DC Cancellation of Removal Process

There is a long list of reasons why someone may be deported from the United States. Basically, if you have violated an immigration law you may be subject to removal. If you’ve overstayed your legal admission or if you have violated your legal status in some way, you can be rendered deportable. That can be by committing a crime or just by violating an immigration law.

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Whether an individual is placed in removal proceedings is up to the government. Cases can be referred from USCIS, or people can be targeted directly by ICE or DHS attorneys. When someone from the government determines that a person is here illegally, they can make the decision at that point on whether or not they think that they’re an enforcement or removal priority.

What to Expect From Removal Proceedings

That’s different in every case, but it depends on what kind of options you have. For some people it can be a very long process. If you’re not in detention and you’re applying for something like asylum, depending on what court you’re in, it could be several years before you actually go to your individual hearing where you are able to argue the merits of your case.

On the other hand, in some cases you could be eligible for another type of immigration status that you can apply for during the proceedings. If it’s granted, then you can apply to terminate the proceedings in front of the judge. It just depends on the case.

Common Misconceptions about the Deportation Process

People are often surprised how long it takes. It’s nothing like a criminal court proceeding and it can literally take years to go through the system.

Where are Removal Proceedings Held?

They happen in front of the EOIR which is the Executive Office of the Immigration Review. There are a number of courts throughout the country, and which court you will go to will depend on where you live or where you were picked up by ICE.

Avoiding Deportation

Generally, to avoid deportation you have to show that you have the ability to gain legal status in the United States. With Obama’s new Executive Action, this could also mean that you are not an “enforcement priority,” meaning that ICE should not be expending government resources on trying to kick you out and should close your case.

Then there are a number of other ways that people can apply for legal status, but that’s basically the point of removal proceedings  – it allows you the opportunity to defend yourself and apply for some sort of legal status if you’re eligible and if you’re not eligible, then you’ll be deported.

Burden of Proof in Removal Proceedings

It’s kind of nebulous and it’s not the same as in criminal law. It depends on which aspect or which stage of the trial you’re at. Evidentiary burdens of proof are different in asylum cases than other types. Also, the burden shifts from the government to the respondent’s attorney based on whether or not the person has been lawfully admitted into the country.

Common Defense: Cancellation of Removal

One commonly-discussed form of relief is called cancellation of removal. It’s something that you’re only eligible for if you’re in removal proceedings – you can’t apply for it affirmatively.  If you are not a green card holder, you need to prove you have 10+ years of residence here, and a spouse, child, or parent who is a US citizen or resident and who would suffer extreme and unusual hardship if you were deported. The requirements are less stringent for green card holders who are in proceedings.

DC Cancellation of Removal Process