Deportation is the expulsion of a non-citizen from a country by order of a government. The process is often complicated and lengthy. It changes the lives of not only the person being deported, but their family and community as well. Deportation breaks up families, and it is a difficult and stressful experience for everyone involved.
People are deported on a variety of grounds. They may be in removal proceedings because Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) formally accused them of being removable or they violated the terms of their visa, visa extension or other status. People who are in removal proceedings are usually placed into deportation detention while they wait for their hearing date.
The first step in a deportation case is the Master Calendar Hearing. At this hearing, the immigration judge advises you of the official charges against you and you have an opportunity to tell your side of the story. The judge will also decide if you are eligible for relief from removal or deportation.
It is important to be at every Master Calendar Hearing. If you do not attend all the hearings, your lawyer may not have the chance to present any evidence that might prevent your deportation.
In some cases, the ICE attorney will argue that you should be removed and the judge will agree. However, in some cases the judge might not agree with the ICE attorney’s arguments and will not enter an order of removal.
If the judge decides that you should be removed, he or she will set a date for your departure. If you believe that your removal would cause extreme hardship to your family members who are citizens of the United States or lawful permanent residents, ask your attorney to apply for voluntary departure. You must show that you have enough money to buy your ticket home and that you can prove that you are not a threat to the safety of your country of origin.
Alternatively, you can get your deportation case expedited and avoid the need for a Master Calendar hearing. This is usually done for people who have committed serious crimes. It is important to note that this type of deportation does not protect you from criminal convictions in the future.
Another way to be deported is to be convicted of certain crimes in federal court. Then, the judge can simply order you to be removed in what is called a judicial removal proceeding. If you have a criminal record, it is important to talk to your attorney about your options. A skilled and experienced lawyer can help you avoid deportation and stay with your loved ones.