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All foreign nationals who are aliens (non-US citizens) can be subject to a deportation order from the United States Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS).


What is Deportation?

Deportation is a formal civil procedure and is not criminal. It is administered under the authority of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and results ultimately in an alien being forcibly returned to his country of origin.

Common Reasons for Deportation

There are several general violations of US immigration law that can result in deportation orders:

  • Illegal entry into the US
  • Those who have been legally admitted into the US but have violated conditions of their admission
  • Working in the US without permission
  • Criminal charges
  • Those who have joined specified banned organizations in the US

There is a long list of other charges that can be brought administratively against an alien which can result in deportation. Consult your unbundled provider attorney to understand your best course of action to fight deportation orders and remain in the US.

How Deportation Procedures Begin

Formal procedures for deportation can start when an agent for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent serves an Order to Show Cause (Form I-221) on the alien. That establishes a date to appear before an Immigration Judge (IJ) to determine the alien’s deportation status. ICE must present clear, unequivocal, and convincing evidence to support of any claims that an alien has committed a deportable offense. Even if the Immigration Judge finds the alien removable, the alien can declare an intention to oppose the order and remain in the US.

Opposing Deportation

Those wishing to oppose deportation efforts by ICE can file for a Merits Hearing. Those appearing at a Merits Hearing receive a liberal allocation of time at the hearing to present their defense. They may argue that ICE made an error, or there are other legal grounds to remain in this country. The alien should be proactive at the hearing and come prepared with documents and supporting information for the Merits Hearing.

Relief from Removal

If the Immigration Judge issues a deportation order, an alien can consider whether to apply for relief from that deportation order through one of many categories that can allow the alien to remain in the United States while those opportunities are pursued.

One category is an alien can apply for an adjustment of status relief from deportation. Under this category of relief from deportation, an alien must otherwise be admissible under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Prosecutorial discretion is an additional category for relief from deportation. An alien who is not a security or public safety risk may appeal for relief from deportation and removal from the US on the basis of prosecutorial discretion.

A third category is a petition for asylum. An alien who can demonstrate fear of personal safety for being returned to the home country, may petition for relief under an asylum category.

There are many other categories of relief from deportation. Your unbundled provider attorney will review your personal circumstances and discuss how best to protect your rights to remain in the US.

Voluntary Removal

Those aliens who conclude that there are no viable legal grounds to oppose deportation may find it in their interest to ask for a Voluntary Removal (VR). If approved, a voluntary removal establishes that the alien admits to being in the US illegally, and promises to depart voluntarily within a certain time frame. This classification of self-deportation allows an alien to avoid having a record of forced deportation. It also opens up the possibility for the VR alien to claim additional defenses and remain in the country.

Get The Guidance You Need to Prevent Deportation

Regardless of the circumstances, there are many pathways to preventing a deportation. Even in circumstances where deportation is warranted, there are many steps that can be taken to postpone these actions for months, and sometimes even years. Your unbundled provider attorney can inform you of your options, and depending on your unique case, can assist you with taking immediate actions to either prevent or postpone a pending deportation.

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