Deportation, more formally referred to as “Removal,” is when the United States government forcefully makes a non-citizen leave the country. The government may attempt to remove a non-citizen from the United States due to an alleged violation of immigration or criminal law. Removal is a serious matter, as a person who is Removed may be forever prevented from re-entering the United States.
The good news for those facing Removal is that they have legal rights. Having the right lawyer during the Removal process is vital to protecting a non-citizen’s rights and interests. It is also important for those facing other legal matters (such as criminal charges) to have an attorney who understands the immigration consequences of any plea deal or conviction in that case. That is why, as an attorney who deals extensively with criminal defense matters, I always take my clients’ immigration status into consideration when handing their criminal cases.
Who can be Removed (Deported)
A non-citizen of the United States may be Removed for any of the following reasons:
- They are an inadmissible alien at the time they entered the USA, or at the time that their immigration status changed;
- Their presence in the USA is a violation of any US law;
- They violated non-immigrant status;
- They violated a condition of entry into the U.S.;
- They ended a conditional permanent residence;
- They encouraged or helped someone else to illegally enter the USA;
- They married a US citizen just to stay in the USA, without really intending the marriage to be a real marriage;
- They were convicted of certain crimes;
- They failed to register upon entering the USA;
- They falsified or forged documents;
- They voted without the proper permission;
- They endangered public safety;
- They endangered national security;
The Removal (Deportation) Process in a Nutshell
- A Notice to Appear (NTA) is issued by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency and given to the court and the non-citizen. This NTA will describe the person to whom it is issued, and the alleged reason(s) for which the person may be deported.
- The court will schedule a hearing to determine whether to deport the non-citizen.
- The hearing is held to determine if the non-citizen will be deported. If the judge determines that the non-citizen has committed the deportable acts alleged in the NTA, the non-citizen is given the chance to apply for relief from deportation. If the individual is eligible for relief from deportation, an individual hearing date is scheduled, at which time evidence is heard by the judge. If the individual is not eligible for some form of relief, the judge will order him or her to be deported.
- The decision can be appealed in a variety of courts, all the way up to the United States Supreme Court.
Those individuals facing deportation are well advised to seek an attorney who can help them navigate this complex legal area. Improperly handling a removal proceeding can lead to an individual being forever barred from the United States.