married to a US citizen so that your adjustment of status could be filed and processed.

This column is not a substitute for professional legal advice obtained from a US-licensed immigration attorney. The information contained herein does not constitute a warranty or guarantee or legal advice regarding a reader’s specific immigration case. No attorney-client relationship is and shall be established with any reader.

For any questions, comments and observations, please contact Atty. Marco Tomakin at

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