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Deportation and Removal

Being placed in removal proceedings can be one of life's hardest challenges. The possibility of being separated from your family, your way of life, your country, can be overwhelming. Our attorneys will relentlessly defend you, or your loved ones from deportation, whether here in California, or federal detention centers in Washington or Arizona.

Deportation proceedings are initiated when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issues a Notice to Appear (NTA). The NTA is the charging document that will outline the allegations against you, and the reason for removal from the United States. DHS will then set a court date, at which you must appear.

The first hearing is called a Master hearing. During the Master hearing you can ask for an extension in order to obtain an attorney, or to prepare your case. These extensions are liberally granted. At the first, or subsequent Master hearing, you will have to plead to the allegations. This means that you either admit or deny them. It is important to obtain legal advice before admitting anything, as these admissions will be in the record for the remainder of the case. In addition, you will have to admit or deny the "charge" of removability, and designate the country of removal, should you be deported. Judges will often designate a country based on the country of your birth or citizenship even if you decline to do so. Admitting a charge is a very important (if not the most important) step in the proceedings. DHS will often charge the wrong offense, and many clients will overlook these mistakes if they are unfamiliar with the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA). This is another area where legal advice is very important. Finally, you will have to state what form of relief you will be applying for. There are a number of ways to prevent deportation, but all of them have specific requirements: yet another instance where competent legal advice is necessary.

If you deny the allegations and the charges, the court will schedule an evidentiary hearing during which DHS will try to "prove-up" their case. If they are successful, or you admit the allegations and the charge, you will be scheduled an Individual hearing. Depending on the kind of relief that you had requested, you would have submitted specific applications to the court prior to the Individual hearing, and had also passed a biometric examination. This hearing is the equivalent of a trial, where you can introduce evidence and bring witnesses.  At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge will issue an order, ruling for one of the sides. If an order of deportation is issued, it is very important to reserve appeal. Appeals have to be timely filed, and you must not waste any time. You will not be deported when an appeal is pending.


Many people who face deportation are picked up by DHS at the conclusion of their sentence in county or state facility. DHS conducts interviews with non-citizens who are incarcerated to determine if they are deportable. Once they do, DHS will place an ICE hold over the prisoner, and will take custody upon the completion of the original sentence. If you are being questioned by DHS, it is very important to admit nothing, and ask for an attorney.

Once placed in DHS custody, you can petition to be released. Some persons are eligible for bond, however some are subject to "mandatory detention" provisions of the INA, and cannot be released except for a very specific, enumerated reason. If you request a bond hearing, the judge will decide whether you can be released, and how much bond, if any, you will need to post. Some detainees are eligible for ISAP, which will allow you to be released with an ankle bracelet. ISAP detainees have to follow a strict schedule, and report periodically to the proper authorities. Whether you are detained or released, you will still have a Master and an Individual hearing scheduled: the process is almost identical to the one described above.


There are a number of forms of relief available to those facing deportation. Our office will identify the best ones and aggressively represent you in court. Although some for the best forms of relief are available to those here legally, even an undocumented alien can prevent deportation. In that case, he or she will be issued a green card, and will become a legal permanent resident of the US.

Our office has successfully  represented aliens in deportation and removal proceedings, whether here or out of state. With attention to minute detail, we examine the evidence and subject it to intense scrutiny. Insufficient evidence can be a way to prevent deportation when no relief is available. In those proceedings where relief can be obtained, we diligently compile briefs in support of your application, prepare witnesses and declarations, and produce a case that will be your best chance of avoiding deportation. If you or your loved ones are faced with removal proceedings, please contact us immediately for a consultation. Knowing what possibilities exist is often the first step in bringing this turbulent period under control.

Immigration Attorney