Deportation is the formal removal of an immigrant or non-citizen from the United States. There are several reasons that an immigrant can get sent to their country of origin. These reasons depend on what kind of immigrants they are.
Deportation lawyers from Law Offices of Robert Tsigler explain what types of immigrants can get deported and the possible grounds for their deportation:
Who can get deported?
Undocumented immigrants, or illegal aliens, get deported because they either crossed the border and entered the United States illegally or came to the country illegally but have stayed beyond the permitted time detailed in their temporary visa.
Documented immigrants who are still within their permitted time can get deported, too. Depending on their purpose for staying in the country, they can get removed if they violate their terms. Tourists, for example, can get deported if they receive work and compensation, and international students may face deportation if they violate student visa rules.
Even green-card holders, who are considered permanent residents, can also be deported for violating specific immigration laws.
Grounds for deportation
Upon deportation, the authorities will utilize an immigrant’s conviction as a reason for the order of removal. The Immigration and Nationality Act, or the Hart-Celler Act, was enacted in 1965 to reorganize the structure of immigration law and has since served as the basis of immigration policy. It provides definitions for immigrants or non-citizens and possible grounds for deportation.
Section 238 of the Immigration and Nationality Act lists the expedited removal of aliens convicted of aggravated felonies. An aggravated felony falls into three types:
- Crimes that are always aggravated felonies: kidnapping, drug trafficking, human trafficking, rape, prostitution, sexual abuse of minors, child pornography
- Crimes that count as aggravated felonies if the sentence exceeds a year: bribery, burglary, counterfeiting, forgery, perjury, theft, obstruction of justice
- Crimes that count as aggravated felonies if the victim’s loss exceeds $10,000: fraud, tax evasion, money laundering
Crimes involving moral turpitude
- Aggravated assault
- Attempted lewd acts on a minor
- Child abuse
- Domestic violence
- Failure to register as a sex offender
- Felony hit and run
Drug crimes and firearms offenses
- Conscious possession of any controlled substance (cocaine, heroin, LSD, peyote, and prescription drugs) without medical prescription
- Purchasing, selling, using, owning, and carrying any firearm or destructive device
● Domestic battery
- Corporal injury to a spouse
- Child abuse
- Child endangerment
- Child neglect
- Elder abuse
- Aggravated trespass
Acts that can be classified as dangerous misconduct and endanger the security of other natural citizens are grounds for deportation. Section 237, Article 4 (A) lists three sub-clauses outlining distinct grounds:
- Putting public safety and national security in peril
- Intentions to overthrow the government
- Terrorist activities
- Participation in Nazi persecution
- Participation in genocide
- Commission of acts of torture and extrajudicial killing
- Recipient of military-style training from terrorist organizations
Who handles deportations?
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) handle everyday immigration matters, especially the application process. They can also send non-citizens for removal proceedings significantly if they exceed the approved number of years and have no right to remain in the country.
USCIS hearings are less formal than the usual court proceedings and have less regard for evidence. Witnesses are allowed to testify for the immigrant, and the judge will decide at the end.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement
For any non-citizens arrested for crimes, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) handles immigration enforcement matters after prison time.
Customs and Border Protection
The Customs and Border Protection guard the United States’ territorial border and other points of entry. They have the power to expedite removals for matters concerning these points of entry and skip official removal proceedings.
Executive Office for Immigration Review
The final decision maker who dictates any matters concerning the previous agencies is the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). Aliens may defend themselves against the removal and prove their right to remain in the country. The EOIR holds the removal proceedings and has the power to override the deportation order.
What should an immigrant facing deportation do?
One of the things you can do when faced with a deportation charge is to voluntarily depart from the country before the removal proceeding is completed. However, if you’re not comfortable with this option and you’re undocumented, you can apply for the adjustment of status proceeding to apply for a lawful permanent resident status.
Some Amerasian immigrants who faced any form of abuse by a family member who is a U.S. citizen or resident filed a petition to legitimize their immigrant status through applications I-360 and AOS. They often seek the help of an immigration lawyer who will gather information to draft their application and affidavit. In the said affidavit, it must be shown that the applicant experienced a substantial form of psychological, emotional, verbal, physical, sexual, and financial abuse by their American family member.
Their affidavit must also show that they maintained good moral character while they’re in the United States. They should also show that they have not been involved in any criminal infractions and have respected the United States of America laws. Aside from that, they should also attest that they have been an active member of the community.
Furthermore, the U.S. Constitution grants a few rights for immigrants. Among these is the right to a lawyer. Immigrant authorities are obligated to refrain from immediate deportation and allow the immigrant a chance to be heard. Of course, this only applies to immigrants that can provide documentation of their entry.
Being faced with deportation charges could be life-altering. The fact that you’re far from your home country, family, and friends are already troubling, much more being forced to go to a foreign court to fight your case. If you find yourself in this situation, know that you’re not alone.
Immigrants that believe they have a right to remain in the country can insist on a hearing with representation to defend them. New York City especially has several experienced deportation lawyers due to the number of immigration cases held in the city. If you find yourself facing a deportation case, remember to seek NYC deportation help from a seasoned lawyer.