An Overview of the Deportation Process

An Overview of the Deportation Process

If you or a loved one is facing deportation, we understand the stress you are under. While this is not a position you want to find yourself in, all hope is not lost! Learning about the deportation process can help you know how to react and what you can do to maximize your chances of being able to stay in the US.

If you've been arrested or otherwise notified that the deportation process has begun, the first thing you need to do is contact a qualified immigration attorney. They can help ensure you take all the right steps throughout the process. In this blog entry we'll talk about what to expect.

Facing Removal Hearings: The Notice to Appear

To start the process, the US Department of Homeland Security will file a "Notice to Appear" with one of the immigration courts. They must also "serve" this notice on you (by giving it to you either in person or by mail). If you receive a Notice to Appear (or NTA), please study it carefully with a lawyer's help. That document contains the allegations explaining why the USDHS believes that you are "deportable" under the law. Next the court will issue a hearing notice of your next hearing. It will explain important things regarding your right to hire a lawyer (but not at government's expense) and the consequences of failing to appear at the hearings.

Master Calendar Hearing

The first hearing that you will likely need to show up for is known as a Master Calendar Hearing. It is essential that you attend this hearing because if it is missed you will automatically receive an order of removal against you. If you do arrive in court you can either apply for a voluntary departure or you can present your legal case for why you should be permitted to stay in the United States. If your legal case is unusually strong, this may be the only hearing you need to come to. The judge can approve your request and allow you to remain in the country. Other times, however, you will need to move on to the next stage in the process.

Application for Relief

Normally the next step is to prepare an application for relief from removal. This could be an asylum application, a cancellation of removal application or one of the many other applications that can be reviewed by an immigration judge.

Merits Hearing

The merits hearing or hearings, are where you and your lawyer can present your full defense against removal. This hearing is primarily used for cases where a more detailed defense needs to be presented. You'll have many options available for formulating a defense, and working with your attorney to find the best approach can help maximize your chances at staying in the country.

At the end of these hearings, the judge will decide whether or not to grant your application, or whether to order your deportation.

While facing deportation is certainly a situation nobody wants to have to face, you do have options if you find yourself in this situation. However, it is important that you contact an experienced immigration attorney immediately, as prompt legal action is crucial for a successful resolution to your case.
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