What is Deportation?

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Deportation (also known as removal) is the process of sending a foreign national back to their home country after they have violated specific laws and policies. The Department of Homeland Security oversees the deportation process, which involves a series of court hearings and decisions. If you are facing deportation, it is important to consult with an experienced immigration attorney as soon as possible.

Generally, the government must prove that you are removable from the United States through clear and convincing evidence. However, there are a number of exceptions to this rule. For example, if you have been a lawful permanent resident for 10 years or more and have consistently shown good moral character during that time, you can avoid deportation even if you have committed certain crimes.

The deportation process starts when ICE serves you with a notice called a Notice to Appear in your case. This notice contains instructions on when and where you should appear in court for your first hearing.

This initial hearing is a procedural meeting with an immigration judge. During this hearing, the judge decides when to hold an evidentiary hearing and what legal claims you can raise to stay in the country.

At the next hearing, a federal immigration judge will hear the facts of your case and examine whether you are eligible to remain in the country. If you are not eligible to remain in the country, the judge will order your deportation.

If you are in the United States without proper documentation, you may be subject to deportation under a system created by DHS known as “expedited removal.” Under this procedure, noncitizens who are apprehended by local law enforcement agencies can be placed into removal proceedings and ordered removed without a judge’s involvement, unless they can show that they will face persecution in their home country or want to seek asylum.

Individuals who are incarcerated or otherwise not free to leave the country will be detained by ICE until they have their removal hearings. Those who are free to leave will usually receive a Notice to Appear from ICE telling them to report to a specified ICE facility at a certain time and date. If you are free to leave, you can prepare for the hearing by gathering documents such as affidavits from people who can testify that you have a strong moral character and did not commit any crimes. If you lose your case in deportation court, you can appeal the decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals. However, this is a complicated process that requires the assistance of an experienced attorney. Ultimately, if you are ordered removed from the United States, you will be physically removed by ICE once all appeals have been exhausted or your deportation is imminent.