Deportation 101: From Start to Finish

The deportation process can be confusing, and having to face it can be terrifying. In this blog, we’ll discuss the details of exactly what happens during deportation to give you an idea of what happens and what to expect.

How It Begins

The process of deportation begins with the Customs Enforcement Division finding a non-citizen living in the U.S. This usually comes about through phoned-in tips, workplace raids, failed asylum/green card applications, and even failed citizenship attempts. It is worth noting that being denied citizenship is not grounds for deportation, but if an individual gains a criminal conviction or other grounds for removal, it may occur.

Once an individual enters the line of sight of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), they are required to serve the non-citizen a Notice to Appear before an immigration judge.

The notice must provide information regarding:

  • The nature of the proceedings

  • The alleged grounds for removal

  • The individual’s right to an attorney

  • The consequences of failing to appear at the scheduled hearing

The immigration judge will determine whether or not the non-citizen’s action or lack of legal immigration status makes them eligible for removal from the United States, or even if they can gain any legal or discretionary relief.

The First Hearing

The first hearing the non-citizen must attend is referred to as a “Master Calendar” hearing. This hearing is extremely important to attend, as it gives an idea of whether an individual has any defense to removal. Whether a non-citizen fails to appear at this hearing, they are issued an automatic order of removal and they are unable to return to the U.S. with any type of visa for ten years.

During the hearing, the defendant will learn if they have grounds to legally defend themselves from removal. If they do not have any legal defense, there may be the option of negotiating for Voluntary Removal, which has far less severe long-term consequences. This process is the basic admitted statement that an individual has no legal right to remain in the United States, and agrees to leave on their accord, without having a removal order of their own record.

If a non-citizen does have a legal basis for defense, you never want to accept Voluntary Removal. Even after being placed in the removal process, the ability to qualify for a green card (or fight to keep your green card) still exists.

Grounds for a legal defense include:

  • Married to or having another close family relationship with a U.S citizen

  • Being granted asylum

  • Having a cancellation of removal - This is available to people who have lived in the U.S. for ten years, shown good moral character, and can show that their removal would cause extreme hardship for their spouse, parent(s), or children that are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents

  • Showing the DHS was incorrect about your removal

These are just some of the examples of a legal defense for removal. Talking to one of our experienced immigration attorneys provide a full review of your case to give you the best chance for success. Contact us today!

The Merit Hearing

This hearing occurs when you and your attorney have a strategy to defend yourself against removal. During this hearing, you will be about the present your case and testify on your own behalf, with your attorney asking the questions. After being examined by an attorney for DHS, you can present witnesses and exhibits, such as photographs and sworn testimonies by people who you know about your case or are experts in a relevant field.

An example of this kind of defense is if you were seeking asylum. You would want to testify about the fear of persecution in your home country by outlining the current conditions there through documentation while providing proof that you are a member of a persecuted group.

Contact Our Greer Immigration Attorneys Today

Navigating deportation on your own can be stressful and frightful. At Colón Law Firm, we understand the complexities of the deportation process and the toll it takes on its participants and their families.

If you or a loved one is facing removal, don’t hesitate to contact us today through our website or give us a call at (864) 697-2870!