Deportation is the process of removing a non-citizen from the United States, typically to their home country. The government can deport a person for many reasons, including immigration violations, crimes of moral turpitude, and serious felonies. It can also deport a person because they are at risk of persecution or death in their home country. People who are deported cannot return to the United States for several years or at all, if they ever do. For many immigrants, especially those who have children in the United States, being deported can be a terrifying prospect.
In the past, most people facing deportation in the U.S. were given a chance to go before an immigration judge and make their case for why they should stay. But in 1996, Congress revoked that right for tens of thousands of individuals by expanding forms of “summary removal,” which allow life-or-death decisions to be made without the benefit of a hearing or judicial oversight. In 2013, more than eighty per cent of all deportations were conducted without a hearing.
Most deportations are based on immigration violations, but some can be based on criminal convictions and other factors. Immigrants who have committed aggravated felonies or crimes of moral turpitude are at particular risk of being deported. Other deportable offenses include fraud, embezzlement, domestic violence, and crimes involving drugs or firearms.
There are two types of deportation: expedited removal and regular removal. Under expedited removal, an immigration official can order your removal without a judge’s approval. Then, the process of arranging your return to your home country speeds up. Regular removal involves a series of steps overseen by an immigration judge, including an initial Master Calendar Hearing where the judge advises you of the official charges against you and your right to counsel.
After the Master Calendar Hearing, you will be scheduled for an Individual Hearing (sometimes called a merits hearing or a trial). At this hearing, you can present testimony and evidence to prove why you should be allowed to remain in the United States. If the judge finds that you should be removed from the country, they will enter a removal order. If they don’t, they may grant you relief or reopen your case for reconsideration.
If you lose your hearing, you can still appeal the decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals. The appeals process can take several months or more.
Once an immigration judge enters a removal order, it can be very difficult to reverse the decision. It is important to work with a skilled immigration attorney who knows how to challenge the government’s case and raise your chances of staying in the United States. A knowledgeable lawyer can help you navigate the complex and oftentimes confusing deportation process, allowing you to keep your family together and stay in the United States for many more years. Contact us today to speak with a compassionate and experienced attorney about your case. We will discuss your options for legal relief and fight to protect you against being deported!