Immigrants in Florida and around the country may face deportation proceedings when they violate immigration laws or are convicted of committing crimes. Those who are removed could be prevented from ever reentering the United States even as a tourist. However, immigrants facing deportation have legal rights and can mount an aggressive defense. Deportation defenses are generally based on either constitutional or procedural grounds.
Deportation proceedings are generally initiated against immigrants who entered the country illegally, overstayed their visas or violated the provisions of laws like the Immigration and Nationality Act. Common reasons action is taken to remove an immigrant include marriage fraud and providing false documents to U.S. authorities. Green card holders and other legal immigrants can also be deported if they commit certain types of crime, engage in activities that threaten the security of the United States or vote illegally in federal elections.
Immigrants usually first hear about deportation proceedings when they receive a Notice to Appear from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. At the initial hearing, immigrants are asked if they wish to be represented by an attorney. If the contents of the NTA are determined to be valid, eligible immigrants can apply for relief from deportation. During deportation hearings, immigrants can call witnesses or testify on their own behalf. If their application for relief is denied and deportation is ordered, immigrants are given 30 days to file an appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals.
An attorneys with deportation defense experience could advocate on behalf of an immigrant facing removal by applying for a cancellation of removal, seeking an adjustment of their status or petitioning for asylum. When the government's case is strong and a deportation order seems likely, legal counsel could pursue voluntary departure. This could allow immigrants to return to the United States in the future.