A Brief Overview of the Removal Process

Whether you are in the United States legally on a visa or illegally as an undocumented alien, the idea of having to go through the removal process (commonly called deportation) can be quite frightening. While this is certainly something that you want to avoid at all costs, going through the process does not always mean you will have to leave the country. If you have a good immigration attorney fighting on your behalf—like those at Sánchez-Roig Law Firm, P.A.—there may be ways to allow you to remain in the country.

No matter the situation, however, it is good to have at least a good introductory understanding of how the removal process works so you can know what to expect.

Beginning the Removal Process

There are a number of things that can trigger the beginning of the removal process. If you are in the US as an undocumented alien, it may start due to an arrest that alerts Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to your presence, or some other catalyst that causes ICE to believe you are violating US immigration law. If you are here on a visa, some violation (or perceived violation) may be what gets the ball rolling.

In either case, you will be notified with a Notice to Appear document that sets a date on which you must appear before an immigration judge. This notification will tell you when you need to appear, where to appear and what violation you are accused of. When you get this notice, you will want to retain an immigration attorney right away.

Options for Relief from the Removal Process

When appearing in front of the judge there are a number of options that an attorney can pursue to allow you to stay in the country:

  • Asylum – If returning to your home country could cause some type of persecution, you may be able to apply for asylum, allowing you to remain in the US as a lawful permanent resident.
  • Prosecutorial Discretion – The judges have the ability to ‘put aside’ certain cases using their own discretion as long as you can show that you don’t present any security issues to the country.
  • Adjustment of Status – If you have some qualifying situation that makes it possible for you to become a lawful permanent resident, you can apply for this. For example, this may be possible if you are related to or have married a US Citizen.
  • Cancellation of Removal – The cancellation of removal is an option that can cancel the removal process and also get you a green card in many cases. This is a good option if you have been in the US for 7+ years with at least the last five years being as a lawful permanent resident. There are a number of other requirements that your attorney will be sure you meet in order to seek this option.
  • Motions to Suppress — If evidence that the government intends to use against you in order to have you deported was obtained illegally, your attorney may be able to prevent the evidence from being introduced in immigration court. Keep in mind, no matter your immigration status you still have constitutional rights in the US.

Working within the System

Many people who receive a notice to appear believe that this automatically means they will be deported, so they never show up for their court date. This is the biggest mistake one can make. By working within the system with an experienced immigration attorney, there is often a very good chance of having the removal process canceled. If you don’t show up for court, however, the chances of being able to stay in the country legally are very low.

If you or a loved one is facing the prospect of deportation, please do not hesitate to contact Sánchez-Roig Law Firm, P.A. today and let us fight to defend your rights. Give us a call today to learn how we can help!