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The Realities of Deportation: Life After Leaving the U.S.

In March 2024, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unveiled a new online dashboard with quarterly data on the numbers of migrant detentions, deportations, and removals conducted by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents. The dashboard features a category for reentry violations by foreigners caught in the U.S. after being deported or removed. In 2022, there were more than 255,000 of these detentions, which offer a glimpse into the lives of individuals who have gone through the deportation process at least once.

Deportation is the umbrella term for various legal processes carried out by federal agencies to remove non-citizens from American soil. It can happen to anyone who isn’t a citizen by birthright or naturalization. Although the ultimate goal of deportation is removal, most cases don’t end up with foreigners being forcefully repatriated. In fact, many deportations are “rubber stamped” after foreigners leave the country and never return.

Before Deportation

The non-citizen must be notified by the corresponding agency, which is generally CBP or ICE for non-immigrants and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for those who are already in the system. Expedited removal is a common form of non-immigrant deportation that doesn’t usually make news headlines. It unfolds at all ports of entry, including airports and border crossing points, and it involves foreigners whose identification, travel, and visa documents aren’t valid or are forged. Foreigners aren’t able to attend court hearings in expedited removal cases. The detentions tend to be brief, and the entire process leaves individuals feeling as if they were simply turned around.

In the case of immigrants seeking USCIS benefits, there needs to be a Notice of Intent to Terminate before a Notice to Appear. These two are conducive to deportation, but they give foreigners opportunities to establish their eligibility and admissibility before pleading their cases to immigration judges.

After Deportation

A court must sign off on the deportation order even if it’s “rubber stamped” for abandonment. The judge issuing the order will determine if the foreigner should be detained for subsequent removal by CBP or ICE agents. Otherwise, a date for voluntary departure is set. 

Another crucial determination is the period of inadmissibility, which is also known as a bar against reentry. CBP adjudicators determine the inadmissibility period for non-immigrants based on how long they were in the U.S. without legal status. Let’s say a Central American woman was told to leave on May 10th after her asylum petition was rejected. If she was later detained in June, she may get an automatic three-year prohibition from returning. If she was detained in December because she wanted to spend Christmas in the U.S., she would likely be inadmissible for five years because her unlawful presence extended past 180 days.

What’s important to understand before and after deportation is that a San Diego immigration lawyer can explore various strategies to achieve the most favorable outcomes. For example:

  • A Notice of Intent to Terminate can be challenged on eligibility grounds
  • An attorney can attend the deportation hearing
  • The period of inadmissibility can be questioned
  • A voluntary departure can be requested
  • A removal order can be challenged
  • The court decision can be appealed

Moreover, law firms can also assist deported foreigners in obtaining inadmissibility waivers so they can apply for visas after leaving the country. 

If you have questions about deportation or any other aspect of immigration law, contact the immigration attorneys San Diego residents trust. The lawyers at KS Visa Law have vast experience with every aspect of immigration law, and they’re the attorneys to call on when you need the most up-to-date information about immigration regulations. Call KS Visa Law today to schedule an appointment.

June 2024