Removal or Deportation of Foreign Nationals
Although the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is better targeting its
enforcement efforts to prioritize criminals and threats to public safety, border
security, and national security, removal (or deportation) of foreign nationals
continue (DHS removed or returned 462,463 foreign nationals in FY2015). It is
important that foreign nationals know what to expect if arrested by DHS and
placed in removal proceedings. Of paramount importance is understanding that an
arrest by DHS does not automatically lead to an order of removal. Many foreign
nationals have more than one form of relief available to them to prevent their
removal, therefore, if properly prepared, a foreign national facing deportation
could successfully challenge their removal proceedings. While this article is
intended to provide a general overview of removal proceedings, it is not
intended to serve as legal advice and we strongly encourage anyone undergoing
removal proceedings to secure the assistance of an immigration attorney as soon
A foreign national living in the U.S., including permanent residents, is
vulnerable to being placed in removal proceedings for being inadmissible or
deportable as defined by the Immigration and Nationality Act. Among the most
common reasons for being arrested by DHS are: being convicted of a crime,
applying for immigration benefits that are denied, violating your status, and
requesting admission to the US without valid documents. Removal proceedings
commence with a charging document called a Notice to Appear. Among other
information, the Notice to Appear contains the formal charges, the time and
place of the hearing, and the consequences for failing to appear. The Notice to
Appear need only give a 10-day notice of the initial hearing. However, since
proceedings begin when the Notice is filed in court and not when it is served, a
foreign national who receives a Notice to Appear may find that he or she has
fewer than 10 days to prepare.
A foreign national may be kept in custody, if subject to mandatory detention,
released under a bond of at least $1,500, or released on conditional parole into
the community. Bond hearings occur before the removal hearing and are usually
scheduled within days of the arrest, providing little time to prepare and
present documentary evidence to the Immigration Judge, prior to the bond
hearing, as to why bond should be granted. These reasons can include health
issues, having family members who are U.S. citizens, hardships to those family
members, etc. The bond hearing is separate from the removal proceedings and its
purpose is exclusively to determine whether the foreign national should be held
in custody or released while removal proceedings are on-going.
Removal hearings generally involve two hearings, the first of which is
usually scheduled within a couple weeks of an arrest (or a few months in other
cases). A Master Calendar Hearing provides the foreign national the opportunity
to answer the charges against him or her and to file his or her application(s)
for relief from removal. It is at this hearing that the Immigration Judge will
then set a trial date for the second hearing to consider the merits of the
application(s) for relief.
The second hearing, also known as the Individual Hearing, is typically
scheduled 9-18 months after the Master Calendar Hearing (except in cases of
mandatory detention, when it is scheduled much quicker). The Immigration Judge
will consider the evidence which may include challenges to the charges on the
Notice to Appear or a request for relief from removal and will make a finding on
inadmissibility or removability and decide whether to grant any relief sought.
Both the foreign national and/or DHS may appeal the Immigration Judge’s order to
the Board of Immigration Appeals within 30 days of the decision.
Removal proceedings can be stressful and intimidating. They are also
unforgiving if one does not understand the procedures and deadlines. It is for
these reasons that foreign nationals or family members of foreign nationals
undergoing removal proceedings are strongly encouraged to seek legal counsel as
soon as they are arrested by DHS or receive a Notice to Appear.
The Law Firm of Antone, Casagrande & Adwers, P.C. helps individuals and businesses worldwide with all of their US immigration needs including employment visas, obtaining green cards for business and corporate employees and family members, visas for doctors, nurses, therapists, and other health care workers, together with waivers for physicians under J visa training program, labor certifications (PERM), national interest waivers, marriage-based adjustments and green cards, fiancee visas, family immigration preferences, students, naturalization and citizenship, including medical waivers, asylum, deportation, hardship waivers, voluntary departure and removal. We serve clients in southeast Michigan including the Detroit Metro area, Ann Arbor, and Lansing. With offices in Farmington Hills, MI, we are close to Southfield, Troy, West Bloomfield, Birmingham, Novi, Rochester and Auburn Hills in Oakland County; Canton, Plymouth, Dearborn, and Detroit in Wayne County; Warren, Sterling Heights, and Mount Clemens in Macomb County; Brighton and Howell in Livingston County; Lansing in Ingham County; City of Monroe in Monroe County, Ann Arbor in Washtenaw County; Grand Rapids in Kent County; Battle Creek in Calhoun County; Kalamazoo in Kalamazoo County; Benton Harbor in Berrien County; Holland in Ottawa County; Flint in Genesee County; Ludington in Mason County; Muskegon in Muskegon County; and Traverse City in Grand Traverse County, Michigan. Although many of our clients are located in the tri-county area of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb, we also serve clients in many cities and states in the U.S. including Cleveland, Toledo and Cincinnati, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois; Milwaukee and Green Bay, Wisconsin; Indianapolis, Indiana; Buffalo, New York; Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, California; Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona; Dallas, Houston, El Paso and Galveston, Texas; Miami, Florida; Washington D.C.; Virginia, Minnesota, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and many others. In addition to the United States, we also serve Canadian nationals from numerous provinces in Canada, including Toronto and Windsor in Ontario; Montreal in Quebec; Halifax in Nova Scotia; and Vancouver, British Columbia. We also serve cities and countries such as London, England; Scotland and other countries of the United Kingdom (U.K.); Mexico, Paris, France; Frankfurt and Berlin, Germany; Tokyo, Japan; India; Brazil; Rome, Italy; Shanghai and Beijing, China; Belgium; the Philippines, and many other countries in Europe, Asia and South America.