Law Offices of

Cynthia R. Exner, LLC



American Immigration Lawyers Association










Removal/Deportation before the Immigration Court:

 A long time ago if you were placed in proceedings before the Immigration Court, it was called DEPORTATION PROCEEDINGS.

The new name for these same proceedings is REMOVAL PROCEEDINGS.  Removal Proceedings sounds better than Deportation Proceedings, but they mean the same. 

If you were caught by US Customs and Border Patrol when you were crossing into the United States without a visa, or with a fake visa, you were probably placed into Removal Proceedings.  If you never attended the immigration court proceedings, you may have been Ordered Removed from the US in absentia.  This means that the immigration judge may have ordered you removed from the US, even though you never showed up in court.  If this happened, there may be an outstanding Order of Removal against you.  If immigration officials catch you now, you could be removed from the US immediately, without the opportunity to appear in court again.  This is a very dangerous situation, so it is important to know the outcome of any prior immigration proceedings against you in the past.

Also, any prior immigration court proceedings will not just “go away because a long time has elapsed”.   Orders of Removal don’t just “go away”.  Many clients think that because a long time has passed (perhaps many years) and they haven’t been removed from the US, that their immigration court case just “went away”.  It is always important to tell your immigration attorney that you were detained by immigration in the past so that the immigration attorney can find out what happened in your old case.  It is possible to obtain a copy of your old file through a Freedom of Information Request.

An in absentia order can also be dangerous if you leave the US to consular process your case.  There is no waiver of an in absentia order.

If you are in Removal Proceedings, there may be avenues of relief available to you.  One possible form of relief is called Cancellation of Removal.  This is available only in immigration COURT proceedings, you cannot simply apply for this with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  In order to apply for Cancellation of Removal before the immigration judge, you must have entered the US more than 10 years ago, never have been placed in deportation/removal proceedings, have a qualifying relative of a US citizen or permanent resident spouse/parent/child and show extreme an unusual hardship to the qualifying relative.  A Cancellation of Removal proceeding requires a full trial before the immigration court.

Other possible forms of relief from deportation/removal proceedings may be political asylum, marriage to a US citizen, Withholding of Removal, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, U-Visa and battered spouse.