What is a deportation defense lawyer?
Many people around the world want to live in the United States, but just moving to the U.S. does not mean you are allowed to stay. If you don’t follow the right rules, the U.S. government can decide to deport you. That means they make you leave the country, even if you want to stay in the U.S.
A deportation defense lawyer is someone who helps you understand the rules of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which is the law the U.S. government uses to decide who should be deported. If the U.S. government thinks you have broken the law, a deportation defense lawyer will help you decide what to do next.
The most common reasons a person is deported
In general, there are five reasons the U.S. government might believe a non-U.S. citizen should be deported:
- If a non-U.S. citizen comes to the U.S. without getting permission from the government first, like with a visa.
- If a non-U.S. citizen does get permission before visiting, but breaks the rules for the visit. For example, getting a job without permission or staying longer than the government said was ok. This is called a “Status Violation.”
- If a non-U.S. citizen is found guilty of breaking a law or belonging to a group or organization that the U.S. government does not allow.
- If a non-U.S. citizen has applied for asylum, but the U.S. government says no to the application.
- If a non-U.S. citizen becomes a public charge within five years of coming to the country.
The steps of the deportation process
If the U.S. government thinks someone might need to be deported, the deportation process, or deportation proceeding, begins. There are five general parts of the deportation process:
- The non-U.S. citizen is arrested by a member of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, often known as ICE.
- Soon after being arrested, the person receives a document called a Notice to Appear. The Notice to Appear tells the person why the government believes he or she should not be allowed to stay in the United States.
- An ICE official decides if the person is allowed to pay a bond and go home or if they have to stay in jail until the deportation hearings—meetings with an immigration judge.
- At the deportation hearings an immigration judge decides if the person should be deported or not.
- If the immigration judge decides the person should be deported, he or she has 30 days to ask for a second opinion on the decision, called filing an appeal. All appeals are read by the Board of Immigration Appeals.The Board reads a document that tells them every word spoken at the deportation hearings so they know what happened, even though they were not there. An attorney can write to the Board about why they disagree with the person being deported (called a legal brief), but the person is not allowed to talk to the Board at the appeals meeting.
The Center for U.S. Immigration Services can help you
We know it is scary and stressful to face deportation proceedings. Each of the deportation defense lawyers at the Center for U.S. Immigration Services has gone through the immigration process personally or helped a friend or family member go through it.
That’s why we take the time to listen to your concerns and answer all of the questions you have so you understand each part of the process. We believe the best answer to fear is knowledge, and we are by your side to make sure you understand everything you need to know.
The first step we take with you is to give our honest opinion about your case. If we believe there is not enough evidence to prove you should have to leave the country, we will help you prepare for deportation hearings by listening to your concerns, answering all of your questions, and creating any documents you will need.
What if I have to leave the country?
If we believe there is enough evidence to make deportation likely, we will explain the options you still have. For example, we can help you decide if you should apply for asylum, permanent residency status, or a waiver under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
We will do everything in our power to prevent deportation, but sometimes it still happens. If so, we will help you understand the process and give you advice on what to do.
For example, we can help you leave the country voluntarily rather than being forced to by the government. This is important because you might be able to come back to the U.S. in the future if you leave voluntarily.