Deportation, as defined by US immigration law, is the formal removal of an alien from the United States when the alien has been found removable for violating the immigration laws. It is ordered by an immigration judge without any punishment being imposed or contemplated. Under the current immigration law, this is now called “removal”. Those who are deported from the United States are sent back to his or her home country.
The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE is the government agency in charge of immigration enforcement inside the United States including deportation and immigration detention. These functions were formerly fulfilled by the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS). But when Department of Homeland Security took over the INS in 2003, it created the ICE for deportation and detention.
When a removal proceeding is commenced, ICE is the agency in charge of the arrest and detention of a person being subject to removal proceeding. A “notice to appear”, which explains why you are being deported and indicates the place and date of the immigration hearing, must be given within 72 hours of the arrest. You must appear in front of an immigration judge, in fact, you must attend all deportation hearings because you may be ordered removed even when you miss your court date. Once the judge finds you deportable, he will order your deportation, or what is called “removal order." ICE will then escort you to a plane or bus headed to your home country. However, a judge may also allow you to depart the United States voluntarily. By doing so, you will have no deportation order or removal order on your record when you leave the US on your own. You may also be given a number of days to wrap up your affairs and leave.
Commonly known to be subject to deportation are the undocumented people who enter the US either legally but overstayed or illegally from the start. But it is important to know that anyone who is not a US citizen may be subject to deportation. This means that even those with valid US visas and even green cards may be deported or removed.
For example, a person who entered the United States with a valid tourist visa and failed to depart prior to his authorized stay may find himself in removal proceedings. A similar fate can happen to a person on a student visa fails to maintain his student status, may find himself in removal proceedings.
A greencard holder can be the subject of removal proceedings if you are unlawfully present in the United States, entered the US illegally, helped smuggle someone into the US, committed marriage fraud, became a public charge or falsely claimed to be a US citizen.
A greencard holder can also be deported if he has a criminal arrest or conviction. Examples are almost any drug conviction including even simple possession or a misdemeanor, theft offenses, depending on your immigration status and the sentence you received, violent crimes such as assault, battery, rape or murder, domestic violence convictions or convictions for violating an order of protection, any conviction for sex offenses including consensual sex with a minor, gun convictions.
When the immigration judge orders for your deportation, you may appeal your case to the Board of Immigration Appeals and the Federal Court of Appeals. If you find yourself in this predicament, it is important that you find yourself an experienced immigration lawyer to help you with your case. If you do not have a lawyer yet during your hearing, you have all the right to inform the immigration judge that you want to hire an attorney. Do not make the mistake of not asking for one and trying to argue your case by yourself. Remember anything you say or do can be used against you.
Atty. Michael Templo is an attorney admitted to practice law in New York State and Federal Courts and is a partner at Templo & Templo http://www.templolaw.com with offices in New York, USA and Makati City, Philippines. Atty. Templo specializes in US Immigration matters. He also hosts “Crossing Borders”, a weekly immigration show which airs every Thursday at 10:30PM on ANC and 2:30PM on TFC crossingborderstv.multiply.com. The discussion above is not intended as legal advice, and cannot be relied upon for any purpose without the services of a qualified professional. For your comments and questions, Atty. Templo can be reached at [email protected] or log on to www.templolaw.com.