Learn how the deportation process works

All immigrants living in the United States face the possibility of entering into deportation proceedings for a variety of reasons. No matter the reason for being in deportation proceedings, this can be a frightening time for the person and their loved ones.

Expulsion from the country implies complying with a set of rules, norms and procedures that in many cases are violated and that an expert immigration lawyer in Atlanta can help solve, avoiding the harsh deportation process. 

While being an immigrant can make it difficult to understand the deportation process and all of the details of that procedure, you have the opportunity to defend yourself, even though you are not a U.S. citizen. An experienced immigration attorney like those of us at Diaz & Gaeta Law can help you.

What is the deportation process?

In general, deportation proceedings are notified by a judge specifying the reason for appearing, how the immigrant violated the law or his immigration status, and the right to have a lawyer.

However, ICE may not be able to deport certain people from some countries because they do not receive people who have been deported directly from the United States. In the event that a person decides to expedite the deportation process, he / she only has to offer to the ICE by mail a copy of their passport, a birth certificate and another identification card from their country of origin.

But what are the steps in carrying out a deportation and appeal process?

Notice of Appearance.

The immigrant receives a letter from DHS (Department of Homeland Security) specifying the charges they are being accused of, such as an immigration crime, as well as the court date and location. This document is called a Notice of Appearance or Notice to Appear. If the immigrant fails to appear, then immigration authorities will issue a deportation order in absentia.

There are two serious consequences that exist if you have a deportation order in absentia. First, if you are arrested or detained after you have issued that order, deportation will be immediate without the option to appear before an immigration judge. Secondly, you cannot ask for a pardon for a period of 5 years and be able to return to the country.

Once the person cited has received the Notice to Appear the best course of action is to hire the services of an immigration lawyer in Atlanta to be able to take your case and represent you in court.


Prior hearing and merit hearing.

The migrant appears before a judge at court where he/she is informed of the charges and the documents that he/she must provide before attending the next hearing. However, it is possible for detained immigrants to request freedom during the first appearance while their case is resolved. During this first appearance, the detained immigrant can request freedom from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody.

Freedom can be requested by all detained migrants, but the law directly excludes all those who were arrested at an immigration crossing, were not legally admitted, represent a threat to the country or committed robberies, or who have fraud and drug charges. If the judge grants freedom at this first hearing, they will establish a bail and a new date for a new hearing and the migrant can appear at liberty with the bail paid.

During the merits hearing, the migrant has the opportunity to defend themself against the charges and crimes that are initially charged and can present witnesses to support their innocence. This hearing is the most important because it is when they explain to the judge why they should remain in the U.S.

The procedure to follow during this hearing is that the judge will review the documents presented, while the migrant and the witnesses will be interrogated by their lawyer and the government lawyer. In turn, the migrant has the opportunity to present the reasons why that relief should be granted, while the government attorney will state the reasons for the denial of relief.


During the sentence, the judge has to decide, having heard the arguments of both parties, between two options: relief or deportation. Each immigration case is different, however the laws establish relief options that migrants can achieve.

The judge has the power to issue a sentence orally, at that precise moment, or in writing if they need more time to resolve the case and communicate the decision.

After the sentence the judge can make one of the following determinations to communicate his decision: that the charges have not been proven, that they have been proven and can grant relief or that the charges are true and, therefore, orders the deportation of migrant

From this moment, the deadline for making the corresponding appeals by both parties during the next 30 days before the BIA (Immigration Appeals Court) begins. However, if no appeals are received during that time, the decision made by the judge will be the final one and a new hearing will be held to arrange all the documentation corresponding to the relief of the migrant to reside in the United States or the documentation to initiate the process of deportation.

The Law Firm Díaz & Gaeta is serious, responsible and committed to the Hispanic community. We have defended and won immigration cases, car accidents, DUI cases, criminal cases and non-license cases in different Atlanta courts.

As Latino lawyers we are bilingual so that we can help you in whatever language is most comfortable for you. Do not hesitate to call us, we are always committed to fighting for your rights.

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