Deportation / Removal: Immigration Court


Deportation proceedings occur when the federal government orders a non-citizen to be removed from the United States. Removal may happen for different reasons, including violation of U.S. immigration laws or other violations of law.


A deportation proceeding begins when a person who does not have legal status in the United States receives a Notice to Appear (“NTA”) in Immigration Court.  The NTA will tell the person the allegations against them and that they must appear for a “Master Hearing.”  At the Master hearing, the Judge will see you for the first time.  He or she will read the allegations against you and ask you to either concede or deny.  The Judge at the deportation proceedings will also ask what relief you will be seeking.  A deportation attorney can accompany you to the hearing, request a relief and speak on your behalf.

The second type of deportation hearing is called an “Individual Hearing.”  At the Individual Hearing, your deportation lawyer will present the evidence to the Judge and make arguments on your behalf to defend you.  You may be called to testify in Court.  If the Judge grants your relief, you can remain in the United States.  If the Judge denies your request for relief, you will receive an order of removal from the U.S.  However, you can still appeal the Immigration Judge’s decision and remain additional time in U.S.


If you are in deportation proceedings, your deportation attorney can discuss with you the types of relief you may qualify.  The relief is discretionary, and the Judge will ultimately decide whether to grant or deny the relief you seek.

Forms of Relief from Deportation


What to do in case of deportation?

You have several options that you can request from the Immigration Court to avoid deportation. The most important thing is to consult with an immigration attorney to make sure you qualify for the requested relief. Some of the options are described below:

Voluntary departure is for individuals who want to leave the United States voluntarily and pay for their way out. Voluntary departure has fewer negative consequences than being deported by a Judge. If you are granted voluntary departure, and you are not detained, you will be granted 120 days to depart the U.S. If you do not depart the U.S. within the 120 days, the voluntary departure turns into an automatic order of removal, you might have to pay a fine of $1,000-$5,000, and you cannot get a green card through a family member for ten years. A deportation lawyer can assess your specific situation and determine if you qualify for voluntary departure and if that is the best option for you.

If your deportation attorney determines that you are eligible for cancelation of removal, you may pursue this relief in Immigration Court.  Cancellation of Removal has many legal requirements and is very difficult to achieve but not impossible.  This remedy is available to individuals who are permanent residents and undocumented.

An Immigration Judge has the discretion to grant or deny this relief.  A Judge will consider many factors to decide like the length of residence in the U.S., family members, ties to the community, good moral character, among other things.  If the Immigration Judge grants you the cancellation of removal, you can apply for a green card.

If you are deportation proceedings, you may qualify for a green card or adjustment of status.  But, before the Immigration Judge can consider your green card application, you must first have an approved Form I-130 petition with USCIS, and an immigrant visa must be available for you.  The Form I-130 is submitted by a family member who is a United States citizen or legal permanent resident that has a qualifying relationship with you.

After USCIS approves your Form I-130 petition and the Department of State determines that there is an immigrant visa available, you can apply for adjustment of status with the Immigration Judge.  However, applying for a green card in Immigration Court is not as applying with USCIS since both require a different amount of proof.  USCIS requires a preponderance of the evidence, which means probability. The Immigration Court requires clear and convincing evidence, which requires more evidence. Your deportation attorney can help you meet a higher standard of proof often required in immigration deportation proceedings.

Asylum in Immigration Court is known as “defensive asylum.”  Asylum is a humanitarian type of relief available for people that qualify under the law. If you would like to learn more about asylum click here.

The individual hearing for asylum may extend between two to four hours. During the hearing, the government attorney will ask the applicant many questions about the situation to find out if asylum is the best and only option available for the applicant.  The Immigration Judge will hear all the testimony and see all the evidence submitted to support the claim. At the end of the immigration proceedings, the Immigration Judge will decide whether to grant or deny the asylum application.  A deportation lawyer is in the best position to help you win a defensive asylum in Immigration Court.

Deferred action is a discretionary mechanism that allows the government to exercise its discretion and not deport you. Deferred action does not grant lawful status and does not provide a path to citizenship. DHS will consider the recipient to have a lawful status during the temporary authorized period. However, it does not excuse any prior or subsequent periods of illegal presence. In the past, many DACA recipients have been given this exercise of discretion.

If you are detained at an immigration detention center, you may ask the Judge for an immigration bond. This usually occurs before or at the Master Hearing.

At a bond hearing, your lawyer will present evidence and an argument that you are not a flight risk or a danger to the community.  The Judge wants to make sure that you will return to Court, stay out of trouble, and comply with any conditions of your release.

If you are granted a bond, you become free from detention.  However, you still must answer the Immigration case against you.  Otherwise, you may risk losing your bond money or your chances for relief.

How  Immigration Universe Helps

Removal and deportation proceedings from the U.S. can be very stressful for families. If you or anyone you know is facing deportation, please call Terra Immigration Partners immediately.  We are deportation immigration lawyers and will provide you with the best option you have and will zealously defend you in Immigration Court.  Our attorneys have extensive defense litigation backgrounds and are eager to fight on your behalf.

Our office recommends that you seek the help of our experienced and knowledgeable immigration attorneys. Contact our office today for an initial consultation.

Let’s talk about your immigration case. Contact us to talk to an immigration attorney.