What is the process for deportation and removal?

Kentucky residents may have seen many stories in the news as of late regarding undocumented immigrants being detained and deported. These reports are certainly disturbing to those in our country who are undocumented or have loved ones that are. Therefore, it is important to understand how the deportation process works.

First, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will serve the undocumented immigrant with a “Notice to Appear”. The reason for deporting the individual and the facts behind the case will be contained in this notice, which is filed with the immigration court.

Following that will be a hearing. At this hearing the immigrant facing deportation will be given the opportunity to either go ahead with the proceedings or to obtain the time necessary to seek legal representation. If the immigrant wants an attorney, the hearing will be rescheduled. At the hearing, the immigrant will verify the information in the NTA. If the judge deems that information to be true and the immigrant can be deported, the immigrant then has the chance to file for relief from deportation.

If the immigrant is not qualified to seek relief, then the judge will order the immigrant to be deported.

If the individual does qualify to seek relief, they will have an individual hearing at a later date. At that individual hearing, the immigrant facing deportation can testify and present witnesses. After that, the judge will determine whether the immigrant should be deported.

If it is decided that the immigrant should be deported, the immigrant has 30 days to appeal the ruling to the Board of Immigration Appeals. If the BIA determines the immigrant should be deported, the immigrant can appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals, and failing that, can appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

As this shows, there are several important rights an undocumented immigrant has before they can be deported. They will be notified of the facts behind their case and why they are being deported. While an attorney will not be appointed to them, they still have the opportunity to retain their own attorney if they wish. They will have a hearing, and have the opportunity to challenge the judge’s rulings through multiple levels of appeals. By understanding what one’s rights are during the deportation process, one may be able to take the steps necessary to present their case at their hearing and appeal a judge’s decision if needed.