Being placed in deportation proceedings is frightening and shocking.  However, don’t panic. You may have options for remaining in the country or for protecting your right to return to the U.S.  Here are five things you need to know right now about deportation and removal.

1. ICE Must Clearly State Your Grounds for Deportability

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) cannot arbitrarily deport people. ICE must have grounds for deporting you, clearly state those grounds on your notice of removal and prove them during proceedings.

Common grounds for removal include:

  • Being convicted of a crime of moral turpitude
  • Being convicted of an aggravated felony
  • Being convicted of domestic violence
  • Using drugs
  • Violating a protective order
  • Falsely claiming to be a U.S. citizen to gain a benefit
  • Overstaying your visa
  • Being inadmissible to the United States

2. You May Be Eligible for Relief

The basic forms of relief to deportation are:

  • Withholding of removal for refugee and asylum claims
  • Adjustment of status through a family member, usually through marriage
  • Cancelation of removal under immigration laws that recognize long-term immigrants
  • Voluntary departure that allows you to leave the country voluntarily to preserve your right to return

3. You May Be Entitled to a Bond

Once you are ordered removed, you may be detained by ICE in an immigration facility. ICE often contracts with jails to hold many of the immigrants who are in deportation proceedings. Regardless of whether you are placed in an ICE facility or a jail, you will be held in a secure facility that restricts your freedom, so you will want to be released as soon as possible.

Fortunately, you may be eligible for a bond while awaiting the judge’s decision on your deportation. Bond eligibility depends upon the reason you were placed in deportation proceedings. You may be entitled to a bond if you overstayed your visa, but have not done anything else wrong, but may be denied a bond if you are being deported for committing a crime.

4. You Will Be Restricted from Returning Once Removed

A removal or involuntary departure order affects when and if you can reenter the United States. You may be subject to a 5, 10 or 20-year ban, or you may be permanently banned from reentry, depending upon the specific reasons for your removal.

Under certain circumstances, you may be eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility. This means the government gives you permission to legally return. The actions you take during deportation proceedings could ultimately affect your eligibility for this form of relief. You should, therefore, set the groundwork for an inadmissibility waiver as part of your deportation defense strategies if staying in or returning to the country is your ultimate goal.

5. You Should Get an Attorney

You may have options for relief from deportation. However, pursuing relief is governed by complex immigration laws and procedures. One mistake could permanently jeopardize your right to remain in or return to the United States. An attorney can protect your rights and help you pursue all avenues of relief.

*The content and materials available via Ask Ellis are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice

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