Removal proceedings refers to a process during which the U.S. government seeks to deport a foreign national. The process begins with the filing of a Notice to Appear (NTA) with the immigration court. The NTA is a kind of charging document in which the U.S. government describes the reasons why it is seeking to deport a particular foreign national. Foreign nationals are deported for many reasons including committing immigration offenses such as being present in the U.S. without inspection and admission (entering the U.S. illegally), committing certain offenses such as alien smuggling or drug trafficking, and being convicted of certain crimes.
During removal proceedings the U.S. government is represented by an attorney from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (DHS ICE). The foreign national has the right to be represented by an attorney during removal proceedings, but is required to pay for representation out of his or her own pocket. During proceedings the DHS bears the burden of proving the foreign national is deportable. If deportability is established, the foreign national, if eligible, will be able to apply for relief from deportation. It is important to consult with an attorney prior to attending your hearing in order to assess whether you are deportable or removable as charged as well as any potential eligibility for relief.
Mandatory Detention and Bond Proceedings
Throughout the proceedings, the foreign national may be detained in immigration detention. If he or she is eligible for an immigration bond, he or she may apply for an immigration bond before an immigration judge. The foreign national will need to prove that he or she is not a flight risk and is not a danger to the community. Generally, the foreign national will only have one opportunity to apply for a bond, so it is extremely important to be represented by an immigration attorney when applying.
Certain foreign nationals will not be eligible for bond because he or she is subject to mandatory detention. If the foreign national has been convicted of certain crimes, he or she may be subject to mandatory detention. Even if the foreign national is subject to mandatory detention, in the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the foreign national may be eligible to apply for bond if he or she is detained for longer than six months. To determine eligibility for bond, please contact us.
Relief from Removal
There are various forms of relief available a foreign national may apply for in order to avoid being removed or deported from the U.S. Common forms of relief include, but are not limited to the following: cancellation of removal for lawful permanent residents, cancellation of removal for nonlawful permanent residents, adjustment of status (green card application), asylum, withholding of removal, deferral of removal under the U.N. Convention Against Torture, administrative closure of proceedings based on a favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion, termination of proceedings (i.e. foreign national is not removable as charged), derivative citizenship claims, deferred action for certain childhood arrivals (DACA), waivers of inadmissibility, etc. If you are in deportation proceedings, you need to consult with an experienced attorney to determine your eligibility for relief.
Appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals
Any decision made by an immigration judge can be appealed. The appeal must be received by the appellate authority, Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), within 30 days of the immigration judge’s decision. We have successfully challenged many decisions made by an immigration judge in appeals to the BIA. Please call our office to schedule an appointment to discuss your case.
Appeals to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals
If the BIA has denied the foreign national’ appeal, he or she may petition the federal circuit of appeals in his or her jurisdiction for review of the BIA’s decision. To do so, the foreign national must submit his or her Petition for Review within 30 days of the BIA’s decision. Due to the short amount of time to file a Petition for Review, the foreign national must consult with an attorney immediately to determine if he or she should seek review of the BIA’s decision.
Motions to Reopen
In certain situations, a foreign national may be eligible to seek reopening of his or her prior removal or deportation case. Generally, a motion to reopen must be filed within 90 days of entry of the order of removal. There are certain exceptions that may apply to the 90 day filing period. For example, if the government agrees to reopen your proceedings you can move to reopen your case beyond the 90 day filing period. Generally, a foreign national only has one opportunity to move to reopen proceedings; therefore, it is extremely important to consult with and retain a competent immigration attorney. We have successfully reopened removal cases for many clients for various reasons. To determine whether you are eligible to reopen your removal proceedings, please contact our office.