Immigration Removal Proceedings – United States Immigration Lawyers

Removal defense - United States Immigration Lawyers

When you have been in the United States for a long time, living as an American may be your life now. Similarly, your native country may seem unknown or like a distant memory. Our immigration lawyers understand that, for these reasons, the idea of deportation from the United States may terrify you. 

What are some options to provide relief from removal proceedings?

Anyone facing removal from the United States needs a knowledgable defense team. Our Milwaukee immigration lawyers who handle removal proceedings provide you with all available options to allow you to stay in the United States. Furthermore, we prepare the case thoroughly. We use any case law, statutes, or public policy issues to promote your removal defense. Our goan is not only to protect our clients from orders to leave the United States, but we seek opportunities for our clients facing removal proceedings to come away from that process with a green card. In conclusion, sometimes the silver lining of removal proceedings is that it can result in permanent residency to remain in the United States as a lawful permanent resident.

Frequently Asked Questions about Removal Proceedings in the United States

  • What does it mean to be removed?
  • Why might someone face removal?
  • What is the procedure for a removal action?
  • How can I defend against being removed?
  • What happens a judge orders me removed?
  • What are the consequences a judge ordering me removed?
  • Is relief from removal available?
  • What do I need to do to return to the United States after being removed?

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Deportation Proceedings

What does it mean to be ordered removed from the United States?

Removal hearings are civil proceedings. However, removal hearings can result in the formal removal of a non-citizen admitted to the United States, if found to have violated US immigration laws.  Normally a judge orders removal.  Since 1997 deportation, determinations of inadmissibility, and decisions of eligibility for relief from removal are all covered under the term, removal proceedings. 

What are the reasons why someone could face removal?

A judge may order the following people removed from the United States: a foreign national, inadmissible at the time of entry or adjustment of status, who violates an immigration status, or convicted of certain criminal offenses. For example, any of the below situations could result in removal proceedings:

A denied application for immigration benefits

 An alien who receive a denial on an application for immigration benefits may subsequently find themselves in removal proceedings. The following list provide examples of denied applications that sometimes result in removal proceedings: permanent residency, political asylum, or naturalization.

Conviction of certain crimes or an aggravated felony

The law requires that immigration officials take into custody any alien who has been convicted of an aggravated felony upon release from incarceration.  Conviction for other criminal offenses are result in the possibility of removal, including:  

  • certain offenses against the government
  • crimes of moral turpitude where there is a possible sentence of more than 1 year, or 2 or more offenses of moral turpitude regardless of imprisonment
  • domestic violence offenses
  • engaging in detrimental national security activities
  • high speed flight from an immigration checkpoint
  • illegal voting
  • offenses involving controlled substances (other than a singular offense of possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana for personal use)
  • failing to register as an alien
  • falsification of immigration documents
  • falsely representing oneself as a citizen
  • firearms offenses
  • terrorist activity.  

According to the Department of Homeland Security US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), most removal actions, and those with the highest priority for enforcement, are the result of a criminal conviction.

Deliberately or accidentally overstaying a visa, illegal immigration actions, failure to obtain the proper visa, and present in violation of law

 Removal proceedings may result if an alien admitted as a non-immigrant failed to maintain non-immigrant status. Similarly, removal proceedings may begin if an immigrant failed to comply with the terms or conditions of admission. Additionally, removal proceedings often result if an alien is present in the US in violation of any law. Finally, removal proceedings can be expected if a non-immigrant visa has been revoked.

Entering without inspection

Entering without inspection refers to an alien who entered the United States without going through immigration inspection. For example, entering without inspection can occur whether by crossing the border illegally from Canada or Mexico, or by the use of fraudulent documents.

Marriage fraud

Marriage fraud occurs if an alien obtains admission to the United States through a marriage to a United States citizen solely for immigration benefits.

Public charge

An alien who became a public charge within 5 years of entry due to causes that existed at the time of entry may be subject to removal.

Smuggling or human trafficking

An alien is removable under certain circumstances except family reunification, if the person assists another alien to enter the United States in violation of law.

Termination of Conditional Permanent Residence

If you face removal proceedings due to any of the above situations, or any other circumstances, contact a strong defense team, like our Milwaukee immigration lawyers.

What happens if I am facing removal proceedings or my family member is detained by immigration officials?
Proceedings before an immigration judge

A Notice to Appear begins removal proceedings. If you receive a notice to appear for removal proceedings we strongly recommend that you seek an attorney. Our United States immigration lawyers are ready to protect you. Specifically, the Notice to Appear is a charging document that must contain allegations of a violation of immigration law. Furthermore, the notice must also explain why the alien is deportable. The Department of Homeland Security is the petitioner on a notice to appear for removal proceedings. When you appear, you can expect the following:

  • An immigration law judge will hold a hearing. Normally the first hearing will be conducted within 5-10 days after someone has been placed in immigration detention.  
  • A bond hearing may be requested to obtain the alien’s release from immigration detention while the removal action is pending.  
    • If the alien obtains bond, the removal process will continue at a non-detained facility with a Master Calendar hearing. At the Master Calendar hearing a plea is entered to the allegations in the notice to appear.  
  • If the allegations are disputed, the judge will continue the removal hearing for a contested hearing. At the contested hearing the immigration judge will decide if the Department of Homeland SEcurity has proven the allegations and if there is a proper ground for deportation.
  • If the judge finds the grounds for deportation have been proven then the judge decides whether the alien is eligible for relief from removal. The judge may adjourn the case to give time to file the necessary applications for removal relief.
  • The last hearing is called the Merits Hearing. At the Merits Hearing there is a trial on the matter. At the conclusion of the trial the immigration judge makes a decision and determines whether to grant relief.
Administrative appeal

The alien or the government may appeal the decision of the Immigration Judge to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). If the judge makes the wrong decision, your United States immigration lawyers can appeal to make it right.

Judicial review

The United States Federal Court has jurisdiction to hear some appeals of the Board of Immigration Appeals’ decisions. The appellant has 30 days to file an appeal from the date of the final removal decision.

Expedited procedure for some aggravated felonies

There is an expedited procedure to remove aliens who are not legal permanent residents and who have been convicted of an aggravated felony. In this circumstance, the alien may receive notice on Form I-851, Notice of Intent to Issue a Final Administrative Deportation Order. An administrative deportation order sets forth the charge of deportability, including all the following:

  • the facts sufficient to support the allegation that the alien is not a lawful permanent resident
  • is deportable for a conviction of an aggravated felony
  • is not eligible for statutory relief from deportation.

If an alien is taken into immigration custody upon conviction for an aggravated felony, the alien may be released if the alien proves specific things. Specifically, the alien may be release if the alien can demonstrate that the alien is not a threat to the community and likely to appear for scheduled proceedings. Additionally, if the removal charge is supported by sufficient evidence, the alien will be given an opportunity to inspect the evidence, rebut the charge, and may be represented by an attorney at the proceedings. The alien has a right to seek a limited review of the decision within 30 days.

What defenses are available to avoid removal from the United States?

The best decision you can make when facing deportation is to hire an immigration lawyer to assist you.  Our strong United States immigration lawyers at Gamino Law Offices, LLC in Milwaukee, Wisconsin will hold the government to its burden. Before a judge can order your removal, the government must prove that you are deportable from the United States. However, your attorney can assist you to obtain relief from removal if the government can prove its case against you.  

What should I expect to happen if a judge orders me to be removed?
  • Issuance of a deportation warrant
  • Generally, physical removal occurs after the alien receives travel documentation. However, if the alien comes from a limited class subject to removal to a contiguous territory then removal may occur without travel documentation. Specifically, in most cases, immigration authorities submit an application for travel documentation after issuance of the deportation warrant. Additionally, the alien may request removal to any country and a request for travel document to the requested country shall be made to the authorities of the designated country. However, immigration authorities shall also submit a simultaneous application for a travel document to the authorities of the country to which the alien will likely be removed if the country of choice is unlikely to receive the alien. If a travel document cannot be obtained it is possible that removal can not be effectuated.
  • When the warrant of deportation is issued and the country of deportation has been determined, the foreign national will be served with notice of the country to where he or she will be deported.  
  • If not detained, the alien will receive notice to surrender in not less than 72 hours to complete the deportation.
  • Fingerprinting will occur at the time of physical removal. Immigration authorities place the alien’s fingerprints on the back of the warrant of deportation, with the alien’s signature.
  • All individuals who are ordered to leave the United States but who are not found, or who have not left, are put on a deportation list.  
What are the consequences of removal from the United States?
  • Removal will likely return you to your native country
  • A person who is placed in removal proceedings upon entry to the United States and was ordered removed is inadmissible for a minimum of 5 years.
  • Similarly, a person who is subject to removal left without allowing the deportation to occur (self removal) is inadmissible for 10 years. 
  • Additionally, any person who receives an order of removal that results in deportation is inadmissible to the United States for a period of 10 years from the date physically removed from the US, not the date of the order.  
  • Furthermore, a person who is removed twice from the United States, whether the proceedings commenced upon entry or otherwise, is inadmissible for a period of 20 years.
  • Moreover, any person convicted of an aggravated felony is permanently inadmissible.
  • However, applicants may obtain waivers of inadmissibility for some of the admissibility periods. An applicant may obtain an inadmissibility waiver if the applicant demonstrates extreme hardship would result to a US citizen or LPR, according to the waiver regulations. Contact us to see if our Milwaukee immigration lawyers can seek a waiver for your situation.
What relief from removal is available?

At any time before an immigration judge enters a final order, an alien subject to removal may request discretionary relief. The alien must prove eligibility for relief and that relief is deserved. Your United States immigration lawyers can help you determine what relief is right for you. The following forms of relief are available to avoid deportation:

Adjustment of Status

An alien may apply to adjust status before the immigration judge. To qualify, an immigrant visa must be immediately available and the alien must be admissible as a permanent resident.  Our United States immigration lawyers have successfully adjusted status of clients in removal proceedings.


An alien may seek asylum if the alien can demonstrate that the alien is unable to return to the alien’s home country due to persecution or fear of persecution due to certain qualifying classes. However, some aliens may not be eligible for asylum. For example, the following aliens are not eligible for asylum: anyone

  • convicted of an aggravated felony
  • found to be a danger to national security
  • outside of the time limit to file for asylum.
Cancellation of removal

An immigration judge may grant cancellation of removal to qualified aliens facing removal. Qualifications depend on whether the person facing removal is a legal permanent resident or a non-resident. One factors may include time spent residing, or continuously present in the United States. Similarly, the judge will consider whether the removal would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to the alien’s family members who are United States citizens or lawful permanent residents.   Furthermore, cancellation of removal can result in granting permanent residence by the immigration judge. Your immigration lawyers can assist with cancellation of removal for qualified individuals facing removal from the United States.

Deportation may be suspended

Individuals eligible under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) may have their deportation suspended. NACARA may provide relief to eligible nationals, or former nationals, of the following countries:

  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Albania
  • Bulgaria
  • Czechoslovakia
  • East Germany
  • Estonia
  • Hungary
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Poland
  • Soviet Union or any republic of the former Soviet Union
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Yugoslavia or any state of the former Yugoslavia.
Deportation may be deferred

You may request deferred action using form I-821, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. DACA may be an option for anyone now under age 31 who meets certain eligibility requirements. Alternatively, you may be eligible for DACA if you meet the eligibility terms of a presidential directive for a country covered under Deferred Enforced Departure.  

Legalization and registry

Legalization is a process of granting amnesty. In the process of legalization the alien receives the right to remain in the United States.  Similarly, registry grants lawful permanent residence to qualified aliens. To qualify you must have all of the following:

  • resided continuously in the US since before January 1, 1972
  • have good moral character
  • not deportable on certain grounds
  • not ineligible for citizenship. 
Unconditional withdrawal

An alien who demonstrates the intent and ability to depart immediately may be allowed to withdraw from removal proceedings. However, the judge must find that withdrawing from revomal proceedings would serve justice based on factors directly relating to the issue of admissibility before allowing an alien to withdraw from removal proceedings.

Voluntary Departure

With the permission of the Attorney General, an alien may voluntarily depart the US at the alien’s expense. Specifically, if the alien receives voluntary departure before the completion of the removal proceedings, the alien must leave within 120 days. However, if the alien receives voluntary departure at the conclusion of the proceedings, the alien must leave within 60 days. An alien who must depart within 60 days may receive an extension for good cause.  

Indeed, voluntary departure removes a bar to admissibility that would otherwise accompany deportation.  However, failure to leave after receiving voluntary departure can subject you to civil penalties and fines, and a 10 year bar to certain immigration options.  Additionally, if a person decides to leave the United States voluntarily after failing to depart voluntarily as required, the later departure is classified as self-removal. However, self departure is equivalent to deportation.

Withholding of Removal

Similar to asylum, only withholding of removal does not permit the alien to apply for legal permanent residency. Withholding of removal only prohibits USCIS from deporting the alien to one particular country.

Motion to Reconsider

An alien subject to deportation may file one motion to reconsider. However, the motion to reconsider must be filed within 30 days of the date of entry of the final order of removal. 

Motion to Reopen

The alien set to be deported may generally file 1 motion to reopen the proceedings. However, the alien must file a motion to reopen within 90 days of the date of entry of the final administrative order of removal.


A stay of deportation prevents the execution of a removal order. A stay is automatically granted during the time to file an appeal (unless appellate rights are waived) and while an appeal is pending.

How can I return to the United States after I was ordered removed?

Anyone found inadmissible to the United States may apply for consent to reapply for admission. The application for consent to reapply for admission is form I-212, Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission to the United States After Deportation or Removal. Similarly, you may obtain a waiver of inadmissibility for some of the admissibility periods. To obtain a waiver of inadmissibility, if the applicant must demonstrate extreme hardship would result to a US citizen or LPR, according to the waiver regulations.

In conclusion, contact Milwaukee immigration lawyers to assist you with any of your United States immigration law needs today. You could also check out our areas of practice to see all the ways our law firm can assist you.