Getting approved for a green card or visa in the United States means carefully following a detailed process that involves many questions and layers of reviews. Reaching this point is an accomplishment, but it’s also one you can lose. Failing to live by the rules of the immigration system can bring you back under scrutiny and result in the government initiating deportation proceedings to have you removed from the country.
The attorneys at De Castroverde Law Group have outlined some of the most common reasons for deportation to help you understand what’s expected of you as a green card or visa holder. Our team is ready to represent you should you receive a notice to appear for a removal proceeding.
Reasons for Deportation
U.S. immigration law sets out several circumstances that might cause someone to become subject to deportation proceedings. You may have the chance to challenge the facts and evidence behind those circumstances in a court hearing, and you may also be able to appeal an adverse ruling.
Committing a Crime
Immigrants become subject to deportation if they commit a certain set of crimes as defined in the U.S. code. It’s a long list but it does not include every crime. Under the law, deportable offenses include:
- Crimes involving controlled substances.
- Crimes of “moral turpitude.”
- Domestic violence and child abuse.
- Document fraud.
- Gun-related crimes.
- Failure to register as a sex offender.
- Illegal voting.
Criminal charges go before a judge in state and federal courts. Deportation cases are civil matters heard separately in U.S. Immigration Court. The government bears the burden of proof in both proceedings.
Failure to Report a Change of Address
Given the mobility in society, it’s highly likely that immigrants will move at some point during their lives, whether for family or work reasons. The law allows this but requires green card and visa holders to let the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service know directly whenever they change addresses, even if just moving across town, within 10 days. In most cases, you can use an online form to fulfill their obligation or even report the change of address on the phone by calling the USCIS customer contact number at 800-375-5283.
The law makes failure to file a change of address a misdemeanor with a fine and/or jail time. You can argue that your failure to inform was accidental — meaning it was not intentional or willful.
Failure to Obey the Terms of Your Visa
Work and other types of temporary visas also come with certain requirements and obligations. Failure to live by those requirements and obligations may also be grounds for deportation. For example, if you are visiting the United States on a tourist visa and take on a job for pay, you may be subject to removal from the country. As another example, if you hold a work visa with specific sponsorship from an employer, and lose that job, you also may face deportation.
You may hear visa requirements talked about as “maintaining your status,” which means you are following the terms set out by the U.S. Department of State and all associated rules and regulations.
Becoming a Public Charge
U.S. immigration law looks carefully at the ability of a person to contribute to U.S. society. Though it is not common, an immigrant who relies on public assistance such as welfare for an extended period may be subject to deportation proceedings. Public assistance includes items such as unemployment compensation or food stamps. Being a recipient of public assistance may also prevent you from re-entering the United States if you are approved to travel abroad.
Taking steps to defeat the spirit and intent of immigration law may also provide grounds for deportation. Examples of this include entering into a sham marriage. You can also find yourself in deportation proceedings if you give false or misleading information on official immigration documents.
How the Deportation Process Works
U.S. law makes deportation a civil/administrative matter handled generally through proceedings in U.S. Immigration Court. The process starts with a “notice to appear,” which is in effect a statement of the government’s reasons why it believes you are subject to removal.
The government can hold you in a detention center. If you can show that you do not pose a security threat, a judge may order you released on your own recognizance. You need to consult experienced immigration counsel such as the attorneys at De Castroverde Law the moment you receive a notice to appear.
In some instances, it may be beneficial for you to agree to depart the United States voluntarily. This may improve your chances of returning at some future date. The criteria for this are very strict. Your attorney can help you understand the feasibility.
Your case is then scheduled for a hearing on the merits where you and your attorney can make the case that you should be allowed to stay in the United States. If the judge issues a removal order, you may be able to file an appeal with the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals. If you are not successful, you will have to leave the country by a specific date.
In some cases, the government can seek expedited removal approvals without going to Immigration Court. This might happen, for example, when someone arrivals at a port of entry without the appropriate immigration documents. Expedited removals typically do not allow for an appeal to a judge, but there are procedures in place for you to try and show that orders were wrongly issued.
Get Advice on Your Deportation from De Castroverde Law
Don’t try to defend yourself in connection with deportation proceedings. The stakes are too high. The attorneys at De Castroverde Law, serving Las Vegas and surrounding areas of Nevada, have extensive experience in removal hearings. We will fight on your behalf to hold the government to account for its responsibilities and will even take cases to the appeal stage.
Our attorneys and legal professions seek to position you for success on all immigration matters. In addition to representation in deportation proceedings, we will also provide counsel in adjustment of status matters, visa processing, and family-based immigration. Call us or contact us online today for a free consultation.