The Pew Research Center reported 337,000 deportations in the 2018-2019 fiscal year. Deportation, or removal, is a complex legal process by which an individual must leave a country.
This procedure involves several stages that adhere to a structured legal framework.
Initiation of proceedings
Deportation proceedings begin when immigration authorities identify an individual who is in violation of immigration laws. This could occur due to various reasons, such as visa expiration, criminal activities or illegal entry. Once the authorities identify a potential case, they issue a Notice to Appear to the individual, outlining the charges and the reason for deportation.
Detention or release
The next step in the process hinges on the individual’s custody status. Authorities may detain some people and release others under specific conditions, like the requirement to check in regularly. This decision depends on factors such as flight risk and the seriousness of the immigration violation.
Master calendar hearing
Individuals in deportation proceedings will attend a master calendar hearing before an immigration judge. During this hearing, they have the opportunity to admit or deny the charges against them. If an individual admits to the charges, they may be eligible for voluntary departure or other forms of relief.
If an individual denies the charges, their case proceeds to an individual hearing. At this point, they have the opportunity to present evidence, witnesses and legal arguments to challenge their deportation. The immigration judge will render a decision based on the presented evidence.
After the immigration judge’s decision, there is an avenue for appeal if the individual disagrees with the judgment. They can appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals, which will review the case and render a final decision.
If the decision favors deportation, the immigration authorities issue a removal order. In some cases, individuals may have the option of voluntary departure, allowing them to leave the country voluntarily within a specified timeframe. If they comply with this order, they may face fewer legal consequences in the future.
If an individual fails to leave voluntarily or comply with the removal order, the immigration authorities may take enforcement action to physically remove them from the country. This can involve detention and coordination with law enforcement agencies.
Understanding the process of deportation is important. While each case is unique, having knowledge of the steps involved can help individuals and their families navigate this challenging process effectively.