Can You Come Back To The U.S. After Deportation?

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Can You Come Back To The U.S. After Deportation

The areas of United States laws that focus on immigration, deportation, and re-entry are incredibly complex. There are frequent policy changes that can affect immigrants, and often they may not even realize these changes were enacted. 

Below is a guide to immigration and deportation, what to know about being deported, and whether or not you can come back to the United States after removal. 

What Is Deportation?

Deportation is the term for being removed from the U.S. if you’re a foreign national found to have violated immigration law. 

The process may be initiated under United States law if a foreign national participates in criminal acts, is found to be a threat to public safety, or violates their visa. 

If someone comes to America without the needed travel documents, they might be deported quickly without a court hearing, under a process known as an order of expedited removal. Typically, someone goes before a judge, and their removal or deportation process is longer. 

A foreign national can be held in a detention center before deportation, and an Immigrant Court of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) hears the case. If a judge rules deportation should proceed, the country receiving the person has to agree to accept them, and they have to issue their travel documents before U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) carries out its removal order. 

Most removals are at the expense of the U.S. government, but some may use combined air and ground transportation. A criminal non-citizen who commits non-violent crimes may be subject to something called Rapid REPAT. 

Reasons An Immigrant May Be Deported

One of the most apparent reasons that someone might be deported is if they didn’t have the initial right to be in the U.S. If an immigrant came across the border, entered illegally in any way, or stayed beyond their visa’s departure date, then they can be deported. Even people with a temporary or permanent right to stay in the U.S. can be removed too. 

Some of the reasons for removal include:

  • If you’re in the U.S. as a nonimmigrant, typically on a visa, there are conditions that apply to your stay. As an example, if you’re here on a tourist visa, you aren’t allowed to work. If you’re a J-1 exchange student, you can’t quit your program and start working. If you don’t follow the conditions of your stay and maintain your nonimmigrant status, you might be deported. 
  • If you don’t let U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) know about a change of address, you can be deported. Even if you’re a nonimmigrant on a temporary visa with a long stay, you are expected to notify USCIS about a change in your address. You only have ten days to do so. 
  • There are many crimes that can lead to an immigrant being deportable from the U.S. Crimes that could get someone deported include document fraud, domestic violence, aggravated felonies, alien smuggling, drug offenses, or firearms trafficking. If you are convicted of a crime, it’s not going to be labeled as a crime or moral turpitude or aggravated felony, although that’s what these crimes are called in immigration law. Instead, you’re told that your crime is classified as a felony or misdemeanor where you live. Immigration authorities then have the ability to make their own judgment about how they’re going to classify the crime for purposes of immigration. There are certain misdemeanors that can make you deportable. 
  • Suppose you violate U.S. immigration law in any way, you might be deported. For example, if you participate in a fraudulent marriage, you’re violating immigration law and could be found deportable as a result. 
  • If you receive a green card, you have to prove you won’t become a public charge. That means you won’t need to rely on need-based assistance from the government. If you, within five years after your point of entry, become a public charge, you may be deportable. If you have a green card, your petitioner and any other financial sponsor are meant to follow through with their commitment to support you. They may also be asked to reimburse agencies that an immigrant receives public assistance from, and if not, you may go through deportation proceedings. 

What Happens When You’re Deported?

If immigration officials become suspicious of something an immigrant is doing, or they find evidence, they will detain that person. There are detention centers throughout the country. Once a case is registered against someone, they have to attend a hearing. 

If the hearing doesn’t go in favor of the immigrant, ICE issues a document. This is known as a “Bag and Baggage” letter. The letter lets the immigrant know when and where they need to report so they can return to their native country, with expenses covered by the U.S. government. An immigrant can also leave voluntarily at this point. 

If you ignore the Bag and Baggage letter, accidentally or willfully, the case is forwarded to what’s known as a fugitive unit. A police force team will then track you down, and you’ll be arrested. You can be arrested anywhere, and then you’re taken to a detention center and kept in custody until travel arrangements can be made. 

If you’re ordered deported, there are options to appeal. For example, if you think your civil rights are being violated, you can file a complaint with the Board of Immigration Appeals. To appeal a deportation order, you have to file Form I-264, the Application for a Stay of Deportation or Removal. This document gives you extra time in the U.S. It’s only a three-page form, and two of those pages are instructions. You have to send the document to the closest ICE Field Office within 30 days of an order of removal being issued against you. 

Can You Re-Enter After Deportation?

If you’re deported from the U.S., you aren’t able to apply for a new immigrant visa, a nonimmigrant visa, adjustment of status, or any other admission without certain legal restrictions applying. 

You have to wait for a certain amount of time before you can reapply. This can be five, ten, or 20 years in most cases. 

If you do want to request re-entry, there’s Form I-212, which you can submit to ask for permission to apply to come back to the United States before your required waiting time ends. The form is called  an “Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission Into the United States After Deportation or Removal.” You have to provide support with your application and show factors that are in your favor. 

These factors might include having family in the U.S., rehabilitation following a criminal violation, and your good moral character. 

If you left the U.S. voluntarily and you weren’t deported or legally removed, you can apply to re-enter the U.S. without Form I-212. 

If you’re separately inadmissible to the U.S. as well as having the time period based on your past removal, you might have to submit USCIS Form I-601, which is the “Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility.”

There are going to be some people with a better chance of getting a waiver to re-enter than others. A waiver following an aggravated felony is not likely. If you’re accused of terrorism, it’s also unlikely you’ll get a waiver of inadmissibility. 

Aggravated felonies, as mentioned above, can include things like rape, drug trafficking, or trafficking firearms. If you’re removed for an aggravated felony, you’re prevented from coming back to the U.S. for 20 years. 

There’s not any standard as far as the eligibility criteria you need to meet to apply for re-entry. The U.S. government considers a lot of factors based on unique circumstances. 

If you illegally enter the U.S., it’s a misdemeanor and can lead to prison time. 

There’s also a law that makes the offense of re-entering or attempting to come back to the U.S. after removal a felony. You’ll probably be permanently prevented from coming back to the U.S. if you come in illegally after a previous removal. 

If you’re preparing to reapply for a visa, you’ll need to submit records that support your case. You could show court documents from your removal proceedings and records of how long you were legally in the U.S., and your immigration status during that time. You will submit whatever evidence you can collect showing you’re of good moral character, evidence of rehabilitation since your removal order, and proof of any responsibilities to family members who are U.S. citizens. 

You might also show that you’re eligible for a Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility and evidence of extreme hardship to your family in the U.S., yourself, or to your U.S.-based employer. 

As you might imagine, this can all get very complex, so that’s why working with a lawyer tends to be the best option when dealing with anything related to immigration. It’s difficult to manage the U.S. immigration system on your own without legal counsel. 

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