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Eligible immigrants can have their deportation process terminated

Deportation or Removal is a process where the United States government takes legal action to remove a non-citizen from the U.S.

Those subject to removal are people who are in the US without lawful status, who may have overstayed their visa, or those who worked without permission. Additionally, even though green card holders have lawful status they are also subject to removal if they commit certain crimes or violate certain immigration laws. A non-citizen/visitor can also be put in removal proceedings based on inadmissibility grounds, which is determined at the time of admission on arrival to the US. Or when that person tries to adjust their status to that of a permanent resident. Inadmissibility grounds are much broader than deportability grounds and requires a separate discussion.

The removal process is initiated by the issuance of a Notice to Appear, known as  an “NTA”, which is an official notice from the government ordering the non-citizen to appear before a judge at in an immigration court. The non-citizen must defend himself or herself to stay in the United States. Hiring or consulting with an experienced immigration attorney is advisable under any removal process to determine what relief or benefit you may be eligible for.

If eligible, individuals in deportation removal proceedings can apply for an immigration benefit. And if it is granted, you can get your removal proceedings terminated. Generally, reliefs from removal include adjustment of status (permanent residence), cancelation of removal, asylum, withholding of removal or certain waivers.


Do

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  • read the Notice to Appear (NTA)
  • use free online service to locate someone who is detained by ICE
  • use 1-800-898-7180 (toll-free) number to obtain information about the case that is pending before the Immigration Court
  • read instructions about how to apply for a benefit because your application may be delayed or dismissed by an Immigration Judge
  • consult with an immigration attorney if you or someone you know is put in removal proceedings
Don’t

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  • miss the hearing date if you are scheduled to appear before the Immigration Judge
  • forget to inform the government that you are filing the motion to reopen the In Absentia Order based on lack of notice
  • forget to ask the Government to exercise prosecutorial discretion and move to administratively close your
  • forget to consider DACA as a potential relief from removal proceedings
  • seek legal advice from notarios

Do

Do read the Notice to Appear (NTA)

Removal proceedings begin when the government files a Notice to Appear (NTA), Form I-862 with the Immigration Court after it is served on you or someone you know. NTA will inform the non-citizen about his or her acts or conduct alleged to be in violation of the law, the charges against him or her and the statutory provision(s) alleged to be violated, the consequences of failing to appear at scheduled hearings, the opportunity to be represented by an attorney at no expense to the government, and the requirement that the non-citizen has to provide the Attorney General with a written record of an address and a telephone number.

Read it all thoroughly. If you see incorrect information or there is something you do not understand, consult with an immigration attorney.

Do use free online service to locate someone who is detained by ICE

This is very helpful when trying to locate a family member or friend who may have been detained.  If you are trying to find someone who was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency, use the Online Detainee Locator System which can be found at ice.gov  Use the search option on the web page to find the Detainee Locator System by entering the name as the keyword.

There are two ways to use this online system. First, you can search by the detainee’s alien number and the country of birth, or secondly, you can search by the detainee’s full name, country of birth, and date of birth. This service will not work if the person that is detained by ICE is under the age of 18. Also be aware that it takes time for ICE to update their system, so if someone was just detained they may not appear in the search results right away.

Do use 1-800-898-7180 (toll-free) number to obtain information about the case that is pending before the Immigration Court

The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) established an electronic phone system so people can access immigration court information. Dial 1-800-898-7180 to obtain basic case status information. The automated immigration court information system was activated on July 1, 1995. You can obtain the following information by phone:

  • Next hearing date, time, and location;
  • Case processing information;
  • Immigration judge decision outcome and date;
  • Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) case appeal information, including appeal due date, brief due date, decision outcome and date; and
  • Filing information.

To access case information, callers must use the alien registration number, which begins with the letter A and is followed by an 8- or 9-digit number.This number is printed on all Department of Homeland Security and EOIR correspondence. After entering the automated phone system, and when directed by the voice prompt enter the 9 digit number (but not the letter A) to retrieve case information. If the Alien (A) number has 8 digits, please enter zero (0) followed by the 8 digit number.

Do read instructions about how to apply for a benefit because your application may be delayed or dismissed by an Immigration Judge

If you seek relief from removal, it is important that you follow any instructions given by the Immigration Judge or the government attorney. You must tell the judge what relief you are seeking. You’ll get “Pre-Order Instructions” on how to apply for that relief. Read them thoroughly. If you do it right, you’ll receive a notification from USCIS scheduling you for fingerprinting and photographs.

Do consult with an immigration attorney if you or someone you know is put in removal proceedings

The US Immigration Laws are very complex and constantly changing. With the help of an experienced immigration attorney, you will have a much greater chance of getting yourself or the detained person out on bond, reducing a bond, obtaining relief, getting the proceedings terminated or even administratively closed.

It is important to remember that certain procedures must be followed when seeking relief or filing an appeal. A simple mistake can cause you or someone you know to lose their case and be removed from the US. An experienced immigration attorney will help you avoid costly mistakes and advise your on the current and in some case not yet enacted laws that may apply to you. Once you have been removed from the US, you may be barred from coming back for a period of up to 10 years and in some cases, 20 years and/or permanently.


Don't

Do not miss the hearing date if you are scheduled to appear before the Immigration Judge

When you are given an NTA there is description of the consequences of not appearing at your hearing. The Immigration Judge will go ahead and conduct the hearing without you and order you removed from the US. This is called an In Absentia Hearing.

During this hearing, the government will have to establish that you are removable and that the written notice of the time and place of proceedings and consequences of failure to appear were provided to you or your attorney. It is very difficult to rescind this type of an order, but it is possible. You will have to file a motion to reopen your case before the judge who issued the order. Then prove to that judge that you either did not receive notice of the hearing, or that you did not appear at your hearing because of exceptional circumstances.

However the consequences of missing your hearing now have also lessened your chance for obtaining relief. If you have the In Absentia Order, you are ineligible to seek the following reliefs from removal:

1) Voluntary Departure;
2) Cancelation of Removal and
3) Adjustment of Status or Change of Status.

Furthermore, you will need to apply for a waiver of Inadmissibility if you have an In Absentia Order and are seeking entry admission to the US within 5 years of your subsequent departure. This type of a waiver is not easily granted and it requires a showing of extreme hardship to a qualifying relative such as parents or spouses who U.S. citizens or green card holders.

Do not forget to inform the government that you are filing the motion to reopen the In Absentia Order based on lack of notice

If you discovered that there is an In Absentia Removal Order issued by the Immigration Judge and it was issued in your absence and without your knowledge, you should file a motion to reopen based on lack of notice immediately. Make sure that you inform the government that you are filing or already have filed this motion so that the government does not remove you from the US. An automatic stay of removal goes into effect once the motion is filed with the court until the judge decides on your motion.

Do not forget to ask the Government to exercise prosecutorial discretion and move to administratively close your

You may have no reliefs available to you, but you can still ask the government to exercise prosecutorial discretion to administratively close your case. There is no form and no filing fee. If you are considering this option, I strongly suggest you seek legal counsel before you submit this request to the government. Prosecutorial discretion is not an immigration benefit. It will only suspend your removal proceedings. The government can reopen your case at any time.

Do not forget to consider DACA as a potential relief from removal proceedings

If you meet certain criteria, you should inform the Immigration Judge and the government that you want to submit a request for consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival to USCIS. You may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals if you:

  1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
  2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday
  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time
  4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS
  5. Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012
  6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States, and
  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

The Immigration Judge is likely to set a new hearing date giving you enough time to prepare, and mail the application to USCIS.

Do not seek legal advice from notarios

Notarios or “immigration consultants” cannot provide legal advice and in some cases offer incorrect advice which costs you money and puts you at greater risk for removal from the US. Notarios are non-attorneys who may offer limited non-legal assistance. They generally translate or notarize documents, conduct English courses, fill out forms or refer you to an attorney. Beware that some notarios cheat, and they can trick you by giving you legal advice which can jeopardize your application. Protect yourself and your family from immigration fraud by seeking legal advice only from a licensed attorney whose practice focuses on immigration law.


Summary

This article is designed to give you some familiarity with the removal process in the United States. It explains what the Notice to Appear (NTA) is, how removal proceedings begin, how to find someone in ICE custody and obtain information about the case that is pending before the Immigration Court. This article covers the types of reliefs available, the consequences of failing to appear and what to do if you have an In Absentia Order based on lack of notice or exceptional circumstances. This article also explains why it is so important to seek legal  advice from an experienced immigration attorney and how to identify notario fraud.

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