6. CO-WORKER CALLED ICE ON YOU
Not only co-workers report undocument aliens to U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE). It could be a friend (who is not really friendly), or a family member (a mother-in-law who was "dissed"), a neighbor (who cannot stand your loud music), or a boyfriend or girlfriend (who got a demotion to "ex"). What happens then?
Fortunately, ICE is in no rush to act on such tips, for two reasons: One - ICE has its own priorities who to pursue. Mainly, criminals and people who pose a risk to the community. Two - ICE does not like to be used as a tool in private disputes. But sooner or later ICE may show up on your doorstep. No need to panic about that, because: (a) In most cases ICE cannot grab you and deport you. Only an Immigration Judge can order your removal/deportation (unless you entered the U.S. under the Visa Wavier Program), and (b) In most cases ICE is not interested in keeping you in detention until your case in Immigration Court is concluded.
In most cases, ICE would either request that you accompany them to their nearest Field Office for a write-up, or just give you a note to appear on your own at their Field Office for this write up. In most cases, what ICE wants is to set up the necessary paper-work so that a Notice To Appear (NTA) in Immigration Court can be issued to you. (To read more about Immigration Court - Click here).
If you did not do it until that moment, this is the time to consult with an experienced Immigration lawyer. This is important - because the Immigration Court is very, very important. If you appear as scheduled, you still have a chance to legalize your stay in the U.S. or, at least, to "buy time" to stay here long enough until - hopefully - some positive changes take place in your favor. But if you do not appear in Immigration Court as required, the Immigration Judge may order your removal/deportation in your absence ("in absentia"). It is almost impossible to cancel such an order.
What if you are one who does not fit the "in most cases" situation? If ICE does have grounds to grab you and to keep you in detention? Even then a consultation with an experienced lawyer may conclude with a chance to be released on a bond and to stay in the U.S. You never know what changes in law or fact took place since you last encounter with the government.
To sum it up: If you are turned in to ICE, and if a Notice To Appear (NTA) in Immigration Court is issued for you - you should not panic, but you certainly should not neglect this problem.