The Deportation Process

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Though I have always heard about deportation, I never had a complete understanding of the deportation process. My understanding was that an alien is apprehended by a law enforcement agent –usually Immigration and Customs Enforcement, stuffed into a crowded van with tens of other illegal immigrants, and then dropped off at the Mexican border. However, the process is a lot more complicated than that.

An alien can face removal from the United States for violating any number of immigration or criminal laws (unlawful voting, committing marriage fraud, or falsifying documents). Once formally removed, an alien may permanently lose the right to return to the United States. Like any other criminal procedure, deportation is a legal proceeding. Though the alien is not a citizen of the U.S., he still has legal rights. An alien has the right to contest removal on constitutional or procedural grounds. However, the government has no responsibility to provide an attorney.

As the official charging document, a Notice to Appear (NTA) begins the deportation process. As the first set court date, the Master Calendar Hearing, an NTA is given through the mail or in person. This document lists the charges against the detainee, a description of the illegal activity committed, and a list of provisions of immigration law that were violated. Serving to review the charges in the NTA, the Master Calendar Hearing is a preliminary hearing. In these hearings, more than one respondent appears before the Immigration Judge. The Immigration judge must tell the detainee the respondent’s rights in his native language. After the Master Calendar Hearing comes the Individual hearing. In this hearing, the government proves the charges against the alien. At the end of this hearing, the judge decides if the alien will be deported. The deportation process is much more complicated and lenghty than I first understood it to be.

4 responses to “The Deportation Process

  1. I also did not realize how complex the deportation process is. It is interesting that immigrants are deported for any criminal offense, even if it is minor. While reading other articles on deportation for an essay, I discovered that both Democrats and Republicans believe in deporting immigrants. President Obama has actually broken records for the number of deportations during his first term, but he claims that this is a result of Congress putting more money into immigration enforcement. 66% of deportations are because of dangerous drugs, criminal traffic offenses and immigration. The Obama administration claims that the people being deported are “bad guys” and recent arrivals who pose a threat to society. I think that many people in this country are unaware of the deportation process and the reasons that people are deported. It was interesting to hear how the process works.

  2. I find it really interesting that there is a contradiction between the fact that these aliens can be arrested and tried for breaking the law and can appeal the ruling made, but the government is not responsible for providing an attorney. This seems like the government is just picking a choosing which rights these people get and that it is very arbitrary. While I am not sure which way the government should treat immigrants I think that they should pick to either give them all the same treatments as citizens or none. It is too confusing that they are only given some and not all.

  3. Wow. Thank you so much for writing about this. I too did not fully understand how the deportation process worked and through your detailed explanation now understand it much better. I also think that it really sad that the government does not offer any attorney for protection, because in reality who is going to pay on behalf of the immigrant and I feel as though it would be a challenge to find someone to represent them. I was actually just reading an article about a immigrant from China who has been detained for six months. It was really sad because he has two young children and I wonder do people care that they’re breaking up families and ruining lives?

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