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When can Legal U.S. Residents be Deported?

When can Legal U.S. Residents be Deported

Immigrants and non-citizens are at risk for deportation in certain circumstances when they are in violation of U.S. laws. Even when they are legal U.S. residents who have green cards or visas and have the right to live and work in this country, they may be sent back to their countries of origin. Immigrants who have become U.S. citizens cannot be deported, unless they used fraudulent methods to get their green cards of citizenship. The first step toward understanding all of this is to recognize the differences between residents and citizens.

What is the Difference Between U.S. Residents and U.S. Citizens?

U.S. residents are those who are legally living and working in the country. However, they do not have all the same rights as citizens. Residents can obtain green cards and can work or start up legitimate businesses. Residents can also bring immediate family members in to reside with them and can enter and leave the country at will. They can also apply for government-sponsored financial aid for educational purposes and can receive Medicare, Supplemental Security income, and Social Security benefits.

Immigrants who apply for and are naturalized can become U.S. citizens; they live in the U. S. and identify as Americans and legally belong to this country. They have the same benefits as residents, but can also hold U.S. passports, vote, become eligible for federal employee benefits, run for public office, and are not subjected to deportation unless they used fraud to gain their status.

Why are Green Card Holders Deported?

The list of grounds for deportation for legal residents is long, and the reasons focus on removing individuals who are a threat to public safety, violate the terms of their visas, or participate in criminal acts. The first reasons are violating the terms of a green card or having a conditional permanent resident status that ended. Others include marriage fraud, smuggling in aliens, and being a drug abuser. There are many deportable crimes as well, such as aggravated felonies, crimes involving moral turpitude, reckless or with evil intent; failing to register as a sex offender; drug crimes; illegal firearms; sabotage; treason; and espionage.

Further on down the list are rules against violating travel restrictions for immoral purposes, violating the Trading with the Enemy Act and violating the Military Selective Service Act, and being involved with human trafficking. Here are some of the other deportable violations, keeping in mind that there are others not included:

  • Being convicted of stalking, domestic violence, child abuse, neglect, or abandonment
  • Document forgery or fraud
  • Violating protective orders designed to stop threats of violence and harassment
  • Becoming dependent on need-based government aid, a public charge, within five years of U.S. entry
  • Providing false information to U.S. immigration authorities
  • Engaging in terrorist activities, Nazi persecution, torture, recruitment or use of child soldiers, or severe violations of religious freedoms.

How Do Deportations Work?

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) handles the removals, and these are often initiated through Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Although workplace raids are not that uncommon, DHS generally serves individuals with a Notice to Appear (NTA) in front of an immigration judge. The NTA includes the alleged grounds for deportation, the nature of the proceedings, the individual’s right to hire a lawyer at their own expense, and the consequences of failing to attend the hearing.

Foreign nationals can also be held in detention centers before their trials or deportations. Hearings are held in immigration courts, and judges make their rulings. If the decision is made to proceed with the deportation, the individual’s receiving country must agree to take them and provide travel documents. Then, ICE carries out the removal order via ground or air transportation.

What Defenses are Used Against Deportation Hearings?

In some cases, immigrants are able to keep their green cards because of marriage to a U.S. citizen or asylum. A cancellation of removal may be available for those who have lived in this country for 10 years; have good moral character; and can show that removing them would cause exceptional, unusual hardship to family members who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. There are other defenses against removal as well, such as proving that the alleged crime was not serious or did not even happen.

Some individuals are granted merit hearings, and a qualified immigration lawyer will be needed to help with this. Residents may testify on their own behalf, but they will also be questioned by DHS lawyers. This is the time to have supporting evidence to present, such as sworn statements, witnesses, exhibits, and photographs.

What Else can I Do if I am Facing Deportation?

Some legal residents who are facing deportation might be eligible for voluntary departures, meaning that they can leave the country on their own. The first step is to contact a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office to get more information. If a resident believes that their civil rights have been violated during the removal, immigration, or detention proceedings, a complaint can be filed with the DHS.

It may be possible to appeal a deportation ruling, but it is a good idea to secure legal counsel before making any appeals. The USCIS can also help with the appeal process, and there are nonprofit groups that may also be able to provide some assistance. Undocumented immigrants may be able to get green cards through an adjustment of status process, which involves getting a petition from a family member, through withholding of removal, or asylum. Those who end up being deported may have the option of filing an I-212 form, which is an application for readmission to the United States.

The Online Detainee Locator System can be used to find someone who is being held for an immigration violation or was released within the previous 60 days from an ICE detention facility. Otherwise, the immigration detention facility can be contacted directly; another option is to reach out to the Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations field offices.

Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at MC Law Group, LLC Help Residents Facing Possible Deportation

Immigration law can be complicated and enforcement methods can be frightening, but you are still entitled to certain rights. For legal help with any type of immigration issue, contact the caring, skilled Philadelphia immigration lawyers at MC Law Group LLC, Call us at 215-496-0690 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout the tri-state area, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and nationwide.

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