Demystifying the Law: Deportation
In our ongoing series on immigration issues, today we look at deportation: What is it, what does the process entail and what are your legal options if facing deportation? This article will attempt to demystify the issues surrounding deportation.
What Is Deportation?
Deportation is the process of legally removing or expelling a person from a country. You might mistakenly think that deportation occurs when someone is put on a plane to their home country, but it’s actually a multi-step process (sometimes called a removal process) that usually begins when the Department of Homeland Security issues a notice to appear before an immigration judge.
There are many reasons a person who is not a U.S. citizen may be deported from the United States. These include:
- Entering into a fraudulent marriage for the purpose of evading U.S. immigration laws
- Crimes of moral turpitude, including murder, domestic violence, rape, harboring a fugitive and passing bad checks
- Illegally or improperly entering the United States
- Human smuggling
- Convicted on a firearms offense
- Convicted on a controlled substance offense
- Convicted on an aggravated felony offense
Deportation & Removal Process
Once deportation proceedings have started, one of three things may occur:
- An immigration hearing is held before an immigration judge
- Immigration officers summarily determine that an alien is not admissible to the United States and the immigration is subject to expedited removal from the country
- A non-citizen convicted of an aggravated felony is subject to administrative removal from the country
Someone subject to immigration hearings and administrative removal proceedings will receive notice of the charges against them, have an opportunity to inspect evidence and rebut the charges, and have the right to be represented by an attorney at the person’s own expense.
At the conclusion of the hearing the person will either be allowed to remain in the country, sometimes known as cancellation of the removal proceeding or lose the case – be expelled from the country. There are several other ways an alien may be permitted to stay in the country:
- If the alien’s status changes from non-immigrant to lawful permanent resident, known as adjustment of status
- If the alien is granted asylum, and is unable to return to his native country because of past persecution or a well-founded fear of future persecution based upon race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion
Immigration – and deportation in particular – is a complex legal issue that can have long-lasting repercussions. While this article discusses the basics of deportation, it cannot serve as a substitute for legal advice from an experienced immigration attorney.
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