It’s pretty well-known that Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Dallas office arrested almost 17,000 people last year, which was the highest number of any region – and that ICE deportation is on the rise all over the country. But what is deportation, and are there ways you can avoid it?
ICE Deportation: What You Need to Know
Deportation – now called removal – is defined as “the formal removal of an alien from the United States when the alien has been found removable for violating the immigration laws.”
Violating the immigration laws is a pretty broad term, but it basically refers committing crimes, threatening public safety, or violating the terms of a visa.
An immigration judge is the one who ultimately orders deportation, but the entire function is managed by ICE.
Grounds of Deportability: Reasons ICE Can Deport Someone
ICE must have a reason to deport someone – they’re not legally allowed to toss someone out of the U.S. for no reason. The agency can deport anyone who holds a nonimmigrant visa or who has a green card, provided that person has violated anything in Section 237 of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act.
ICE cannot deport U.S. citizens unless they used fraud to get a green card or citizenship. Once a person is naturalized, they’re generally safe from ICE.
Section 237 of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act
Section 237 of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act describes the reasons ICE can deport people. Some grounds of deportability include:
- Being convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude within five years after the date of admission
- Being convicted of an aggravated felony
- Being convicted of domestic violence, stalking, child abuse or child neglect, or child abandonment at any time
- Being convicted of two or more crimes involving moral turpitude at any time after admission
- Being inadmissible at the time of U.S. entry
- Committing marriage fraud to illegally obtain immigration benefits
- Failing to register as a sex offender
- Having permanent resident status terminated
- Knowingly helping smuggle another alien into the U.S.
- Violated travel and documentation restrictions
This isn’t a complete list – there are several other reasons the government can use to remove you from the U.S.
The ICE Deportation Process
ICE deportation follows a certain process, whether it’s the typical process or expedited removal (see the section “Expedited Removal” below for more information).
When ICE deports someone, the process typically goes this way:
• Expedited removal, if applicable
• Notice to appear
• Voluntary departure
• Bond hearing
• Master calendar hearing
• Merits hearing
• Order of removal
If the government suspects you entered the U.S. illegally, law enforcement can arrest you and transfer you to ICE custody. U.S. Border Patrol agents can arrest you at the border or at an airport, while police officers can arrest you on a crime and share your arrest information with ICE. ICE can request that law enforcement hold you for up to 48 hours and turn you over to them, but local law enforcement agencies don’t have to comply.
People who show up in the United States without travel documents, or those who have forged travel documents, can be deported quickly without having a hearing. In cases like these, ICE can use an order of expedited removal – and the officer who decides to use expedited removal has the final say. Usually, the person subject to expedited removal has no right to talk to an immigration judge.
It’s important that you know expedited removal can also be used for individuals who:
• Arrived in the U.S. by sea and were encountered within 2 years of arrival
• Are encountered within 100 miles of an international border within 14 days of entering the U.S.
• Overstayed a visa
If you are removed from the U.S. through expedited removal, you can’t come back to the U.S. for at least 5 years. (In some cases, there are exceptions. You should talk to a Dallas immigration attorney if you’ve been barred from the U.S. but want to come here – you could be eligible for a waiver.)
Notice to Appear
If ICE doesn’t use the expedited removal process on you, the court process begins. You’ll receive a Notice to Appear that lists the reasons the government believes you are violating immigration law. You may get the Notice to Appear from an immigration officer or you might receive it in the mail. You’re supposed to have at least 10 days’ notice before your court date.
You can be detained if ICE intends to remove you. Typically, detainees are held in immigration detention centers or in a contracted prison.
You may volunteer to leave the U.S. on your own. If you do, you could qualify to return to the U.S. later. In order to volunteer to leave the U.S. and qualify, you must:
• Have the money to leave the country on your own
• Post at least a $500 bond
• Produce a valid travel document
• Have been a person of “good moral character” for at least 5 years
This option isn’t available to people who have been granted voluntary departure before.
You’ll go before an immigration judge for a bond hearing. It’s like bail – you agree to return to court or you’ll forfeit your bond. If the judge grants you bond and you can pay it, you’re released – if not, you stay in custody.
Master Calendar Hearing
A master calendar hearing determines how your case will proceed; the judge decides what defense he or she will consider, such as:
• Cancellation of removal due to a long history in the U.S., or due to status as a legal permanent resident
• Marriage to a U.S. citizen or another relation
You and your attorney can attend the merits hearing, where you’ll present arguments that you should be permitted to stay in the U.S.
Order of Removal
If the judge doesn’t agree with you at your merits hearing, you’ll get an order of removal. You can appeal if the judge doesn’t decide in your favor.
You can appeal the judge’s decision, and you can request a delay of deportation until the matter is settled. However, know that appeals can take months – and people sometimes stay incarcerated during the appeal process, even if they’re eligible for bond.
If your appeal is unsuccessful, you’ll be sent back to your home country. If you’re from Mexico, ICE usually flies you to a border city and sends you across a border crossing on foot or in a bus. If you’re from a Central American country or anywhere else, ICE will fly you direct.
Can You Prevent ICE From Deporting You?
It is sometimes possible to prevent ICE deportation. If you’re like many people, you could benefit from the help of a Dallas immigration attorney.
About Davis & Associates:
Davis & Associates is the immigration law firm of choice in North Texas including Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano, Frisco, McKinney and surrounding areas. Their attorneys provide expert legal counsel for all aspects of immigration law, including deportation defense, writs of habeas corpus and mandamus, family-sponsored immigration, employment-sponsored immigration, investment immigration, employer compliance, temporary visas for work and college, permanent residence, naturalization, consular visa processing, waivers, and appeals. Attorney Garry L. Davis is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
Davis & Associates
Address: 17750 Preston Road Dallas, TX 75252
Phone: (214) 628-9888