A record number of legal and illegal immigrants have immigration cases pending in immigration court across the United States. Immigration attorney Gail S. Seeram has been defending and advocating for immigrants in immigration court since 1999. With deportations from the U.S. up 28% under the Trump Presidency, it is important for people to understand their rights once placed in removal or deportation proceedings in immigration court.
If a noncitizen is placed in removal or deportation proceedings, the biggest mistake is to opt for “expedited removal” and waiver (or give up) his/her right for a judicial hearing. All noncitizen should choose to see an immigration judge and fight removal or deportation proceedings – our office would be willing to defend and advocate for any noncitizen’s right to remain in the United States.
Removal proceedings (or “deportation”) can be initiated against a lawful permanent resident or undocumented noncitizen (collectively referred to as “noncitizens”). Removal & deportation proceedings can be initiated when a noncitizen (including a lawful permanent resident) is seeking admission to the United States, filing an application for an immigration benefit (such as U.S. Citizenship or renewing/replacing a “green card”), serving a sentence for a criminal conviction (such as probation, community service or prison), or detained by local police for a criminal matter.
There are several grounds under the Immigration & Nationality Act that the United States government can seek removal & deportation against a noncitizen. In general, the removal & deportation grounds include: criminal grounds, immigration violations, visa and passport fraud, alien smuggling, willful misrepresentation and false claim to U.S. citizenship, unlawful presence, illegal reentry after a prior deportation, security and foreign policy grounds, public charge and economic grounds, health related grounds, and other miscellaneous grounds.
The following are considered criminal grounds: a noncitizen’s conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude, multiple crimes involving moral turpitude, aggravated felony, firearm offenses, money laundering, and domestic violence. Note, a conviction for a misdemeanor where there was no probation or jail time may be considered a “crime involving moral turpitude” and can result in a noncitizen being place in removal & deportation proceedings.
While in removal & deportation proceedings, the noncitizen may be released on his/her own recognizance with no restrictions. In some cases, the noncitizen may be held in custody at a detention facility by the Department of Homeland Security – Immigration Custom & Enforcement (ICE), issued an order of supervision where the noncitizen reports to an immigration officer, released on monetary bond, or released on an electronic monitoring device (such as an “anklet bracelet”).
During the removal & deportation proceedings, the noncitizen will have several court hearings – a bond hearing, a master hearing and an individual hearing. At each of these hearings, the noncitizen will appear before an immigration judge and an attorney from the Office of Chief Counsel. Through his/her immigration attorney, the noncitizen will have an opportunity to answer to the immigration-related charges and present a form of relief or waiver seeking to remain in the United States.
Under the Immigration & Nationality Act (or immigration laws), the noncitizen may seek to apply for any of the following waivers or relief from removal once he/she meets the requirements: cancellation of removal, 212(c), adjustment of status, citizenship, 212(h) waiver, asylum, withholding of removal, convention against torture, temporary protected status and voluntary departure.
For more information on immigration court, email Gail@GailLaw.com or call 1-877-GAIL-LAW or 407-292-7730.
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