Featured News 2016 Understanding Removal Hearings

Understanding Removal Hearings

Removal proceedings refer to the process of removing (deporting) a non-U.S. citizen from the United States, whether the immigrant was legally in the United States or not.

If you are facing deportation (removal proceedings), please realize that this is a complicated process and the stakes are high. It's essential that you are represented by an experienced deportation defense attorney who understand the immigration laws and can defend you in immigration court.

Initiating Removal Proceedings

You're in the United States and all of a sudden, you are on the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) radar. DHS is the agency that initiates removal proceedings, which are typically conducted by DHS's Immigration and Customs Enforcement Division – ICE –an agency often feared by immigrants.

There are several reasons why DHS and ICE will initiate removing a noncitizen. Someone could have called in a tip about an immigrant that is in the U.S. illegally, or an employer may have been raided, or if someone was arrested the authorities may have checked their immigration status.

Or, a permanent resident may have committed a crime of "moral turpitude" or an aggravated felony, which are grounds for deportation.

When DHS begins removal proceedings, the agency will serve the immigrant with a Notice to Appear (NTA), which informs the immigrant that he or she must appear before an immigration judge. The NTA informs the alien about:

  • What their proceedings are for
  • On what grounds the DHS is trying to remove them
  • The immigrant's right to hire legal counsel (at their own expense)
  • The consequences if the alien fails to attend the hearing

If you have been given a NTA, your removal hearing will be held before an immigration judge, who will review your case and determine whether your actions, or your failure to comply with U.S. immigration law gives rise to removal proceedings, or if your case qualifies for discretionary relief.

Given a NTA? Scroll through our directory to find an immigration attorney who can help you!

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