The Process of Deportation

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When a non-citizen is deported from the United States, it changes their lives. It takes them away from family members and a home they may have built up here for years. It may also make it difficult for them to return, even if they want to. There are many factors that go into whether someone can get back into the country after being deported. Each situation is different and is decided on a case-by-case basis by immigration officials.

The Process of Deportation

Before someone can be deported, they must first be placed into removal proceedings. These are a series of actions overseen by an immigration judge that can — and often do — result in the person being ordered to leave the United States. This can happen at the border, after being arrested inside the country, as a result of a denied asylum claim or other immigration-related matter and more.

To be placed into removal proceedings, the government must formally accuse the non-citizen of being removable. There are several reasons they could be inadmissible, including having no valid documentation, violating the terms of their status, committing certain criminal offenses and more. Once the person is placed into removal proceedings, they are detained at a federal immigration facility and their case is registered with an Immigration Court.

Throughout this process, they will have one or more hearings where the judge decides how their case will proceed. They will have the opportunity to present evidence in their favor such as affidavits from friends and family, and they can also argue that it would cause extreme hardship to their lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen spouse, child or parent if they were deported back to their country of origin.

Once the judge finds that the deportation is appropriate, they will order that the individual be removed from the United States. Depending on where the individual is being sent, they may be released from custody and given a date to return to their home country. They may have to wait years before being able to reapply for a visa or green card and come back into the country.

The person will then be flown to their native country, either directly to their home country or through a stop in Mexico or Central America. ICE Air Operations handles these flights. The cost is covered by the government. Individuals being returned to Mexico will either walk or be bused to the border, while those being deported to Central American countries are flown direct to their respective cities.

In order to reenter the country, the individual must meet the following criteria: Have not committed any crimes (this includes misdemeanors) and have no felony convictions. Have a sponsor in their home country who will support them financially if they are deported and can provide proof of this financial support (like tax returns and pay stubs). Have ties to the community, such as a job and family, that are sufficient to prove good moral character and their intent to remain.