Visit us on Linked-in Visit us on Twitter Visit us on Facebook Directions to Our Office Visit us on Yelp
Free Consultation

Understanding the Deportation Process in the United States

In July 2017, the Washington Post published a report about a memorandum being considered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the White House in relation to the deportation and removal process. The memo in question is part of the mass deportation program that President Donald Trump has promised since the 2016 elections campaign.

Although the pace of deportations has increased considerably since President Trump took office, Homeland Security and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services are rightfully concerned about the current backlog of deportation hearings, which total more than 500,000. 

The White House would like to amend rules dating back to 1996, which currently allow expedited removal process for undocumented immigrants who are detained near the border and who have been in the country for less than 14 days. The Trump administration wishes to expand this process beyond border towns to expedite removals, meaning they would not be subject to due process anywhere in the U.S.

It is too early for San Diego naturalization lawyers to tell if the aforementioned memo will be approved. Thus far, the mass deportations promised by Trump have encountered major practical and legal challenges. At this time, immigrants in the U.S. who are undocumented or face deportation for other reasons must go through the following process.


The Trump administration is pushing for immigrants to be rounded up and arrested by federal agents or local police departments that have agreed to cooperate. In both cases, the arrests often result in detentions and transfer to the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Removal Proceedings

While immigrants are at detention centers operated or contracted by ICE, they may be subject to removal proceedings, which can be expedited. This is the moment when legal representation by immigration law firms becomes crucial. Expedited removal can be challenged and attorneys can insist on due process. 

Notice to Appear

In some cases, the immigrants are released from detention and allowed to return to their homes while they wait for a notice to appear before an immigration court. As much as ICE would like to expedite this process, there is the backlog to consider. The immigrant has at least 10 days from the day the notice is received to appear in court, ideally with his or her attorney.

Court Appearances

The zeal of the Trump administration regarding deportations has prompted U.S. prosecutors to argue in favor of returning immigrants to detention upon their first appearance. Depending on the case, the court may offer voluntary removal or set a bond hearing in lieu of detention. As the case moves forward, there may be calendar and merits hearings while immigration attorneys formulate a strategy to normalize the status of their clients.

Order of Removal

If the court decides on deportation, an order of removal is issued directing ICE agents to execute it. However, this order can be appealed. Once all legal avenues are exhausted, physical deportation takes place, typically after another period of detention.

The deportation process can be difficult to understand without the help of professionals, as can various other aspects of immigration. If you’d like to learn more, or if you need citizenship services in San Diego, get in touch with KS Visa Law today at 858-874-0711.

April 2024