Relief From Deportation

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Deportation is the removal of a person or group from a country or territory. The process of being deported starts when the government formally accuses an individual of violating the immigration law. If the government does this, a hearing is held before an immigration judge where individuals have an opportunity to present evidence and argue against their deportation. If the judge finds that an individual should be removed from the United States, they will issue a deportation order. Several types of relief are available to stop or avoid deportation.

There are many possible ways to end up in deportation proceedings, depending on how someone comes to the attention of the Department of Homeland Security, or ICE, or how they are arrested and placed into custody. A few examples of how a person can end up in deportation proceedings include coming to the attention of the government without proper documentation, entering the country illegally or misrepresenting material facts on an application for U.S. admission, or committing certain crimes.

If a person is in removal proceedings, they will be given a series of hearings before an immigration judge. At the first hearing, called a master calendar hearing, the judge advises the individual of their official charges and they have an opportunity to admit or deny them. The judge also schedules the next hearing, which is an individual hearing. At this hearing, which is more like a mini-trial, the noncitizen has an opportunity to present evidence and argument against deportation. If the judge finds that a noncitizen should be removed from the United States, they may enter a removal order on the spot or at the end of the individual hearing.

Some people who are in deportation proceedings have the option to leave the United States voluntarily, at their own expense. If you have family members who are citizens of the United States, or lawful permanent residents, and who would suffer extreme hardship if you were to be removed from the country, then you may be able to qualify for this relief. To do this, you must submit official certification of your relationship to those persons along with affidavits from them corroborating the information.

Other forms of relief include cancelling your deportation if you have been a lawful permanent resident for at least 10 years, or if you have a good moral character and have not engaged in a serious crime, such as murder, rape, drug trafficking, burglary, fraud, money laundering or other offenses related to the finance and business of criminal activity. You must be able to prove that you are of good moral character with proof such as birth certificates, school transcripts and letters from friends or family. Finally, some people who are deportable because they have a credible fear of persecution in their home countries can apply for asylum.

Depending on the outcome of your case, you can appeal the ruling to the Board of Immigration Appeals or directly to a federal court. In addition, the judge who ruled in your case can reopen your case if there was an error of law or you have new information that affects your case.