What is Deportation?

Deportation is a person’s formal removal from the United States for violating an immigration law. When the U.S. wants to deport someone who legally entered the country, it’s a process – it doesn’t simply happen overnight. Generally speaking, people who are or may be deported go before a judge; the judge makes a decision on the case. However, the government can immediately deport people who enter the U.S. without travel documents (or with forged travel documents) under an order of expedited removal.

Usually, a person who is in danger of deportation receives a “Notice of Removal Proceedings.” If you receive a notice like this, you have the right to consult an attorney and have a lawyer represent you during your case. The immigration court will not appoint an attorney for you, though, so it’s up to you to find your own lawyer if you want legal representation.

Trying to survive deportation processing By Yourself is a difficult endeavor. The procedures are complicated; the options are challenging to understand and recognize.

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The Deportation Process

The United States won’t attempt to deport a person unless the government believes it has a valid reason to order someone to leave. The government can deport foreign nationals who participate in criminal acts, pose a threat to public safety or violate the conditions of a visa.

Most people who enter the U.S. legally and are in the country on a visa or with a green card receive a “Notice of Removal Proceedings.” This notice lets you know that you’re going to have to go before an immigration judge. 

Here’s how it typically works:

Deportation Defense in Texas

You may have the option of leaving the United States voluntarily, before you complete removal proceedings. 

In some cases, this can be a good idea (although you’ll want to talk to your attorney before you make a decision). 

Sometimes if you leave voluntarily, you have the option of applying for reentry to the United States in the future.

If the judge orders you deported, you may be able to appeal your case. Many people work with Houston immigration attorneys to appeal deportation orders; that way, they get answers throughout the process, they know what’s happening with their cases, and they have someone to fight in their corner when it matters most.

Most people who are deported from the United States are flown to the receiving country, although some trips involve ground transportation, as well. The U.S. government pays for the trip.

If you, your family members or your employee has been put into deportation processing, you should find experienced counsel to help guide and support you through the process.

What to Do if You’re Facing Deportation

Being removed from the U.S. can be terrifying – even getting notice that you may be removed from the country can be scary. Many people choose to work with a proactive, knowledgeable and understanding attorney. Your best bet may be to call a lawyer for a free consultation and ask the following questions:

These are all things you need to know before you hire an immigration attorney for deportation defense.

Deportation Questions

Deportation can be confusing, so here are some answers to our most frequently asked questions. If you don’t see the answers you need here, please feel free to call us and set up a free consultation with an immigration attorney.

How Long Does the Deportation Process Take?

The deportation process starts when you receive a Notice to Appear from immigration authorities and ends when a judge makes a decision on your case. The process itself can take several months to complete.

What is Cancellation of Removal?

In some cases, lawful permanent residents who are supposed to be deported qualify for cancellation of removal. This isn’t available to everyone, but if it applies to you, you may qualify for a cancellation waiver if you:

Some people are also able to avoid deportation by showing the immigration court that deportation would cause an exceptional hardship to immediate family members, provided that those family members are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.

What is Temporary Protected Status?

Temporary protected status, or TPS, is sometimes available to nationals from certain countries. These people are allowed to remain in the United States until conditions in their home countries have improved, but once TPS is lifted, the deportation proceedings typically continue.

What is Voluntary Departure?

Voluntary departure allows someone to leave the United States at his or her own expense and avoid some of the consequences of an official deportation. You may be able to request voluntary departure:

Not everyone is allowed to use voluntary departure to avoid negative consequences. 

For example, you can’t use it if you’re convicted of an aggravated felony or a terrorism offense.

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Can You Ever Come Back to the U.S. if You’ve Been Deported?

Some people are allowed to return to the United States after being deported, but not everyone. After you’re deported, the U.S. government will ban you from returning for a specific period of time. Sometimes that’s as few as five years, but in other cases, the bar to returning is permanent and you can never legally come back.

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Can You Be Deported if You’re Married to a U.S. Citizen?

You can be deported if you’re married to a U.S. citizen. However, you may be able to argue that your deportation would cause an undue hardship on your U.S. citizen spouse, and the immigration court may agree. There is no way to predict how an immigration judge will rule, though.

Can You Be Deported if You Have a Green Card?

You can be deported if you have a green card. A green card denotes lawful permanent residency in the United States, but it is not a guarantee that you will be allowed to stay in the U.S. forever – if you commit a deportable offense, the U.S. government can order you removed from the country.

Can You Be Deported if You’re a Naturalized Citizen of the U.S.?

Although it’s exceptionally rare, a naturalized citizen of the U.S. can have his or her citizenship revoked. The process is called denaturalization, and when a person is denaturalized, he or she is deportable and can be removed from the country.

Again, denaturalization and deportation of U.S. citizens is rare (and it cannot happen to people with birthright citizenship), but it can occur if someone falsifies or hides facts on immigration applications, refuses to testify before congress, or holds membership in a subversive group.

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If a person is naturalized because he or she served in the U.S. military but is later dishonorably discharged from the military, he or she can be denaturalized and deported as well.

How Will I Know if I have a Deportation Order?

If you have been to immigration court, you may have a deportation order; the judge in your case will let you know. If you have not been to immigration court, you may want to speak with an attorney who can check for you; otherwise, you have to interact with the immigration court or U.S. Customs and Immigration Services.

What is Expedited Removal?

Expedited removal is a process by which immigration officers can deport noncitizens who are undocumented, or those who have committed fraud or misrepresented facts on an immigration application.

Immigration officials often use expedited removal to deport people who arrive at the U.S. border without the proper authorization to enter the United States, as well as people who remain within 100 miles of the Mexican or Canadian border and are apprehended within two weeks of arrival in the U.S. without documentation.

Expedited removal allows for people to be deported from the United States without the due process protections that most other people get, including the right to consult with an attorney or to have a judge hear the case.

Are You Facing Deportation?

If you’re facing deportation – or if you’re not sure whether there’s a deportation order in place for you – it’s probably a good idea to speak with one of our Houston attorneys. Call us today to set up a free, one-hour consultation so we can get you the help you need.

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