People have a common conception of deportation/removal of what happens when an individual is removed from the United States by federal immigration authorities. “Deportation” is the same as “removal”. However, the proper legal term is “removal.” In this article, we will use the term, “removal.”


What Causes Removal?

Removal can be the result of a variety of circumstances under which an individual can be forced to depart from the US by immigration authorities. They can range from being caught by officers while attempting to cross the border into the United States and being immediately returned, to being detained as an alien and returned under these circumstances, to being ordered to depart once an immigration court case has been denied, even after multiple appeals in some cases. If you or a loved one are facing removal, it is recommended that you contact a licensed immigration lawyer. An immigration lawyer can analyze your case and determine whether you have any options for removal defense. To learn about different ways to legally defend against removal, read our page on:

Which Government Agencies Enforce Removal and Deportation?

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the agency at the forefront when it comes to handling enforcement of immigration laws. Everyday matters for immigrants, such as processing of applications, which occasionally turns into removal proceedings for alien are handled by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS. The Executive Office for Immigration Review, or EOIR, manages immigration court proceedings, in which people who are not citizens can defend themselves and establish that they have the right to stay in the country rather than be removed.

Who Can Immigration Authorities Remove?

For most people, the idea of immigrants getting deported conjures up images of undocumented immigrants, also known as illegal aliens. These terms refer primarily to individuals who crossed the border into the country illegally, as well as individuals who had temporary, or nonimmigrant, visas, and stayed longer than they were permitted. There are many illegal aliens that come into the US every year who are removed. However, these are not the only aliens who can face removal/deportation.

Any immigrant who fails to abide by the terms of stay can be deported. This could include tourists who accept jobs when they are not allowed to do so, or individuals on student visa who do not pursue full time study. It is important to remember that the terms of stay vary depending on the situation. If you are facing removal, it is recommended that you speak with an immigration lawyer to ensure that you are facing removal for a valid reason.

Additionally, immigrants who have not yet become citizens, including permanent residents, or holders of “green cards,” can potentially be removed if they do something within the grounds of deportability according to immigration law.

What Are the Grounds of Deportability?

Section 237 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (I.N.A.) details the grounds of deportability. Non-citizens can be deported if they do any of the following:

  • Commit an aggravated felony, crime of moral turpitude, domestic violence, or similar crime within five years of receiving a green card or being admitted to the country, if the prison sentence is a minimum of a year.
  • Two crimes of moral turpitude could make an individual deportable if they are both done within 5 years of receiving a green card or being admitted to the country, and they are not both part of the same scheme of criminal misconduct.
  • Neglect to inform USCIS of a change of address within 10 days of the move.
  • Commit marriage fraud.
  • Help smuggle other aliens into the country.
  • buse drugs or are convicted of a drug-related violations more severe than one single events that involves possession of 30 grams or less of cannabis.
  • Commit document fraud.
  • Claim U.S. citizenship falsely.

This is only a quick overview, and you should not depend on this list for your own case. It is crucial that you speak with an experienced United States immigration lawyer if you have been charged with any of the items above. Also, keep in mind that despite the gravity of facing deportation, some of these grounds can be waived in certain circumstances. To learn more about crimes that can result in removal, read our article, Criminal Charges That Can Result in Removal.

What Are My Rights If I Am Facing Removal?

Non-citizens have rights to attorneys, as well as other rights stated in the Constitution. An individual cannot be deported without the opportunity to state his or her case.

Authorities will often try to expedite the process and ask immigrants to sign documents agreeing to leave without a hearing. There are cases where immigrants are in the country illegally with no defense, and in these cases, voluntarily departing the country could be a reasonable choice, in order to avoid having deportation on one’s record.

However, anyone who believes in his or her right to remain in the country should demand the right to an attorney as well as a hearing, although they will have to pay for the services themselves.

Rights and Refusals

A non-citizen who has not yet entered the country will not be entitled to the same rights, and they can be forced into expedited removal. Essentially, this individual can be refused entry unless a legitimate fear of persecution in the home country can be proven. In this case, immigration officials must allow the individual to present an asylum claim. To learn more about persecution and credible fear, review our article:

  • Demonstrating “Credible Fear” in Asylum Cases.

Immigration court proceedings are not always as formal as non-immigration related hearings, and typical rules of evidence are not always applicable. An attorney will be representing USCIS, and the attorneys and judge can question the immigrant. Both the defending and prosecuting attorneys will be able to enlist witnesses to testify.

Asylum Hearings

An asylum hearing will go on as long as necessary in order for all the evidence to be presented and heard. The judge can give a ruling at the end of the hearing, or afterwards. If it is negative, an order of removal will be issued. This will be final when the individual has foregone time for appeal. Appeals can be made first to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), then through the federal court system. If you are interested in knowing more about asylum eligibility requirements, read our web page.

  • Asylum Eligibility and Requirements

We Are Ready to Help You!

Removal or deportation is a very serious matter. There are numerous situations that can result in removal, and defending against a removal order can be very complicated. It is not wise to proceed with a court case without being represented by an immigration lawyer. Call KPPB Law or send us a message online to learn more. We provide in-person or phone consultations that can help you decide how to proceed with your removal case.

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