What is Deportation and Removal?

Removal proceedings are the process in which the U.S. government attempts to remove a non-citizen from the United States for violating the immigration laws.  Prior to 1996, there were both deportation cases and exclusion cases.  In 1996 Congress combined both deportation and exclusion proceedings (now called inadmissibility) into removal proceedings.

Deportation cases involve foreign nationals with lawful entries (inspection by the U.S. after a Customs and Border Protection or Border Patrol officers) and then an alleged violation of the immigration laws.  This violation usually involves overstaying the authorized period of time in the U.S., violating a term of their visa (like an F-1 visa holder not going to school) or committing and being convicted of a criminal act.

Removal proceedings for exclusion cases (or inadmissibility) occur when the government seeks to remove a non-citizen who does not have a lawful admission.  The usual circumstances for exclusion cases are where the foreign national entered without inspection (EWI) by running the border.  Exclusion or inadmissibility cases can also occur when a lawful permanent resident travels internationally after having been convicted of certain crimes and attempts reentry.  Removal proceedings are also proper where Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has reason to believe a lawful permanent resident has abandoned their status meaning they have stayed abroad for too long.

Removal proceedings start when DHS issues a Notice to Appear (NTA) and serves it on the foreign national.  DHS files the NTA with the immigration court.  The court schedules a master calendar hearing, or preliminary hearing.  During the master calendar hearings, the immigration judge (IJ) requests pleadings (admissions or denials to the facts alleged in the Notice to Appear and denials or concessions to the charges).  The IJ’s will make a determination regarding whether the facts are true and if the non-citizen is subject to removal, i.e. the facts support the charge.  If the IJ finds the non-citizen is subject to removal, he or she can then apply for relief from removal.

Relief from Deportation and Removal Options

If the immigration judge finds you subject to removal, you can file an application for relief from removal.  There are various kinds of applications and each resolve specific types of immigration violations.  Relief from removal is broken into two parts: eligibility and discretion.  The immigration court schedules an individual hearing for the relief application.  These hearings are just like trials.  The government, the judge, and your immigration lawyer will ask you questions.  The immigration judges will take testimony and review documents and evidence and make their decision on eligibility (or if the person qualifies under the legal standard).  Assuming eligibility, the immigration judge will decide whether to exercise their discretion and grant the application.  In determining discretion, the judge will weigh the non-citizen’s good and bad qualities and actions.

It is advisable to talk to an experienced relief from removal lawyer to discuss both eligibility for relief from removal and which option best fits your situation. Immigration removal attorneys properly preparing relief applications usually need a lot of time.  They need to obtain, and review documents and other evidence as well as prepare the witnesses to testify.  The sooner you hire a removal attorney, the sooner you can begin preparation for your case and give yourself the best chance to win.

What Happens if the Judge Orders Deportation

If an immigration judge orders a foreign national removed from the United States, they have thirty days to file an appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).  Both parties (foreign national and the DHS) get to argue their respective positions on how the judge ruled.  If the BIA does not agree with the non-citizen’s argument and dismisses the appeal, the foreign national can file a Petition for Review in the Circuit Court having jurisdiction over the immigration court that ordered them removed.  For example, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals hears cases from the immigration courts in Memphis, Cleveland, and Detroit because the Sixth Circuit has jurisdiction over Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee.  Ultimately, if the Circuit Court denies the petition for review, the foreign national can ask for a rehearing or ask the U.S. Supreme Court to listen to their arguments.

Whom Should I Hire to Defend Me in Removal Proceedings?

Immigration law, and specifically removal proceedings, is one of the most complex areas of the law.  Hiring an immigration and removal lawyer who wants to win your case, whether by creating a new and unique argument or simply preparing a great application for relief of removal is the most pragmatic decision a person can make.  There are many considerations to hiring counsel including the expereince of the Cleveland immigration lawyer, their ability to communicate with you and his or her work ethic.  Price is a consideration too.  The price one puts on their immigration status and ability to keep their family united in the U.S. is a personal one.  Please take into consideration all of the above factors and hire a removal law professional that best suits your situation as soon as they receive either an immigration detainer or the Notice to Appear.  Contact us today by calling 216-970-7102.