Houston Deportation FAQ’s
WHAT ARE THE GROUNDS FOR DEPORTATION?
There are five broad categories of grounds for deportation:
- Entering the country without proper authority
- Status violators, who violate the terms of their admission or work without permission
- Persons with a broad range of criminal convictions
- Persons who are members of certain prohibited organizations (such as communists)
- Certain people who become public charges within five years of entering the U.S.
WHAT IS THE PRESENT DEPORTATION POLICY FOR CRIME?
In recent years Congress has become increasingly concerned about non-citizens engaged in criminal activity. An alien who seeks permanent residence and has a criminal record will find it extremely difficult to obtain status here. Similarly, a permanent resident or other non-citizen who commits a crime will likely face deportation.
In addition, there are certain categories of crimes for which a person may have been convicted in the past that could place the non-citizen’s right to remain here in serious jeopardy – even if he has been in the US all of his life. The INS seems to place its highest priority on the deportation of persons in State and Federal prisons, especially for violent crimes.
WHAT ABOUT “AGGRAVATED” FELONIES?
The harshest penalties are reserved for a category of crimes called “aggravated felonies. ” With a few exceptions, it does not matter how or when the person may have been convicted of the aggravated felony. It also does not matter that the person pleaded guilty or nolo contendre (no contest) or went through an entire trial – the only thing the immigration Judge is concerned about is whether the person was convicted of an aggravated felony.
WHAT DO AGGRAVATED FELONIES INCLUDE?
Aggravated felonies include murder, rape, illicit trafficking in a controlled substance, money laundering in transactions in exceeding $10,000, firearms, explosives or arson charges, any crime of violence, whether against people or property, for which the term of imprisonment imposed is at least 1 year, theft offenses, “national defense” offenses (such as transmitting certain defense information), commercial bribery, counterfeiting, forgery, trafficking in vehicles with altered identification numbers, and perjury. Foreign convictions will have the same effect, where the term of imprisonment was completed within the last 15 years.
I AM NOW ON PROBATION – WILL THE INS DEPORT ME?
It is common for INS or Border Patrol to survey Court and probation records and arrest an alien when he or she is making their required monthly probation report.
WHAT IS A “DEPORTABLE” OFFENSE?
If your criminal offense is a “deportable” offense under the Immigration and Naturalization Act; you would then be subject to Arrest and Detention by the INS pending removal proceedings in Immigration Court.
HOW DOES THE DEPORTATION PROCESS START?
Deportation proceedings begin with the INS issuing a Notice to Appear in Removal Proceedings. Thereafter, a Master Calendar hearing is held in Immigration Court so that the alien may respond to the charges.
IS THERE STATUTORY RELIEF?
There are ways of winning a deportation or removal case. It depends upon how long you have been here in the United States, your family relationships, or whether you have a past criminal history. Cancellation of removal may be available to permanent residents who have continuously resided in the United States for 7 years and may also be available to other aliens who have been continuously present in the United States for 10 years. If the alien were statutorily eligible for such relief, the Immigration Judge would then determine if the alien merits the relief requested. If a person has been in the US for ten years, he can sometimes become a permanent resident in Removal Proceedings.