What Is Deportation?

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Deportation is the removal, or expulsion, from a country by government authorities of an alien who has been deemed to have no right to stay. The word derives from Latin, where it originally meant banishment to a foreign country, usually an island. In the modern era, deportation is the process of expelling noncitizens from the United States for a variety of reasons including criminal activity, violations of immigration law, and national security concerns. Once deported, they can’t return to the United States for several years or forever – even if they have family here. Deportation has a profound impact on the lives of individuals and families, especially when children are affected. This article examines the current definition of deportation, the process of deportation, and the ramifications of being deported.

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) defines deportation as an order from a federal court to return a person to their country of origin. A judge can issue such an order if the individual is found to be inadmissible or removable under the INA, or if they have committed a crime that renders them ineligible to remain in the United States.

Noncitizens can become deportable for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common reasons include illegal entry or re-entry, crimes involving moral turpitude, and false claims to U.S. citizenship. Additionally, the government can deport a noncitizen if they have been convicted of certain criminal activities including homicide, domestic violence, drug trafficking, and crimes against public safety.

When the government initiates removal proceedings, an immigrant must appear before an immigration judge at an Immigration Court in order to be able to argue his or her case. Immigrants may be detained during the proceedings or released on bond if they meet certain requirements. In either situation, an experienced immigration attorney can help defend the person against being removed from the country.

During the hearing, a judge will evaluate whether an immigrant poses a security and safety risk to the community and determine if they should be granted a bond or released on their own recognizance. The judge will also schedule a date for an order of removal to be issued, which is generally within two or four months. During this time, the person is required to report periodically to a DHS officer at a pre-designated location or face being re-arrested and deported.

After a decision is made by the Immigration Judge, an individual can choose to appeal the ruling or accept it as final. In order to appeal, the individual must submit a request to the Board of Immigration Appeals by the deadline set by the immigration judge. Filing an appeal generally stays the deportation order so long as it is filed in time.

Once the appeals process is complete, an Immigration Judge will reopen the removal proceeding and make a new decision. The timing for the person’s physical deportation will depend on the country of their origin and any factors that may be considered such as whether they have any relatives there, if they have maintained good moral character throughout the proceedings, or if they can prove that their deportation would cause extreme hardship to their lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen spouse, parent, or child.