Commonly asked questions about the deportation process

The threat of deportation may bring about a number of questions for people in North Carolina.

Last year, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, ICE, removed 240,255 people from the country. The majority of those - 174,923 - happened at or near the border or a port of entry. Other interior removals, including those that occurred in North Carolina, were often associated with people who had previously been convicted of a crime.

These numbers are important because they reflect some risk factors associated with deportation. Here, we take a look at some commonly asked questions about the process.

What are the grounds for removal?

The United States government could cite a number of reasons for deporting someone. It could be that someone has violated the terms of his or her visa, has committed a crime or has been deemed a threat to public safety. Showing up to the U.S. without the correct documents or having forged documents may also result in removal.

What happens at the start of the process?

A deportation often begins with an arrest. If the person has committed a crime, he or she may be placed in a detention center when their state crime is resolved. In other cases, the person receives a notice to appear in a federal immigration court. This notice includes information on why the removal process has been initiated.

May I apply for a green card and stay in the country legally?

In cases in which an undocumented immigrant is facing deportation, the U.S. government may allow him or her to go through an adjustment of status in order to become a legal resident of the country. This could be done with the help of a petition from a family member. If the person is afraid to return to his or her home country due to a serious threat, he or she may be able to seek asylum here. Also, a special cancellation of removal petition may be available as well.

May I leave on my own?

Yes. If the person in question chooses to do so, he or she may go through the voluntary departure process. It is important to note that choosing this option may allow the person from seeking entry to the country again.

Will I have to go to court?

It is crucial to appear at every hearing. Failing to do so typically results in an immediate Order of Removal. The first hearing is a procedural one in which the process is explained and an evidentiary hearing is scheduled.

The evidentiary hearing is where a judge will listen to the information presented against the person in question. This is also where the person is able to present his or her case deportation defense through providing witnesses, giving testimony or presenting evidence.

What if the judge rules against me?

Even if the judge determines that someone should be removed from the country, the battle is not yet lost. In fact, the person has 30 days to file an appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals, and if that has an adverse outcome, an appeal may be filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals.

If I am deported, could I apply for readmission?

In some cases, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services allows for people who have been removed to reenter the country. However, there may be a set amount of time before this can take place, depending on the nature of the deportation.

People who have further questions about this issue should speak with an immigration attorney in North Carolina.