Understanding the Deportation Process

The prospect of being deported would frighten anyone. You envision ICE picking you up at home or work due to issues with your status and putting you on the next plane to your country of origin without getting a chance to say goodbye to loved ones here.

Although the deportation process is not a pleasant prospect, it’s rarely as sudden or ruthless as the above perception. The reality is that even if ICE puts you in removal proceedings, there are steps that must be followed. You also have rights that a New Jersey immigration attorney can help you protect. In this blog, we’ll explain the deportation process and how we can assist.

Step 1: Arrest and Custody

When you are suspected of being in the United States illegally, you may be arrested by local or federal law enforcement and transferred into the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). You could also be arrested by ICE directly.

Step 2: Expedited Removal or Notice to Appear

When ICE lays charges against you, you may face expedited removal if you overstayed your visa or entered the country illegally. It is important to note that this form of deportation can only occur if one of the following is true:

  • You have been in the United States for less than two weeks OR;
  • Your arrest occurs within 100 miles of the U.S. border

If neither circumstance applies to your case, you will be released and ordered to appear in court later. You will also receive a notice to appear (either in the mail or delivered by an immigration officer) that details why ICE believes that you should be deported.

Step 3: Hearing Before an Immigration Judge

The next step is a bond hearing before an immigration judge, who will decide whether you are eligible for bail and, if so, how much it will be. After paying your bond, you are released until your next hearing. If bond is not granted because ICE feels you are a security or safety risk, you will be held at an immigration detention center to await your court date.

Step 4: Master Calendar Hearing

This hearing, which also takes place before an immigration judge, determines the next step in your deportation process. You will either admit to the ICE charges against you or deny them, after which a second hearing date will be scheduled.

Step 5: Merits Hearing

At this hearing, you present your case to the judge, who will decide whether or not you can remain in the U.S. If they order you removed, you have 30 days to appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals. If the judge agrees that you can stay, ICE may also appeal the decision.

Step 6: Order of Removal

If the judge orders you removed and you don’t appeal, you will receive a Notice of Removal, either at the end of your hearing or by mail. You have the opportunity to appeal this decision and delay the deportation. Should your appeal fail, you will be returned to your country of origin.

How Can a Deportation Defense Attorney Help?

Depending on the facts of your case, you may be eligible for a waiver of deportation or some other mandatory or discretionary relief. These options include but are not limited to:

  • Voluntary departure
  • Cancellation of deportation or removal
  • Adjustment of status
  • Waivers under INA 212(h) or 212(i)
  • Withholding of removal
  • Asylum

At Csepes Law, we understand that deportation can be just as frightening as facing criminal charges. As an experienced deportation defense law office, we will help you determine if you qualify for any relief that could let you remain in the U.S. and protect your rights during all interactions with immigration authorities. If you are in removal proceedings or worry that you are about to be, please contact us right away.

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