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United States District Court for the District of Maryland
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Bar Association of Montgomery County, Maryland

Deportation and Removal Defense

Any person who is not a U.S. citizen may be deported from the United States if he or she is found to have violated immigration or criminal laws. The enactment of The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 allows immigration judges to order deportation after what is called “removal proceedings” for many different reasons. For example, those who are not citizens and who receive a jail sentence for one year or more can be deported, even if the sentence is later suspended. Under certain circumstances, if deported, the noncitizen may be barred from ever entering the United States again.

Deportation Process

Deportation (also called “removal”) starts when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issues a Notice to Appear to a noncitizen. The Notice to Appear, containing the reasons for deportation or removal, is filed with the immigration court as well.

If you are a noncitizen who receives a Notice to Appear, the immigration judge will ask you if you are ready to proceed with the case at the first hearing, or if you need time to obtain the services of a Maryland deportation defense lawyer. Because these proceedings are complicated and may have dire consequences, it is better to find a knowledgeable immigration attorney to help you rather than try to represent yourself.

After an attorney is either secured or you have chosen to proceed without legal assistance, you will appear at another hearing at which you will be asked about information in the Notice to Appear. If the judge determines that the information in the Notice to Appear is true and you may be deported, you may then apply for a form of relief from the deportation.

Relief from Deportation

There are several forms of relief from removal. One is adjustment of status, by which an immigrant files for lawful permanent residency. An adjustment of status is not available to illegal aliens, those who have violated their visa, or others who did not appear at the first removal hearing. Another form of relief from deportation is to seek asylum. Immigrants who cannot return to their home country because of past persecution or the threat of persecution on the basis of race, nationality, religion or political opinion and who meet other criteria may apply for asylum. Green card holders who have been in the country for seven years and possess a clean record may be eligible for another form of relief from deportation known as cancellation of removal.

An individual hearing is held if you wish to obtain relief from deportation. There you may give testimony and ask witnesses to testify on your behalf. The Department of Homeland Security may also present evidence. Based on the testimony and evidence presented, the immigration judge either renders an oral or written decision.

Appealing a Deportation Order

If the judge orders you to be deported, within 30 days after the decision you can appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). If the BIA also decides against you, you may appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals. While the Department of Homeland Security can appeal an unfavorable hearing decision at the lower level, it may not appeal the BIA’s unfavorable decision. You can appeal to the United States Supreme Court after an appellate decision. There are additional motions you can file, but they do not automatically prevent you from being deported the way an immigration court appeal can.

The stakes involved in deportation proceedings are very high; those subject to removal hearings risk separation from their families and communities, job loss, and an end to their way of life. If you or a loved one are facing the possibility of deportation, we recommend that you contact the experienced Maryland deportation defense lawyer at the office of Anthony A. Fatemi, LLC for help. Call us at (301) 519-2801, or submit our online contact form today.

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