Navigating the complex world of removal proceedings can be daunting. These legal processes, also known as deportation proceedings, hold significant consequences for non-citizens residing in the United States. As the U.S. government seeks to determine whether individuals are eligible for deportation, it’s essential for you to be well-informed. This article will shed light on five little known facts about removal proceedings that could prove invaluable to your understanding of this intricate subject matter.

You might be aware of the basic premise of removal proceedings, but there are several lesser-known aspects and options that could impact your case. By learning about these lesser-known features, you can better prepare yourself for the potential challenges and opportunities ahead. This article will delve into the details and provide clear, knowledgeable insights to help you navigate the process.

As you make your way through this article, you’ll encounter facts that could ultimately change the trajectory of your case. Remember, knowledge is power, and the more you know about removal proceedings, the better equipped you’ll be to handle whatever comes your way.

security guard standing on the gray floor

Overview of Removal Proceedings

Removal proceedings are legal processes initiated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to determine if a non-citizen should be removed from the United States. Understanding this process can be crucial if you find yourself navigating it.

One of the first steps in removal proceedings is the issuance of a Notice to Appear (NTA) by DHS. This document will inform you of the charges against you, the alleged immigration violations, and the date, time, and location of your immigration court hearing.

The removal process happens in two stages, which consist of the master calendar hearing and the individual hearing. During the master calendar hearing, you will appear before an immigration judge, who will review your NTA and ask you to confirm the information within it. You should also be prepared to confirm your address, as it’ll be used for any future correspondence with the court.

If you decide to contest the charges against you, your case will be scheduled for an individual hearing. This hearing will involve a more in-depth examination of your case, where the immigration judge will hear testimonies, review evidence, and ultimately make a determination on your immigration status. You should note that it is crucial to have legal representation during an individual hearing, as it is often more complex than the initial master calendar hearing.

Throughout the removal proceedings, DHS is represented by an attorney who advocates for your removal. While you may feel overwhelmed by the process, it is essential to know that there are various forms of relief available to help you avoid deportation, such as voluntary departure, adjustment of status, cancellation of removal, or asylum.

In summary, removal proceedings can be a challenging experience, but being informed about the process, preparing yourself, and seeking legal representation can significantly improve your chances of successfully navigating through this legal landscape.

checklist, goals, box

Types of Removal Proceedings

When it comes to removal proceedings, you should be aware of the different types that exist. These proceedings are initiated by the U.S. government to determine whether an individual can be deported from the country. In this section, we will explore three key types: expedited removal, administrative removal, and reinstatement of removal.

Expedited removal is a process that allows immigration officers to quickly remove individuals who have entered the United States without valid documents or attempted to deceive or misrepresent themselves. It is primarily used for persons who arrive at a port of entry (like an airport or border crossing) and don’t have valid entry documents or have committed fraud in their attempt to gain entry. In most cases, expedited removal orders are not appealable, and those who receive such orders are generally barred from returning to the U.S. without obtaining special permission.

Administrative removal differs from expedited removal in that it targets specific groups of non-citizens who have already been convicted of certain types of criminal offenses. Essentially, this type of removal proceeding is targeted at non-lawful permanent residents who have been involved in serious criminal activities. Unlike expedited removal, an administrative removal order can be contested in immigration court, and an individual facing this type of removal may have certain limited forms of relief available to them.

Reinstatement of removal occurs when a person who was previously deported from the United States illegally re-enters the country. The previous removal order is then “reinstated,” meaning that it is put back into effect, and the person is immediately removed from the U.S. without any further hearings or proceedings. It is crucial to note that reinstatement of removal is applicable only to individuals who have already suffered the consequences of past removal proceedings and have chosen to re-enter the country without authorization.

To summarize, it is essential to understand these distinct types of removal proceedings. Each type has its own specific purpose and process, and knowing the differences can help you navigate the complexities of immigration law.

Initiation and Jurisdiction

Removal proceedings typically begin with the issuance of a Notice to Appear (NTA). The NTA is a document that informs you, the alien, of the charges against you as well as your alleged immigration status violation. It also provides information about the date, time, and location of your initial hearing before an immigration judge source.

Jurisdiction over your removal proceedings resides with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), which is part of the Department of Justice. EOIR is responsible for determining whether or not you, as a non-U.S. national (an alien, as described in statute), have a legal right to remain in the United States or if you should be removed source.

In removal proceedings, your case will be heard by an immigration judge. It’s important to remember that you have certain rights during removal proceedings, such as the right to have legal representation (at your own expense), the right to present evidence, and the right to cross-examine witnesses. The Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause provides you with these procedural protections source.

If you entered the United States through a port of entry, such as an airport or land border crossing, you may be subject to a different type of removal proceeding called “expedited removal.” In this case, you will not have the full range of rights available in formal removal proceedings, and the decisions made by immigration officials at the port of entry generally cannot be appealed to an immigration judge source.

It is crucial for you to be well-informed about the various aspects of removal proceedings, including initiation and jurisdiction, to best protect your interests and self-advocate. As every case is unique, seeking legal advice from an experienced immigration attorney is advised to ensure you navigate the complexities of the process effectively.

man covering face with both hands while sitting on bench

ICE and Customs and Border Protection Involvement

As you navigate the complex world of removal proceedings, it’s essential to understand the role of the agencies involved, primarily the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

ICE, the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is responsible for enforcing U.S. federal criminal and civil laws concerning border control, customs, trade, and immigration. Their mission is to promote homeland security and public safety while addressing cross-border crime and illegal immigration.

A key aspect of ICE’s work is immigration enforcement, which primarily occurs in the country’s interior. This includes apprehending and removing individuals who are unlawfully present or have criminal convictions that warrant deportation. As an integral player in removal proceedings, ICE ensures that immigration laws are upheld and that national security is not compromised.

On the other hand, CBP is responsible for safeguarding America’s borders and protecting the public from dangerous people and materials. While working closely with ICE and other agencies, CBP officers are often the first point of contact for individuals seeking entry to the U.S. When encountering potentially inadmissible individuals, CBP officers have the authority to place them into expedited removal proceedings.

As you engage with the removal process, you may come across various immigration officers belonging to these agencies. They play a crucial role in determining whether a person can legally stay in the U.S., as well as conducting arrests, detention, and removal of those found to be in violation of immigration laws.

In summary, both ICE and CBP are heavily involved in removal proceedings, working together to enforce immigration laws and ensure public safety. By understanding their roles and responsibilities, you can better navigate and approach your interactions with these agencies.

statue of liberty, new york, monument

Role of USCIS and EOIR

In removal proceedings, both the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) play important roles. USCIS primarily handles cases where individuals are seeking immigration benefits outside of removal proceedings, while EOIR oversees cases involving individuals in removal proceedings.

When you’re in removal proceedings, your case begins with the issuance of a Notice to Appear (NTA) which outlines the alleged immigration law violations1. At your first hearing, the Master Calendar Hearing, the immigration judge quickly assesses the government’s case against you and determines if there’s a realistic basis for relief2.

If you’re seeking asylum, the jurisdiction over your application depends on whether you’re in removal proceedings or not3. USCIS usually handles affirmative asylum applications outside of removal proceedings while EOIR deals with defensive asylum applications filed by individuals in removal proceedings.

When USCIS denies an asylum application, it refers the case to EOIR for streamlined removal proceedings under Section 240 of the Immigration and Nationality Act4. The asylum officer provides an assessment regarding your eligibility for withholding or deferral of removal based on fear of persecution or torture.

Understanding the roles of USCIS and EOIR can help you navigate the sometimes complex world of removal proceedings and increase your chances of attaining immigration relief.

Flag of Usa

Photo by David Dibert

Impacts on U.S. Citizens and Green Card Holders

The implications of removal proceedings are felt not only by those facing deportation but also by U.S. citizens and green card holders. For instance, 6.1 million U.S.-citizen children under the age of 18 lived with an undocumented family member in 2018. From 2011 through 2013, up to half-a-million U.S.-citizen children experienced the deportation of at least one parent. This may lead to emotional, financial, and legal stress for affected families.

While green card holders, or lawful permanent residents (LPRs), have a more secure standing in the U.S., they may still experience consequences from the removal proceedings of family members or friends. LPRs are allowed to work without special restrictions, own property, and receive financial assistance at public colleges, but they may also face inquiries concerning their immigration status during removal proceedings.

In addition to emotional and financial stress, the deportation of family members can cause significant distress for U.S. citizens. It may separate families, leaving children without a parent or resulting in the tough decision to return to the deported family member’s home country. These consequences may impact children’s upbringing, emotional well-being, and access to resources typically available in the U.S.

To avoid complications, green card holders can become naturalized U.S. citizens. Taking this step ensures even more stability and legal protection, as well as access to voting and other benefits reserved for U.S. citizens. However, naturalization is a lengthy process and may not be attainable for every LPR.

In short, removal proceedings have lasting effects on U.S. citizens, green card holders, and their families. Understanding and addressing these issues are crucial for maintaining the well-being of these communities.

State map of USA

Inadmissibility and Deportability

When facing removal proceedings, it’s essential to understand the difference between inadmissibility and deportability. Inadmissible individuals are those who do not meet the requirements for admission to the United States, while deportable individuals are those who have already been admitted but are found to have violated specific immigration laws or committed crimes.

One situation in which you may be considered inadmissible is if you have committed fraud or willfully misrepresented a material fact when applying for a visa or seeking admission to the US. Inadmissibility can also result from criminal convictions, health reasons, or other grounds specified in the INA 212(a).

On the other hand, deportability applies to individuals who have already been admitted into the US but have committed an act that makes them removable. Some common grounds for deportability include criminal offenses, violations of immigration laws, or becoming a public charge. The grounds for deportability can be found in INA 237(a).

While facing removal proceedings, it’s crucial to be aware of your physical presence in the US. In some instances, if you accumulate more than 180 days of unlawful presence but less than one year, and then depart the US, you may be inadmissible for three years. Accumulating one year or more of unlawful presence may result in a ten-year bar to re-entry.

To avoid being deported or found inadmissible, it’s essential to comply with all immigration laws and maintain a valid status while in the US. It’s also important to keep track of your physical presence in case you apply for a waiver or relief from removal. If you are currently facing removal proceedings, consult with an immigration attorney to discuss your options and devise a strategy to tackle your situation.

empty prisoner cell

Criminal Convictions and Charges

When it comes to immigration removal proceedings, your criminal convictions play a significant role. The U.S. government takes the issue very seriously, with some convictions leading to deportation. It’s crucial to understand the various types of convictions and charges that can affect your immigration status.

Aggravated felonies are considered the most severe offenses in the context of removal proceedings. In fact, an aggravated felony conviction can create a nearly insurmountable obstacle to remaining in the U.S. Some examples include murder, drug trafficking, and crimes of violence with a sentence of at least one year. While not an exhaustive list, the immigration law often adds more categories of crimes to this classification.

Besides aggravated felonies, your immigration status can also be affected by crimes considered to be of moral turpitude. These crimes generally involve dishonesty or antisocial behavior, and the law includes offenses like fraud, theft, and assault. Not all convictions for crimes of moral turpitude will result in removal, but they often can, especially when committed within a certain time after admission to the country.

Other types of criminal convictions that can lead to deportation include specific convictions relating to controlled substances, firearms, and domestic violence. For instance, a conviction involving drug possession or trafficking can make you deportable, regardless of the severity of the offense. Similarly, convictions for domestic violence or violating protection orders can also trigger removal proceedings.

It’s important to note that non-convictions, such as pending criminal charges or arrests, are typically not enough on their own to initiate removal proceedings. However, these situations can still have consequences, especially if they eventually lead to a conviction.

In summary, as a non-U.S. citizen, it’s essential to be aware of how your criminal convictions and charges can impact your immigration status. Various offenses, from aggravated felonies to crimes of moral turpitude, can lead to removal proceedings and potential deportation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I determine if I am facing removal proceedings?

If you receive a Notice to Appear (NTA) from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), you are facing removal proceedings. This document details the reasons for your potential removal from the United States. It’s crucial that you attend any scheduled hearings and seek legal advice regarding your case.

What are the steps to halt removal proceedings?

You may be eligible to apply for relief from removal if you meet specific requirements. Options to halt removal proceedings include adjustment of status, cancellation of removal, waivers of inadmissibility, and asylum. It’s essential to consult an immigration attorney to determine the most appropriate steps for your specific situation.

What is the difference between a removal order and a deportation order?

Although the terms “removal” and “deportation” are often used interchangeably, they refer to two distinct processes. Deportation refers to the process that occurred prior to April 1, 1997, under the old Immigration and Nationality Act. After that date, the process became known as “removal” under the new laws. The difference is mostly procedural, and both result in the individual being forced to leave the United States.

What occurs after an immigration judge terminates proceedings?

If an immigration judge terminates your proceedings, it means the judge has found that the government cannot proceed with the removal case against you. This termination does not grant you any immigration benefits or status, but it does provide a temporary reprieve from removal. You may then become eligible to apply for other immigration benefits or relief.

Can I apply to waive or cancel an order of deportation?

Yes, you can apply for a waiver or cancellation of a deportation order under certain circumstances. You will need to meet specific eligibility criteria, submit the required documentation, and prove that your case merits such relief. It’s crucial to consult with an immigration attorney to guide you through the process and give you the best chance at success.

Who holds the burden of proof during the removal process?

During the removal process, the government generally holds the burden of proof to establish that you are subject to removal from the United States. However, if you apply for any forms of relief, it becomes your responsibility to prove that you are eligible for these benefits and that your case merits the judge’s favorable discretion. This is why it’s essential to seek legal counsel and provide all necessary documentation to support your case.

Continue Reading

Continue Reading

Free Case Evaluation

Fill out the form below to receive a free and confidential initial consultation.