What is Involved in the Deportation Process?

M. Lupica
M. Lupica
Businessman with a briefcase
Businessman with a briefcase

In the event that a non-citizen who is currently residing in a country commits certain crimes, he or she may be subject to deportation. Though procedure varies based upon the country, the deportation process typically begins with a notice to appear before an immigration judge where the circumstances will be examined and a ruling will be issued on whether or not the non-citizen is to be removed from the country. Depending on the non-citizen’s status and history within the country, different standards of leniency may be used. Additionally, some countries offer asylum to non-citizens who cannot return to their country of origin due to substantiated fears of persecution.

A foreign national is usually allowed to legally reside in a country where he or she does not hold citizenship provided he or she follows that country’s immigration procedures. However, if that non-citizen commits certain crimes, often classified as “crimes of moral turpitude,” then he or she will be subjected to the deportation process. Crimes of moral turpitude are generally crimes that reflect a lack of morality in the person who commits the act, such as fraud or violent crimes.

In the event the non-citizen is convicted of any such crimes, the deportation process usually begins with the service of a Notice to Appear before an immigration judge for a hearing. At this hearing, the non-citizen will have the crime for which he or she was convicted examined and weighed against his or her record in the time of residence within the country. In most cases, simply the commission of a crime of moral turpitude will subject the non-citizen to deportation regardless of a perfect record prior to commission of the crime.

There are however, some nations that apply different standards to different levels of non-citizenship. In the United States (US), for example, someone classified as a “lawful permanent non-resident” will have a better chance of having his or her removal canceled — that is, the judge will cancel the deportation process. A lawful permanent resident in the US is classified as a person who has lived continuously for seven years in the US, has never been convicted of an aggravated felony, and has never been granted a cancellation of removal.

Another circumstance that may give rise to a cancellation of the deportation process is asylum. Asylum is typically granted to a non-citizen who, if removed to his or her country of origin, is likely to face persecution for religious beliefs, race, or ethnic classification. Generally, even if asylum is granted, the non-citizen will still face the normal penalties for his or her crime.

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