Understanding Deportation: Reasons for Removal
For countless people across America, deportation is a very real fear. This is especially true for those who have spent many years in the United States (U.S.). These immigrants often are deeply enmeshed in their communities and have jobs, families, and homes. In the U.S., there are several prominent reasons why an immigrant may face removal proceedings. Sometimes, the reason may be simple. For example, deportation proceedings can commence if someone forgets to notify the government of a change of address.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) deported over 340,000 people in 2016 alone. In addition, DHS also issued 240,000 Notices to Appear (NTAs). NTAs initiate the formal legal process for deportation. This represents 240,000 people who now face the crushing reality of forcible removal from the U.S.
This article reviews the reasons an immigrant may face deportation, or removal, in the U.S. Additionally, we review what a person can expect during removal proceedings and ways to stop deportation.
Most importantly, if you or a loved one face removal proceedings, get help immediately. An experienced immigration lawyer can protect your rights and ensure fair judicial consideration. Contact us today for a free initial consultation with one of our lawyers.
Reasons Someone May Face Deportation
Any immigrant, even green card holders, can potentially face deportation under certain circumstances. The only instance when an immigrant becomes safe from deportation is when they become a naturalized U.S. citizen (unless they fraudulently acquired their green card or citizenship). Thus, it is critically important to understand how a person may become eligible for deportation. What events or actions can trigger removal proceedings?
Grounds for removal are dictated by Section 237 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). While there are many reasons for possible deportation stipulated in the INA, some of the most common include those listed below. Reasons marked with an asterisk are eligible for expedited removal. For more information or detail, you can read the entirety of the INA’s listed deportable offenses via the above link.
- Criminal offenses, including “crimes of moral turpitude” and aggravated felonies
- Drug offenses
- Violation of admission agreement, like overstaying a visa
- Document fraud
- Marriage fraud
- Failure to register, including change of address
- Unlawful or undocumented entry into the U.S.*
- Inadmissibility to the U.S. upon entry*
Under certain circumstances, a person may face expedited removal proceedings. During expedited removal, a person does not have a right to a hearing. This occurs during very specific occasions. Typically, such proceedings occur when an undocumented immigrant is apprehended within two years of arrival. Expedited removal may also occur if a person is found inadmissible when arriving to the U.S. You can read more about expedited removal on the American Immigration Council’s website.
What Happens During Removal Proceedings?
If a person is issued an NTA or is apprehended by ICE, they will be ordered to appear before an immigration judge. The immigration judge will ultimately decide if a person’s deportation will commence. Currently, a record-breaking backlog consisting of 800,000 cases is weighing down the U.S. immigration court system. Thus, any person facing deportation proceedings that are not “expedited” should expect a potentially long and arduous process. Proper legal representation will ensure defendants receive fair consideration during removal proceedings. You can read more about what to expect here.
Remember Your Rights
When facing standard removal proceedings, any immigrant has very specific rights. These rights include (1) the right to an attorney, ideally a deportation defense lawyer, (2) the right to a hearing, and (3) the right to an interpreter. While deportation defendants have a right to an attorney, unlike U.S. citizens, the government will not provide a lawyer at its expense.
How Can You Stop Deportation?
Luckily, several legal avenues exist to stop deportation. The Immigration and National Act (INA) stipulates these options and they involve specific situations or conditions that must be fulfilled. For example, a person can apply for political asylum to receive reprieve from deportation. Another option for lawful permanent residents (LPRs) with criminal convictions is cancellation of removal. The best person to discuss your options is an immigration lawyer, who will weigh each possibility carefully. You can also read more about possible ways to stop deportation here.
The Crucial Step
For any immigrant facing the complicated processes of the U.S. immigration court system, a lawyer can provide priceless advice and guidance. Often, proper legal counsel can mean the difference between a successful or unfavorable decision and can even protect from deportation itself. Eagly & Shafer produced an extensive report that found immigration lawyers increase the chances of positive outcomes for immigrants facing legal proceedings.
In fact, according to the report, immigrants with proper representation were more likely to:
- Attain a custody hearing (if currently in detention);
- Achieve release from immigration detention;
- Appear for court dates (avoiding removal in absentia);
- Receive successful rulings in deportation or removal cases; and/or
- Pursue and receive relief from deportation.
Questions or Concerns? Contact Davis & Associates Today
Remember, proper legal counsel provides the best chance for success when you face removal proceedings. If you have any questions or concerns regarding deportation or removal, contact an immigration attorney as soon as possible. They will represent your interests, guide you through the process, and defend your rights. And, as discussed above, working with a lawyer not only provides the highest chance for success overall, but makes the entire litigation process easier.
The expert immigration attorneys at Davis & Associates serve clients across the Dallas and Fort Worth area. We proudly represent clients and defend them during removal proceedings. Contact us today for a free initial consultation – help is close at hand.