The process formerly known as deportation, involving the formal removal of an alien from the United States, is now known as removal. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the federal agency that removes aliens from the United States who are subject to a final order of removal issued by an immigration court or following an administrative removability review.
The removal process can involve several hearings, and immigrants are allowed to have legal representation for these hearings. Removal proceedings can be extremely stressful and enormously complex.
If you believe you are being targeted for removal or your loved one is being detained by ICE, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. The Gonzalez Law Group represents clients in communities throughout Harris County, Friendswood, Pearland, Seabrook, League City, Deer Park, Pasadena, La Porte, Galena Park, Baytown and many others.
Our immigration attorneys in Houston can determine effective strategies to help you or your loved one try to avoid removal. You can have our lawyers review your case and answer all of your legal questions when you call (832) 530-4070 to receive a free initial consultation.
Harris County Deportation/Removal Information Center
- Deportation/Removal Process in Texas
- Types of Relief from Deportation/Removal in Texas
- Harris County Deportation/Removal Resources
Deportation/Removal Process in Texas
Many removal proceedings begin with the arrest of an immigrant by a local law enforcement agency or United States Border Patrol. Arrested aliens are usually turned over to ICE, which decides whether to take custody or initiate removal proceedings.
When an immigrant is arrested within 100 miles of the border and was inside the United States for two weeks or less, individuals may be removed through expedited removal proceedings. People who have allegedly overstayed their visas are commonly targeted for deportation through expedited removal orders.
When there is no expedited removal process, ICE will give the immigrant a Notice to Appear. ICE can detain arrested immigrants if it decides to pursue removal. Arrested immigrants will appear before Department of Justice immigration judges for bond hearings.
The master calendar hearing is a hearing at which a judge decides when the next hearing will be held and what defense against removal will be considered. While an attorney is not required for a master calendar hearing, an appearance by the immigrant is critical, as failure to appear can result in the issuance of an automatic order of removal.
An immigrant’s reasons for staying in the country will be presented at the merits hearing before an immigration judge. Following this hearing, the judge will render a decision as to whether to grant relief to the immigrant, and either party reserves the right to appeal the judge’s decision.
Types of Relief from Deportation/Removal in Texas
Every removal case is different, and some people may have unique defenses to removal that others do not. There are several avenues for stopping a removal. The following list contains some of the more common grounds for defending deportation:
Asylum, Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) § 101(a)(42) and INA § 208
A person must prove inability or unwillingness to return to her native country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution, on account of race, religion, national origin, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. The individual must also prove that he or she merits positive exercise of discretion.
Withholding of Removal, INA § 241(b)(3)
A person may not be returned to a country where it is determined that there is a clear probability that his or her life or freedom would be threatened, on account of race, religion, national origin, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.
Convention Against Torture (CAT), 8 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) § 208.16 to .18
A person may not be returned to a country where there is a clear probability that he or she would be subject to torture, at the instigation of, or with the acquiescence of, a public official or one acting in an official capacity.
Cancellation of Removal for Permanent Residents, INA § 240A(a)
A person must prove lawful admission for permanent residence for not less than five years; seven years of continuous residence in the U.S. after admission in any status; no conviction for aggravated felonies under section 101(a)(43) of the Act; and positive exercise of discretion is merited.
Cancellation of Removal for Non-Permanent Residents, INA § 240A(b)
A person must prove continuous physical presence of at least 10 years preceding the date of application; good moral character during that period; no conviction for offenses related to good moral character; drugs; firearms resulting inadmissibility under sections 212(a)(2) or 237(a)(2) of the Act; or terrorism under section 237(a)(3); exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to United States Citizen (USC) or Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) spouse, parent or child as result of removal; and positive exercise of discretion is merited.
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), INA § 204(A)(1)(A)(iii)-(iv), 204(a)(1)(B)(ii)-(iii)
The immigration law provisions allow a spouse and children, or parents of children, who have been abused or subject to extreme cruelty by their legal permanent resident (LPR) or United States citizen (USC) spouse or parent, to obtain lawful status without having to rely on a petition filed by the perpetrator of the abuse. The battered spouse must show the noncitizen marriage was in good faith; during the marriage, the noncitizen spouse or her/his child was battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by the LPR or USC; past or present residence with the LPR or USC; current residence in the U.S. or living abroad, abusive spouse is a U.S. government employee or member of uniformed services, or subjected the noncitizen to battery or extreme cruelty in the U.S.; and the abusing spouse is an LPR or USC at time of petition by the battered spouse and at a time of its approval, or was an LPR or USC and lost such status as a result of domestic violence.
Immigrants Who Are Victims of Crimes “U Visa,” INA § 101(a)(15)(U)(i)(I)
The U visa is for a person who has been a victim of a serious violent crime and provides the law enforcement agencies with the ability to investigate and prosecute certain types of criminal cases, including domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking of aliens and other crimes, while at the same time offering protection to victims of such crimes. Victims must have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse due to criminal activity in at least one of the following categories: rape, torture, trafficking, incest, domestic violence, sexual assault, abusive sexual contact, prostitution, sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation, hostage situations, peonage, false imprisonment, involuntary servitude, slave trade, kidnapping, abduction, unlawful criminal restraint, blackmail, extortion, manslaughter, murder, felonious assault, witness tampering, obstruction of justice, perjury or attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit any of the above-mentioned crimes. Victims must also be willing to work with local law enforcement and the crime must have occurred in the United States or in a U.S. territory or violated U.S. law.
Adjustment of Status, INA § 245
A person must show admission or parole into the U.S.; eligibility to receive an immigrant visa; non-inadmissibility under section 212(a) of the Act; maintenance of lawful status (unless an immediate relative of a U.S.C.); an immigrant visa is immediately available; and positive exercise of discretion is merited.
Registry, INA § 249
A person must show entry into the U.S. prior to 1/1/1972; continuous residence since that time; good moral character (no specific period stated); not ineligible for citizenship; and not a criminal, immoral person, subversive, smuggler, violator of drug laws or terrorist.
Waiver, INA § 212(h)
A person must show he or she is the spouse, parent, son or daughter of USC or LPR; denial of the waiver would result in extreme hardship to her USC or LPR spouse, parent, son or daughter; consent has been given by the attorney general to seek a visa, admission or adjustment of status; and positive exercise of discretion is merited.
Waiver, INA § 212(i)
A person must prove he or she is the spouse, parent, son or daughter of USC or LPR and denial or the waiver would result in extreme hardship to her USC or LPR spouse or parent.
Waiver, INA § 212(d)(11)
Available only to LPRs seeking a waiver for smuggling, as described in INA § 212(a)(6)(D)(i), who have smuggled, induced or assisted in smuggling their spouse, parent, son or daughter (and no one else); and merit discretion for humanitarian purposes; to assure family unity; or other reasons in the public interest.
Harris County Deportation/Removal Resources
Removal | ICE — Visit this section of the ICE website to learn more about removal actions. You can access immigration enforcement case review proves frequently asked questions. You can also find a fact sheet on ICE air operations.
Immigration Benefits in EOIR Removal Proceedings | USCIS — Eligible individuals in removal proceedings can apply for various immigration benefits. View information for individuals requesting or granted relief from removal or protection while in removal proceedings in Immigration Court or before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). You can also view a Fact Sheet on Immigration Benefits in EOIR Proceedings.
Deportation/Removal Attorneys in Houston, TX
Do you think that you may be targeted for deportation or is your loved one being detained by ICE in Harris County? You will want to contact The Gonzalez Law Group as quickly as you can.
Our Houston immigration lawyers help individuals in the greater Harris County area including Pearland, Baytown, Seabrook, La Porte, Pasadena, Galena Park, Friendswood and many others. Call (832) 530-4070 or complete an online contact form to have our attorneys provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation.