Removal proceedings take place in Immigration Courts, located in many of the states, and are conducted by Immigration Judges. Removal proceedings are initiated when the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issues a Notice to Appear (NTA), Form I-862, and files it with the United States Immigration Court.
The NTA, formally referred to as an Order to Show Cause (OSC), Form I-221, is a document that lists specific immigration violations and/or charges that allegedly were committed by a person for whom this NTA was issued. Often, the NTA also contains the date and place of the first immigration court hearing. In instances when the NTA does not list a date and time of the hearing, once the Notice to Appear is filed with the Immigration Court the court, court personnel will send a hearing notice that will contain the date, time and place of the immigration hearing.
There are many reasons why individuals are placed in removal proceedings. Among the most common reasons are: remaining in the United States beyond the period authorized by the DHS, violating the terms of admission into the United States, commission of a crime involving moral turpitude or a felony, and entering the United States without having been properly inspected and admitted by an immigration officer.
Once an individual appears before the Immigration Judge, he or she is required to answer the charges contained in the NTA. The government may exercise prosecutorial discretion, and instead of prosecuting the case to the full extent of immigration law, may drop all or some of the charges leveled against an immigrant. At this point the immigrant will have to either concede the charges alleged in the NTA and request relief from removal, or deny the charges and present evidence as to why he or she is not subject to removal and should be permitted to remain in the United States.
There are various types of reliefs and/or benefits that one may apply for after having been placed in removal proceedings. The most common types of reliefs are known as: Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, Application for Withholding of Removal under the U.N. Convention Against Torture, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, or a Cancellation of Removal. A person placed in removal proceedings may also request that the government exercises prosecutorial discretion and administratively close the removal proceedings.
Please contact our office for more information regarding removal proceedings. The process of removal proceedings can be very complex and requires guidance of an experienced immigration attorney.