The consequences of failing to leave the U.S. following a grant of voluntary departure are severe. If you don’t comply with a voluntary departure order, then the court’s order changes to a deportation order. This change to the order occurs automatically, without the immigration judge issuing a new order and without the individual ever appearing in court or before a judge. If you are subject to a removal order, then you cannot apply for adjustment of status, change of status, suspension of deportation, further voluntary departure, registry, and cancellation of removal for a period of ten years. You also can be subject to civil penalties if you fail to depart voluntarily within the appropriate timeframe. These penalties can range from $1,000 to $5,000. Imagine you were in immigration proceedings in 2010 and accepted voluntary departure. But imagine that you failed to depart because you met and fell in love with the husband or wife of your dreams! You decided to stay and to start a family with him or her. Now you have 5 children together. Your spouse is a US citizen and wants to file a green card for you. This will not be possible because of the bars! Moreover, if you are picked up, you will be subject to deportation, and you will not have the right to reopen your case or fight because you already have a deportation order against you. While accepting voluntary departure from the U.S. initially may sound better than being deported, the consequences, as described above, are very harsh if you fail to voluntarily depart as required. In effect, you can end up in a worse position if you fail to voluntarily depart than you were if you were simply deported. Seeking the assistance of an experienced California immigration attorney who can assist you in making decisions like these can be essential to your ability to remain in or eventually return to the U.S. At Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C., we are here to fight for your right to legally remain in the United States, but we are also here to help you consider all options that are available to you. Call us today at (510) 491-0291, meet with our deportation defense lawyers, and see what we can do for you.