Immigration Law


The recent raids conducted by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency prompted Nancy Landa to recollect her encounter with the federal agency. In September of 2009, two immigration officials stopped Landa at the Third Street entrance to Highway 710 N in Long Beach, California. “I’m dreaming; it’s a nightmare,” Landa thought at the time.

Landa had no idea she would become one of the more than 1.2 million people deported during the administration of Barack Obama. The record number of deportations by any American President has created the need for many immigrants to seek relief from accomplished immigration attorneys. Although President Obama established the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) plan for young people such as Nancy Landa, immigrants still must know their deportation rights under United States immigration law.

The Legal Facts about Deportation

Commonly referred to as “Removal” in legal jargon, deportation is a federal government order to remove a non-citizen from American soil. Several reasons influence the federal government’s decision to remove a non-citizen legally. However, the most common reason for the federal government to deport is when an immigrant either violates an immigration law or commits a criminal offense.

Immigrants that face deportation must understand the process, as well as the measures to take for avoiding the life altering removal from the United States.

Deferred Action

Some immigration court cases result in the legal term “Deferred Action.” This mean an immigration court has the legal means to deport an individual, but the court chooses not to perform the act of mandating a deportation. President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) rapidly increased the number of deferred deportation cases. Deferred action can result in a number of legal actions, from postponing deportation to taking deportation orders out of the legal system.

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In some immigration cases, non-citizens do not have the benefit of participating in a deportation proceeding. For example, immigrants in the United States that enter under the Visa Waiver program have no recourse to contest a deportation order in front of an immigration judge. Moreover, nationals of specified countries who enter the United States, without first applying for a visa waiver, have no legal grounds for contesting a deportation order. Illegal aliens that cannot prove legal status also receive an expedited removal order.

Temporary Deportation Postponement

An immigration stay of removal halts a deportation proceeding. The Department of Homeland Security issues a stay of removal to allow immigrants to stay in the United States during an appeal or motion pending within the immigration court system. A stay of removal can be either automatic or discretionary, depending on an immigration judge’s ruling. Stay of removals sometimes lead to an immigration court overturning an order to deport a non-citizen of the United States.

Reentry Rules

Immigration court rulings of deportation typically result in banishment from the United States that last between 3 and 10 years. However, some deportation rulings ban individuals for a lifetime. Whenever an immigration court removes a ban to reenter the United States, immigrants have to follow several steps to receive legal permission to reenter the country. The illegal entry into the United States after a deportation order can result in a fine and/or imprisonment.

The recent ICE raids suggest the Trump administration plans to change the way the Justice Department handles deportation cases. Although President Obama softened his stand on immigration during his tenure, there is no indication the current administration plans to soften its stand on deporting undocumented individuals residing in the United States.

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