What you should know about removal proceedings

Removal (deportation) proceedings should be approached with due care and caution.

There are a number of different reasons why someone who's come to America for a better life could face removal (previously called "deportation") proceedings. The Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services can institute removal proceedings against foreign nationals who have, for example:

  • Been convicted of a felony-level crime by a U.S. court (or several misdemeanor-level crimes, depending on the type of activity involved; age of the convictions isn't necessarily relevant to removal, and even old convictions could be grounds in the right circumstances)
  • Entered the country illegally or through fraud, even as a child accompanying family members or otherwise violated U.S. immigration laws
  • Lied/provided false information on government forms like I-9 work certifications
  • Stayed in America after the expiration of a work or student visa
  • Been found to have made terrorist threats or associated with a terrorist organization (associations with ISIS or al Qaeda have been common in recent years as news of those groups' activities have become more widespread)

When you are facing removal, the life you have worked hard to make here in America is on the line. Even if you aren't ultimately forced out of the country, the proceedings themselves can have a huge impact on your life. You could end up losing your job or your home if your employer or landlord learns of your situation. If you are ordered to be removed, you could be separated from your family and, depending on how long you've been in America, forced to return to a country you know nothing about and no longer feel a connection to.

The process

Removal proceedings are instituted with the filing of a Notice to Appear before an Immigration Court Judge. This document will have relevant information like the time scheduled for your court appearance as well as vital statistics about you (your home address, alien registration number and birth date). The NTA will also contain the nature of the removal proceedings against you as well as the factual allegations as to why they are being brought and the "Charge(s) of Removability" (the legal basis for why the proceedings were instituted). Should the NTA be insufficient or contain incorrect information, that could be a valid defense against removal or could, at the very least, buy you some time in which to fight back.

If you receive an NTA indicating that removal proceedings have begun, you need to act immediately. While there is typically a backlog in immigration courts, the government only legally needs to give you a 10-day window between the time you are served with an NTA and your first appearance before a judge. With so much on the line, you shouldn't risk going it alone. You can statistically increase your chances of success - and ultimately staying in America - by having an experienced immigration attorney by your side. In the Charleston, South Carolina, area, contact Kasen Law Firm online or by calling 843-376-4085 or toll free at 888-370-5810.