For immigrants across the country, the threat of deportation is one of the most stressful aspects of daily life. Being uprooted from your job, family, and friends with no say whatsoever is heartbreaking.
Individuals who are at risk of deportation need to take the necessary precautions to lessen their risk of being deported. While it is possible to slow or stop a deportation proceeding before it’s complete, it is certainly not the ideal scenario.
As a prominent El Paso law firm, we understand the struggles immigrants face every day and stress they carry on their backs as they try to achieve the American dream. As such, we see many mistakes people make causing the wheels of forced removal to begin moving.
In this article, we’d like to discuss the many ways that deportation is triggered, and the tips you need to stay in the country.
Common Triggers For Deportation
First, we’ll take a quick look at the most common reasons for deportation. This way, you’ll know what to look out for.
Yes, this one is obvious, but committing crimes is a quick ticket to deportation. The leeway for an immigrant is extremely thin; you don’t even have to be convicted to be deported.
If you commit a crime the offense could be classified as either a “crime of moral turpitude” (CIMT) or an “aggravated felony.” A crime of moral turpitude has no federal definition, but the courts usually define it as any act that is against standards of justice, honesty, and morality. It would have to be exceptionally vile or shocking to qualify in most cases. This can be incredibly vague, so it will be up to the immigration judge to decide what qualifies. A specific crime will not always be considered a CIMT in every case or with every judge. Examples of potential crimes of moral turpitude include:
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Manslaughter or Homicide
- Child/Spouse abuse
In most cases, a crime of moral turpitude is something considered heinous regardless of your citizenship status. If your case is on the fence, expert legal representation may make all the difference in the removal decision.
A conviction from an aggravated felony will make you permanently ineligible for naturalization or asylum and may also lead to deportation. The list of aggravated felonies is extensive and changes state to state. However, there is a lot of overlap between what may be considered a CIMT or an aggravated felony.
The best bet will be to simply avoid committing a crime or at the very least not commit a very serious crime. In general, criminal violations are limited to what would be considered a crime for a U.S citizen as well.
In addition to criminal violations, there are immigration-specific violations that may also lead to removal from the U.S. These violations are typically much less serious than the required criminal violations, but may still result in deportation.
Working without proper documentation, overstaying a visa, improperly entering into the country, or being deemed inadmissible are all viable deportable violations. In fact, tens of thousands are deported each year for these reasons, many of which are easily avoidable.
If you’re not sure what constitutes an immigration violation in your situation, you can visit the Department of Justice page that has all of the violations listed.
I’ve Been Targeted for Deportation: Now What?
The deportation process can be divided into two sections: expedited and traditional deportation. Under the current law, expedited deportation can occur if the targeted individual is within 100 miles of the border and has been in the U.S for less than two weeks.
In an expedited deportation, you cannot appeal in immigration court. However, you will be able to challenge the legitimacy of the deportation order and try to have it dismissed. This can be a risky gamble, so it’s important to weigh all your options first.
Traditional deportation is a much lengthier and more representative process. The U.S Constitution and immigration law system allow immigrants many protected rights, perhaps most importantly the right to a lawyer. The process will begin with a “Notice to Appear,” which dictates when and where an immigrant has to attend their removal proceedings.
When in court, the judge will set a bond amount, much like in the court proceedings that a citizen would undergo. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will have a government lawyer, but it is up to the immigrant to provide a lawyer for him or herself. Immigrants being represented by a lawyer can often receive more lenient bond amounts since government lawyers representing ICE often advocate for high bond or no bond set at all.
After the initial proceeding, the full process can take several weeks of hearings to be resolved. The government attorney will lay out a case for deportation, while the immigrant (and their potential lawyer) will lay out a case for remaining in the U.S. Even if the judge orders a removal, the decision may be appealed.
Passionate Deportation Defense with The Matthew James
For years, The Matthew James, PLLC has represented immigrants caught up in the deportation system. We know how stressful, draining, and frightening the process can be—that’s why we do everything in our power to keep our clients on American soil.
If you or someone you love has been handed a Notice to Appear, don’t believe deportation is inevitable. Give us a call right away so we can begin crafting a defense against deportation. We believe everyone has the right to justice, fairness, and prosperity. Let our firm advocate for your rights.