How the United States Deportation & Removal Procedures Works


This article will provide guidance on How Deportation & Removal Procedures Work in the United States When the US government removes an immigrant from the country, the process is commonly referred to as deportation. However, the more accurate term is ‘removal.’ This action can be taken against both documented and undocumented immigrants under US Immigration Law, indicating that the reasons for removal are diverse and based on various legal grounds. Click here to watch our introduction video.

The Agencies Involved in Immigration Enforcement

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

ICE is primarily responsible for enforcing immigration laws within the country’s borders. This includes arresting immigrants, detaining them, and ultimately removing them from the United States. Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers!

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

USCIS handles everyday immigration matters such as visa applications and naturalization. In some cases, USCIS also initiates removal proceedings, particularly when an individual’s application for lawful permanent residence is denied without any other legal basis to remain in the country. Click here for information on How Rush Process Service Can Expedite Your Case.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

CBP guards the borders and ports of entry to prevent unauthorized entry into the country. While they can execute expedited removals, most cases are referred to the Executive Office for Immigration Review for a more comprehensive legal process. Click here for information on How Process Servers Protect Your Rights: Myths Debunked

Reasons for Deportation in the United States

Violation of Immigration Laws

Immigrants can be removed for failing to adhere to visa conditions, overstaying their visa, or not reporting changes in address. Both documented and undocumented individuals are at risk, though the latter are more frequently subject to removal. Click here for information on How To Identify A Good Process Service Agency.

Fraud and Misrepresentation

Activities aimed at deceiving immigration authorities, such as marriage fraud or falsifying documents, are grounds for removal.

Criminal Convictions

Crimes, ranging from misdemeanors to serious offenses like aggravated felonies, can lead to deportation. The type and severity of the crime often influence the likelihood of removal.

Rights of Immigrants Facing Deportation

All individuals have the right to an attorney and to a fair trial, although the specifics of these rights can vary based on the immigrant’s status and the nature of their case.

Waivers and Relief

In certain cases, the Attorney General has the discretion to waive deportation if the immigrant meets specific criteria, such as aiding a spouse or child.

Special Considerations

Asylum Seekers

Individuals fearing persecution in their home country may apply for asylum. This status provides protection from removal under certain conditions.

Adjustment of Status

This process allows for changing one’s immigration status, potentially providing a pathway to lawful permanent residency based on family relationships or other qualifications.

Cancellation of Removal

This legal defense against deportation is available under specific circumstances, such as demonstrating prolonged presence in the U.S. and showing “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident relative.

Voluntary Departure

Under certain conditions, an individual may opt for voluntary departure to avoid the consequences of formal deportation, making it easier to legally return to the U.S. in the future.


Understanding the complex framework of Deportation & Removal Procedures in the United States is crucial for immigrants and their families. Knowing the roles of various immigration agencies, the grounds for deportation, and the rights and options available can empower those facing such proceedings to navigate the process more effectively.


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