United States Code (USC) Title 8 Section 1227 addresses what it calls “deportable aliens,” foreign nationals in the United States who have not yet been naturalized. Section 1227 specifies reasons for what is known as “removal,” or the process of deportation.
In general, there are three reasons for removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA): being in the United States illegally, being criminally convicted, and resorting to fraud to enter or stay in the country.
If you find yourself facing a removal hearing in or around Woburn, Massachusetts, including the cities of Boston, Marlborough, and Framingham, contact Corbaci Law, P.C. Our immigration attorneys will meet with you to discuss your situation and determine whether you qualify for relief from removal. We will fight aggressively for your rights in Immigration Court and during any appeals hearings.
If you entered the United States illegally, your admission has been revoked or terminated, or you’ve failed to maintain the status under which you were admitted, you can be subject to removal without a hearing.
However, lawful permanent residents with a Green Card and holders of F-1 student visas or K-1 fiancé(e) visas have the right to a removal hearing and can appeal an adverse decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). Generally, those who fall into these categories will be subject to removal if they have a criminal record or used fraud in the process of entering or remaining in the United States.
The crimes that can result in removal proceedings include firearms offenses, drug crimes (including addiction), aggravated felonies, domestic violence, theft, murder, voluntary manslaughter, and crimes involving vileness, such as rape or certain other sexual crimes. Fomenting violence, terrorism, and treason are also deportable offenses.
Fraud includes “fake” marriages to obtain a Green Card, falsely representing U.S. citizenship to obtain a job or government benefits, and forging or altering a document to obtain government assistance or benefits.
The process of removal begins with the serving of a Notice to Appear (NTA) to the person subject to removal, who is thereafter known as the “respondent.”
The NTA will list the pertinent facts about the respondent, including their resident status (if any), date of entry, country or citizenship, and other pertinent details. It also outlines reasons for removal proceedings.
The next step will be a hearing before an immigration judge. At that time, you (the respondent) can argue that you are not removable as charged. You can deny the charges listed on your NTA, leaving it up to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) attorneys to prove their allegations. You don’t want to lie, however, as that can come back to haunt you even if you escape removal.
You can also ask for relief from removal. If you do not contest the charges or seek relief, the judge can order removal immediately. If you do request relief, a “merits hearing” will be scheduled to determine whether you qualify for relief.
You may qualify for relief from removal under several provisions and applicable statutes, but you really need the help of an experienced immigration attorney to navigate the options and determine which one affords you the best chance for relief. Relief options include:
Family-based adjustment of status: This pertains most often if you have a family member who is a U.S. citizen and can sponsor your immigration status.
Asylum: You can seek asylum if you can prove you would be subject to persecution if returned to your home country.
Withholding of removal: Much like asylum, this option hinges on whether you can show you are “more likely than not” to be persecuted if sent home.
Convention Against Torture (CAT) Protection: If you are returned home, you are “more likely than not” to be tortured.
Cancellation of Removal: If you can prove ten years of physical presence in the United States and also show that your removal would result in “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” to a relative – spouse, parent, or child – who is a citizen or lawful permanent resident, your removal may be canceled.
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA): You must show that you’ve been physically present in the United States with good moral character for three years, but that you have been “battered or subject to extreme cruelty” by a “qualifying relative.” VAWA applies to women, men, and children.
Each of these relief options contains various limitations as to the form of relief. Some allow for the attainment of a Green Card, others just providing a stop to removal. You must check with a knowledgeable immigration attorney to determine under which category your best chance for relief resides.
As a last resort, you can agree to voluntary departure, which would prevent authorities from including an order for removal in your immigration record. Without a removal notation on your record, you may be able to return to the United States in the future if you can meet admission requirements.
If you are ordered removed, you have 30 days to file an appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). The BIA does not typically hold a hearing but conducts a “paper” review. If they deny your appeal, you have an additional 30 days to appeal through the federal court system.
We represent people in removal proceedings at the Immigration Court. Depending on the circumstances, you may qualify for relief from removal. We will assess all your options thoroughly and advocate zealously on your behalf. If you’ve received an NTA and are facing a removal hearing, or you’ve already been issued removal orders, contact us immediately at Corbaci Law, P.C. We will fight for your rights.