Immigration Court Proceedings
How Long Is the Deportation Process?
There is no timeline for the deportation process -- it varies for everyone and can take several months or years before a final decision is reached in immigration court.
Factors that may affect the length of the process:
- Criminal background
- The receiving country's deportation laws
- How long the individual has been in the U.S.
- The individual's location in the U.S.
What Happens During a Deportation Hearing?
If the alien is detained there is no guarantee that they will be detained in the state where they live or that the case will be heard in the state where they live. Immigration can and frequently transfers detainees all around the U.S. AtThe Law Offices of Lloyd E. Bennett, Esq., P.C. we can file an application for a Change of Venue to bring the case closer to the alien's home. However, for those subject to mandatory detention this procedure is difficult.
The Master Calendar Hearing & Individual Hearing
The first date to see the immigration judge will be scheduled within several weeks of initial detention. This first deportation hearing is called a Master Calendar Hearing. The judge will review the case and listen to arguments from counsel about the relief the alien may be eligible for. Once eligibility is determined, the judge will schedule an Individual Hearing which is the trial date to prove eligibility.
At the Individual hearing testimony the judge will consider documents and testimony needed to prove the claim for the relief requested. The judge will make his decision and examine the positive and negative factors.
Some of the factors the judge will consider are as follows:
- Family Ties Within the United States: Birth certificates, marriage certificates, family photos, copies of family member green cards, U.S. Passports or naturalization certificates, and letters from family members;
- Length of Residence in the United States: Apartment leases or mortgages, letters from neighbors, and telephone, cable, and electric bills;
- Evidence of Hardship to Family Members if Deported: Records of any medical, psychiatric or educational disabilities of family members who depend on the alien; testimony or letter from the spouse (even if separated or divorced) showing that the alien provides financial and emotional support the children;
- Evidence of Hardship if Deported: Medical or education records indicating a disability or chronic health condition;
- Country Condition Reports: Newspaper and magazine articles, or U.S. State Department Country Reports on the human rights and/or economic conditions in the home country;
- Service in the United States Armed Forces: Discharge papers, commendations, VA benefits statements;
- History of Employment: Letters from employers, pay stubs, W-2 forms, social security earnings statements;
- Ownership of Property in the United States: Mortgage, bank statements;
- Tax History: Copies of tax returns from as many years back as available
- Proof of Rehabilitation: Certificates of attendance at drug or alcohol rehabilitation programs, letters from counselors, therapists, or sponsors;
- Community Service: Letters from youth sports programs, church groups, and civic organizations;
- Any Other Evidence That May Exist of Good Moral Character.
- Negative factors include criminal history and the circumstances of the crimes for which convicted,;
- lack of work history and payment of taxes;
- any other violations of the immigration laws, or any other evidence of bad character.
What is Voluntary Departure (VD)?
If a determination is made that the alien has no ability to remain in the U.S. an application for Voluntary Departure should be made. The advantage to VD is that an order of deportation will not be entered against the alien. Therefore, the alien could return to the U.S. in the future upon the issuance of a visa. If ordered removed the alien would not be eligible to reenter the U.S. for 10 or more years.
Voluntary departure is:
- not available to arriving aliens;
- not available to those with aggravated felony convictions or those who are security concerns;
- cannot have any prior removal orders;
- granted up to 120 days if before end of proceedings;
- up to 60 days if request made at end of proceedings must have physical presence for at least one year before filing of NTA (not available to arriving aliens);
- must have good moral character for at least five years before application;
- must have travel documents and a ticket;
- failure to depart makes alien ineligible for 10 years for cancellation of removal, adjustment of status, change of non-immigrant status and subject to civil penalties.
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