What is Deportation?

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Deportation, also known as removal, is the process of sending a non-citizen back to his or her country of origin. This can occur for a number of reasons. Often people are removed because they violated immigration law or committed a crime such as fraud, embezzlement, rape, murder, certain drug offenses and more. In addition, certain misdemeanors such as drunk driving and domestic violence can result in deportation as well.

For immigrants, deportation can be a life-altering event and is often accompanied by severe financial and emotional hardships. It can also lead to separation from family and friends. In some cases, it can even mean death.

Throughout the United States, as well as around the world, millions of people have been or are in danger of being deported. Unlike criminals, who may be sentenced to prison or a fine, most people are not tracked or kept accountable after being deported and the fate of many is unknown. For this reason, it is important that everyone understand what deportation means.

In most cases, immigration authorities will not deport someone without first putting them through a lengthy removal or deportation proceeding. During removal proceedings, an Immigration Judge will listen to evidence and testimony from witnesses and decide whether or not you should be deported. The Immigration Judge can order your deportation, but you have a right to appeal the judge’s decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals. Alternatively, the judge can reopen your case for a hearing if there has been an error in the law or you have new facts that could impact your deportability.

Before a person is deported, they will receive what is called a Notice to Appear. This document will list the alleged grounds for deportation and tell you when and where to appear before an Immigration Judge. It is important that you attend your hearing date or you will be automatically deported. During the hearing, you will have an opportunity to present evidence and arguments about why you should remain in the United States.

The most common reason for deportation is that a person did not have legal status in the United States to begin with, whether they entered illegally or overstayed their visa. Other common reasons include being convicted of a crime such as rape or murder, having a serious mental illness, and engaging in activity that harms national security or public safety.