Facing deportation, also known as removal, can be a deeply distressing experience. Deportation is a formal procedure in which the U.S. government mandates a noncitizen to leave the country. There are various reasons for deportation. However, the process typically ensues because of an individual violating immigration laws.
Here are the three main reasons that could compel the U.S. government to consider someone for deportation.
Involvement in criminal activities
Noncitizens may face deportation if a court finds them guilty of a criminal offense. These can range from crimes of moral turpitude and aggravated felonies to offenses involving:
- Controlled substances
- Domestic violence
- Harm to children
- Tax evasion
What counts as a deportable crime is often subject to interpretation by immigration courts.
Threat to national security or public safety
The state may initiate deportation for those who threaten national security or public safety. This includes suspected terrorists, espionage agents, saboteurs and others deemed dangerous. Individuals violating health-related inadmissibility rules, like carrying a significant public health risk disease, may also face deportation.
Noncitizens in the U.S. on a visa must follow the conditions of that visa. For instance, if a noncitizen is in the U.S. on a work visa, they must comply with their visa rules. This usually means maintaining their employment status until their visa expires or until they secure a different visa status. If this individual loses their job or quits and fails to report this change to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), they could potentially lose their visa status and face deportation.
Deportation proceedings begin with a hearing in an immigration court. There, the individual can challenge their deportation if they believe they have valid legal grounds to stay in the U.S. If the judge orders deportation, they must leave the U.S. and return to their home country immediately. However, it’s important to note there are protections and exceptions under the law that may provide some relief. For instance, eligibility for relief measures such as Cancellation of Removal can allow an immigrant to apply for an adjustment of status, shifting from a deportable immigrant to a lawful permanent resident via the immigration court.
The fear of deportation is real and shared by many. So, staying informed about the factors leading to deportation is crucial to avoid encountering such issues.