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Removal Proceedings

United States Removal or Deportation Proceedings

What Is Deportation?

Deportation and removal refer to the same concept. Removal is the legal term for deportation but can and is used interchangeably. Deportation has three main steps:

  • Removal proceedings
  • Ordered to deport
  • The act of removal/deportation

Removal proceedings are the first step in the entire deportation process. We will focus on removal proceedings and the options for how to approach your specific removal proceeding case.

What are Immigration Removal Proceedings?

Removal proceeding is what happens when the government starts the process for an order of removal. In this case, an immigration judge or officer will determine whether you can remain in the United States. Anyone in the United States who is not a U.S. Citizen could be subject to removal proceedings. Working with a removal defense attorney can help you when you are placed in removal proceedings.

Who Can Be Removed?

The grounds of deportable people are established under Code 8 U.S.C. § 1227. Common causes of removal proceedings include:

  • Violation of green card status terms
  • Marriage fraud
  • Is in the U.S. without proper legal immigration status
  • Overstayed past visa expiration
  • Has been involved in criminal activity
  • They were inadmissible during adjustment of status or while entering the U.S.

There are many other reasons why an individual may be placed into removal proceedings. Usually, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will accuse non-U.S. citizens of violating a law that can render them removable.

Deportation Process Timeline

Removal proceedings are conducted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The DHS will first serve the non-citizen with a Notice to Appear (NTA). The NTA will cover information such as the alleged grounds for removal and your right to have an attorney.

Master Calendar Hearing

The first hearing is referred to as the master calendar hearing. It is necessary for you to arrive in person at your hearing date or else you will be issued an automatic removal. You can bring your attorney with you to this meeting.

Merit Hearing

Your Chicago removal and deportation defense lawyer and you will then look at options on which steps to take next. If you come up with a plan to defend against your removal, such as adjustment of status in removal proceedings or withholding of removal status adjustment for example, then you will move onto the next step. The merit hearing or hearings allow you and your immigration lawyer for removal proceedings will present your case. Your removal proceedings attorney can help gather evidence and conduct questions for the merit hearings.

The attorneys at Scott D. Pollock & Associates represent clients throughout all stages of removal proceedings. We have experience in a variety of circumstances, including those described below.

Adjustment of Status

An adjustment of status (AOS) is an application for immigrants located in the U.S. who want to change their status to that of a lawful permanent resident (LPR). However, AOS can also be used as a defense during removal proceedings. When facing removal proceedings, adjustment of status can be done based on marriage or relationship to a U.S. Citizen or LPR. The USCIS will review and either approve or deny an I-130 petition. Your immigration lawyer for removal proceedings can assist with AOS paperwork along with defending you through the removal process.

Learn More About Adjustment of Status


People facing removal proceedings who are unable or unwilling to return to their home country or country of origin due to persecution may be qualified to apply for asylum. Asylum is applicable for foreign nationals who can demonstrate that they have been or will likely face persecution on the grounds of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.

The asylum application process is different for people who are in the process of being deported than if they were not facing removal proceedings.

Learn More About Political Asylum

Cancellation of Removal

Foreign nationals facing removal proceedings may be able to fight deportation by applying for cancellation of removal. This application can waive certain immigration violations, depending on the circumstances.

If applicants successfully secure a cancellation of removal, they are eligible to keep or obtain permanent residency in the U.S.

Learn More About Cancellation of Removal

Convention Against Torture

Convention Against Torture (CAT) is an extremely rare grant of protection. CAT is intended for foreign nationals who fear torture in their home country or country of origin, either by the government or with the acquiescence of the government.

Foreign nationals who are legally ineligible for withholding of removal and asylum may find CAT as their only option for remaining in the U.S.

Learn More About Convention Against Torture

INA 212(h) Waivers

212(h) waivers are part of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Generally used alongside AOS, they authorize discretionary waivers of certain inadmissible crimes. INA 212(h) waivers are often used for people who are inadmissible to the U.S. due to criminal convictions.

These waivers can provide a deportation defense if applicants prove they have been rehabilitated, they are not a threat to national welfare and safety, and the criminal activity in question occurred more than 15 years before they applied for entry into the U.S.

Learn More About 212(h) Waivers

Voluntary Departure

Through voluntary departure, people facing removal proceedings can leave the U.S. of their own volition, rather than being formally deported.

Voluntary departure has several benefits over a removal order, the most prominent of which is that it does not lead to ten years of inadmissibility.

Learn More About Voluntary Departure

Withholding of Removal

Withholding of removal is intended for foreign nationals who can prove there is a significant chance they will be persecuted in their home country or country of origin upon return. Anyone granted withholding of removal is protected from being deported to the country where they fear persecution.

This option is inferior to asylum in several ways, but certain crimes that disqualify applicants from securing asylum do not make them ineligible from withholding of removal.

Learn More About Withholding of Removal

Contact an Attorney

At Scott D. Pollock & Associates, we are here to provide you with the high-quality and affordable representation you need to fight against removal proceedings. Our Chicago removal and deportation defense attorney firm will be with you every step of the way as we navigate removal proceeding options. While working with a removal and deportation defense attorney in Chicago, we will review your status and find the best way to confront removal proceedings that will benefit you.

Contact a member of our team today at 312.444.1940.

For questions and/or to arrange a consultation with one of our attorneys contact us now

We're looking forward to hearing from you!