Removal and deportation refer to the process by which the United States government seeks to remove a foreign national from the United States. Prior to a change in the law in 1996, this process was known as deportation. While still commonly known as deportation, the process if now formally called removal.
When the government wishes to place someone in removal proceedings they must first issue a proper Notice to Appear (NTA). This document notifies the foreign national that they are being placed in removal proceedings and the part of the law that they have violated. There are a variety of reasons why someone may be placed in removal proceedings. Common examples are: being apprehended crossing the border without valid entry documents, overstaying the time permitted on an I-94, violating the terms of a visa such as working without authorization, or committing certain crimes. Depending on the reason the person is being removed or their prior immigration or criminal history, they may or may not be held in detention for the duration of their removal case. Some foreign nationals may be able to secure a bond to be released from detention. An experienced immigration attorney should be consulted about the possibility of bond.
To start the removal proceedings, the NTA is sent to the appropriate immigration court where a date for a Master Calendar hearing is set. During a Master Calendar the foreign national can state the kind of relief he/she wants to seek and a schedule for the case will be determined. Depending on each individual's circumstances, there are many different forms of relief that can be requested before an Immigration Judge. To determine the best possible form of relief, the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney should be sought out. The merits of a case are not determined until an Individual Hearing. That is when a judge will decide if the foreign national may remain in the United States or not. If the case results in an order of removal the foreign national may choose to appeal the decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals.