What is Deportation?

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Deportation, also known as removal proceedings or administrative deportation, is the formal process by which an individual is sent back to their home country after a violating certain immigration laws. It is a civil process, not a criminal one and is overseen by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The United States has many different reasons for attempting to deport an individual. Some common causes include committing crimes, possessing drugs or weapons, being an undocumented immigrant, and smuggling. Deportation can have serious consequences for the person and their family. It can prevent future employment, impact educational opportunities, and cause difficulties in maintaining a relationship with family members. It can also force the individual to return to a violent, unstable country where they might be at risk of kidnapping, rape, or murder.

A deportation proceeding begins with an immigration judge and consists of several hearings that can affect an individual’s case. The first is a master calendar hearing or initial hearing, where DHS must demonstrate that the individual is deportable. An individual may have legal representation at this time at their own expense.

During this hearing, the immigration judge will hear from both sides and make a decision as to how the case should proceed. This could include determining eligibility for bond, or even setting the amount of the bond. ICE will present a government lawyer and argue why the individual should not be permitted to remain in the country, or that they pose a danger or flight risk. Individuals will also have the opportunity to present evidence and testimony as to why they should not be removed from the country.

Once the immigration judge has made their determination, they will set the date for the individual’s next hearing. The next hearing is an individual hearing where the immigration judge will review all of the evidence and testimony presented by both parties. Individuals will have the opportunity to present documents such as affidavits or letters from family members about why they should be allowed to remain in the country and why they should be granted discretionary cancellation of removal. They will have to prove that they have lived a good life in the United States for at least 10 years, that they have not committed any of the types of criminal convictions listed in the immigration law as grounds for deportation, and that their removal would be an exceptional hardship on U.S. citizen or permanent resident parents, children, or spouses.

Those who are in removal proceedings should work with a skilled and experienced immigration attorney to help protect their rights and prevent deportation. A DC deportation attorney can provide assistance with any type of case and help to prepare and submit any applications for relief from removal to the immigration judge. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you.