The United States of America is a “melting pot.” Citizens from countries around the world come here to work, live, have families, and become part of what makes this country such a desirable place to live. Throughout its history, the United States has passed laws regarding “aliens” or “non-citizens.” These laws, known as the U.S. immigration laws, determine when a non-citizen may or may not be admitted, how long and for what purpose(s) they may be admitted, and under what circumstances they may be removed.
Were you admitted to the U.S. on a work visa; do you hold a “green card” with legal permanent resident status; were you granted asylum or refugee status; or are you attempting to be legally admitted to the United States? The U.S. government has the right to remove you from this country or deny your admission if you have been convicted of certain crimes or have violated the immigration laws. If you or a loved one is facing the possibility of removal through deportation or denial of admission, you need the services of an immigration law firm like CF Abogados.
What is Deportation and Removal, and Who Has Oversight?
In 1996, the U.S. Congress passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA), which greatly altered the immigration laws. Aside from substantive changes, IIRIRA also changed some well-known immigration terms. For example, the term “entry,” which referred to entering the United States, became “admission.” Also, the term “deportation,” which referred to the process by which a non-citizen was forced to leave the United States, became “removal.”
Removing a non-citizen from the United States is still commonly referred to as “deportation.” More accurately, and usually in the case of a non-citizen without legal status or an admission, is that the non-citizen is found to be “inadmissible” and therefore removed—or not admitted. On the other hand, a non-citizen who has legal status or admission is usually found “deportable” and therefore removed. Whether a non-citizen is found “inadmissible” or “deportable,” they are subject to the same removal proceedings.
Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the U.S. Congress passed the Homeland Security Act. The Homeland Security Act created three new agencies—Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP)—within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to replace the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).
What Can Lead to Deportation or Removal?
A person in the United States who does not have citizenship status can be removed under certain circumstances. These include:
- Being present in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act or other U.S. immigration law
- Violating non-immigrant status or a condition of entry into the U.S.
- Terminating conditional permanent resident status
- Encouraging or aiding another non-citizen to enter the United States illegally
- Engaging in marriage fraud to gain admission to the United States
- Being convicted of certain criminal offenses
- Failing to register or falsifying documents related to entry into the United States
- Engaging in any activity that endangers public safety or creates a risk to national security
- Engaging in unlawful voting.
Criminal offenses that may lead to removal include:
- aggravated felonies
- drug crimes
- firearm crimes
- domestic violence
- crimes of moral turpitude (e.g., theft, forgery, robbery, fraud, etc.)
Whether you are present in the United States with status (you hold a green card, a student or work visa, or have been granted asylum or refugee status), are seeking admission to or are present in the United States without status, violation of the immigration laws or a criminal conviction may result in the U.S. government initiating removal proceedings against you.
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What Happens in Kentucky during the Removal Process?
ICE is the principal investigative and enforcement arm of DHS. If ICE determines that it has grounds to remove a non-citizen, it issues a Notice to Appear (NTA) to the non-citizen, charging them under a particular ground of removability. ICE also files the NTA with the immigration court, which begins removal proceedings.
The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), part of the Department of Justice, contains both the immigration court and the Board of Immigration Appeals. The immigration court and ICE are within separate agencies. ICE is the police and prosecutor, tasked with enforcing the law. The immigration court is tasked with making sure the law is followed correctly and a non-citizen’s rights are respected.
Once the NTA is filed, a master calendar hearing is held before an immigration judge. The immigration judge must first determine whether a non-citizen is removable as charged in the NTA. If the immigration judge rules that a non-citizen is removable, the non-citizen is given the opportunity to apply for relief from removal.
Relief from removal can include (among other things): cancellation of removal for permanent and non-permanent residents, asylum, victim of certain crimes, U.S. citizen spouse, etc. A non-citizen ineligible for another form of relief may ask the immigration judge for voluntary departure. Voluntary departure may allow a non-citizen to legally return to the United States more quickly than with a removal order.
What Should You Do if You Are Facing Removal from This Country?
If you are a non-citizen in the United States and are facing possible removal by ICE, you are surely considering how this will affect your family’s future. You may have already lost the job that put food on the table and provided a safe home for your family. The education and economic stability you hoped would be part of your children’s future seems impossible. You should never give up on the American dream. Representation by a dedicated immigration attorney may mean the difference between being allowed to remain in the United States or removal.
A deportation attorney at CF Abogados is ready to help you in your fight against removal from the United States.
Call CF Abogados today at (859) 838-1413, or fill out the online contact form to GET HELP NOW.