Deportation is the formal removal of an alien from the United States and occurs when the alien has been adjudicated to have violated the nation’s immigration laws. An alien is any person who is not a U.S. citizen.
Deportation proceedings begin with the issuance of a Notice to Appear and are a serious matter. Once the process begins, an immigration court with the U.S. Justice Department hears the case and if the judge rules that the alien should be deported, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) carry out the order. Deportable violations are enumerated in the Immigration and Nationality Act and include aggravated felonies such as rape, murder, and drug trafficking, and aliens can also be deported for “crimes of moral turpitude” in some cases. There are many different crimes that can be considered a crime of moral turpitude, but perhaps the most common are fraud, larceny, theft, and other crimes that involve a high level of dishonesty. Deportation can be prevented in certain situations. For example, one method for avoiding deportation is a cancellation of removal.
Cancellation of Removal
A person can be deported for committing a variety of different drug offenses. However, even though someone may have committed a drug offense it’s possible that they can avoid deportation by receiving a pardon, also known as a Cancellation of Removal for Certain Permanent Residents. Whether or not the individual is granted this pardon will depend on the crime or act that was committed and on how long the individual has lived in the United States as a lawful permanent resident.
A Cancellation of Removal for Certain Permanent Residents is generally available to aliens who meet the following criteria:
- The alien was lawfully admitted as a permanent resident for at least five years
- The alien has continuously lived in the United States for at least seven years since admission; and
- The alien has not been convicted of an aggravated felony
If you are already in deportation proceedings and have been in the U.S. for over 10 years, you may be eligible for another form of Cancellation of Removal for non-Lawful Permanent Residents.
If you have received a notice to appear or are already involved in deportation proceedings, it is important that you contact an attorney immediately to protect your interests. Experienced Immigration Attorney Mona Tehrani has protected clients in deportation and removal proceedings and can assist you in this process.