Deportation, now known as removal, occurs for a number of reasons. First, if you are present in the United States illegally, you can be placed in removal proceedings and then removed from the country. This can happen anytime you are present without status. Second, if you are a permanent resident (green card holder) you can also be placed in removal proceedings if you meet certain requirements.
The grounds of removability for residents can be found in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, §237(a)(1). There are several non-criminal grounds for removability, including failure to report a change of address, committing marriage or document fraud, or smuggling another alien into the country.
The criminal grounds for removability include: committing a crime of moral turpitude, committing an aggravated felony, committing a crime involving controlled substances, firearms or domestic violence. There is no set definition of a crime of moral turpitude or an aggravated felony; therefore it is important that you have an immigration attorney involved in your case to ensure that you receive the best outcome available to you. An immigrant may also be removed if they are a security threat to the country.
If you are deemed removable by the government, they will issue a Notice to Appear and a court hearing will be scheduled for you. If you have committed a crime, you may be arrested and detained throughout the court proceedings. If an immigration judge decides that you should be removed from the country, you will be deported to your country of residence.
There are many defenses available to individuals who are placed in removal proceedings. What defenses are available to you will depend on the specifics of your case. It is important for you to discuss any criminal issues with your attorney honestly. Your attorney can only determine how to proceed with your case if you tell him or her everything about your criminal and immigration history. Please contact us for a free initial consultation and evaluation of your particular case.
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