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Those who are facing possible deportation proceedings are likely frightened, anxious, frustrated and even traumatized by the potential outcome. In some instances removal proceedings are started due to a criminal conviction or from a violation of immigration laws, whether unintended or with full knowledge. Other deportation proceedings are initiated due to a person entering the U.S. without proper documentation.


When Immigration and Custom Enforcement instigate a deportation proceeding, a hearing will be held at an immigration court located throughout the United States in most major cities. The foreign-born person will be required to appear at the immigration court for a hearing. At this time the charges will be read, and the person could request an extension of time or relief. Depending on the circumstances the person may be arrested although a bond may allow release during the process.


There are a variety of forms of relief including the following:

  •          Voluntary departure
  •          Cancellation of removal
  •          Asylum and withholding of removal
  •          Waivers of excludability and deportability
  •          Adjustment of status to permanent residence
  •          Suspension of deportation
  •          Legalization and registry

Factors Which May Help the Person Under Threat of Removal

Certain factors which may work in the favor of a person under threat of deportation and removal proceedings include strong ties to the community, employment history and family as well as a history of community involvement (volunteer positions, church membership, etc.) Those who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States have a better chance of avoiding deportation as do those who own property. Evidence of good moral character will always work in the favor of a person under threat of deportation.


Why You Need an Attorney during Deportation and Removal Proceedings

On the date of the hearing, the respondent may be represented by an attorney of their choice. Unlike proceedings for a U.S. citizen, the respondent in a deportation case is not entitled to representation and no attorney will be provided. Because of this it is definitely in the best interests of the respondent to obtain legal representation as soon as they have been served a Notice to Appear. Removal and deportation proceedings are among the most complicated processes in immigration law.


Because there are so many different types of relief from removal, having an attorney by your side who can guide you through the process, evaluate the evidence presented by the U.S. government and prepare appropriate arguments for your specific case can mean the difference between being deported and being allowed to remain in the U.S. Once your attorney has filed an application for relief, a date for a merits hearing will be set—this court date could be within a few days, or, depending on the court backlog, could be set for as long as a year away. During the merits hearing the respondent’s attorney can present all evidence to the court which support the application for relief from removal. Witnesses may be called and the respondent may choose to testify on their own behalf. When the merit hearing concludes, the Judge will issue a decision.


The process for deportation and removal proceedings sounds like a complicated maze—it is. The immigration attorneys of Sullo&Sullo want to help you obtain a successful result in your deportation case. We are compassionate to your plight and will always explain your options clearly.

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