Deportation & Removal Law
Deportation, sometimes referred to as removal, is the process by which the federal government removes those who are in the country illegally from the United States. In some cases, this occurs when a serious criminal law is violated. While deportation can be a distressing process, there are often legal measures that can be taken to prevent or challenge a deportation decision.
The Deportation Process
When someone is caught living in the United States without the proper documentation or is found in violation of the terms of legal residency, the federal government often initiates removal proceedings. This can result in them a) being cleared and allowed to remain in the country, b) voluntarily leaving the country or c) being forced to leave. The removal process involves many steps, including a deportation hearing and an order of removal, depending on the outcome of the hearing.
The steps typically involved in a removal proceeding include the following:
- The person is served a Notice to Appear - This document informs of the grounds for removal, the nature of the proceeding, the consequences of failing to show up for the hearing and the immigrant's right to an attorney.
- Master calendar hearing - This is a preliminary hearing in which the judge will ask the immigrant to deny or admit to the charges that have been filed. The type of relief being sought by the immigrant will be established, and the date for the merits hearing will be set.
- Merits hearing - Any defenses will be presented during the merits hearing. The immigrant will also be examined by a DHS attorney, and the immigration judge will make a decision.
Expedited removal is a process initiated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to remove people who have entered the country without proper documentation or otherwise violated their terms of residence.
This type of deportation typically occurs for those who have crossed a border checkpoint or airport without documentation. The immigrants are interviewed by DHS officials, and if it is believed that the attempted entry was illegal, they may be immediately removed from the country.
Stay of Removal
A stay of removal is a way to temporarily postpone removal proceedings. The Department of Homeland Security may grant relief to some non-residents on an automatic or discretionary basis.
Automatic stays generally occur during the 30 days after an immigrant has filed a deportation order appeal or while the final outcome of a deportation proceeding is pending. A cancellation of removal may also be applied in cases where the person who has entered the country illegally can demonstrate family ties in the country or prove a continuous residence.
Deferred action is a process by which children who arrive in the United States without proper documentation can be allowed to stay for a period of two years. This period may be renewed after two years, during which time the individual who received the deferment may be eligible for work authorization. During a period of deferred action, the Department of Homeland Security agrees not to take any legal action against the individual. However, deferred action itself is not a form of lawful status or residence in the United States.
Reentry After Removal
A non-resident who has been removed from the United States after a deportation procedure or order of removal typically is barred from returning to the country for a set period of time. Bars usually last from 3 to 10 years, but they can take effect for longer periods. Immigrants who were removed from the country through deportation can reapply for entry using Form I-212 before the bar governing their reentry has expired. This form requires extensive documentation and proof of family ties in the United States or factors that demonstrate good moral character.
Moving to the United States without all the necessary documentation or after a legitimate permission to remain in the country has expired can lead to the serious legal process of deportation. An immigration attorney may be able to help affected immigrants attempt to stay removal proceedings or prevent them from being removed.