Is there such a thing as expedited removal of an immigrant and, if so, what is it?

Most people believe that removal orders or “deportation” orders only happen when you go to the immigration court and see an immigration judge. Unfortunately, this is not the case. There is a special type of removal order that is issued at the border by a U.S. Custom and Border (CBP) patrol officer. You never see a judge and you never see an attorney. This type of order is called an “expedited removal” order and here’s what you need to know in order to protect yourself.

How Is an Expedited Removal Order Issued?

A CBP officer can only use the expedited removal order process when a non-citizen presents themselves at the border and they believe:

  1. That the immigrant has committed some sort of fraud or misrepresentation. See INA § 212(a)(6)(C)(i)-(ii).  Some examples are if an immigrant lies about being a U.S. citizen or claims to be a visitor to this country when in fact they already live here or intend to live in the U.S.
  2. That the immigrant is not in possession of valid documents to enter the U.S. See INA § 212(a)(7)(A)(i)(I).  The most common example is when someone does not have a valid visa to enter the U.S.

CBP officers are limited in their ability to use the expedited removal process because there is no chance for the immigrant to speak to an attorney or see a judge. Therefore, it is a process that is meant to be used only in specific situations.  However, the CBP officer is required to advise you of the charges against you and give you an opportunity to respond to those charges in a sworn statement. See 8 C.F.R. § 235.3(b)(2)(i).

When an immigrant is at the border and is being processed for expedited removal, there are two situations in which the CBP officer must stop the expedite removal process and allow the immigrant a chance to appear before either a judge or an asylum officer. Those situations are:

  1. If the immigrant expresses a fear of returning to their home country. In this situation, the CBP officer must give the immigrant the chance to be interviewed by an asylum officer to see if they might have a way to stay in the U.S. through asylum. However, the immigrant will usually be placed in a detention center during this time.
  2. If the immigrant claims that they have lawful status in the U.S. For example, if the immigrant is already a U.S. citizen or won asylum in the U.S. In this case, the CBP can allow an immigrant to enter the U.S. in order to retrieve proof of their status and return it to them. This is called “deferred inspection.”

In some circumstances, an immigrant could also ask that CBP allow them to “withdraw their admission” instead of issuing an expedited removal order. Basically, this means that you no longer want to enter the U.S. and you would like permission to return to your country.  Such a request is completely up to the CBP officer and does not have to be granted.

What Are the Consequences?

The consequences of an Expedited Removal Order can range from a temporary bar to entering the U.S. all the way to a life-time ban.  The following are typical consequences:

  1. All expedited removal orders carry with them a 5 year ban on re-entering the U.S.
  2. An expedited removal orders will carry a life-time ban on re-entering the U.S. if it was issued because the immigrant was found to have committed fraud or misrepresentation.
  3. If you illegally re-enter after being issued an expedited removal order, then you could be barred from obtaining any lawful status in the U.S. for ten years. See INA § 212(a)(9)(C)(i). This is sometimes called the “Permanent Bar.”

What Can You Do After An Expedited Removal Order is Issued?

In some situations, you can apply for permission to re-enter within the 5 year ban by submitting an application for permission to re-enter (Form I-212).

If you were charged with fraud, some people are eligible to apply for a waiver of that fraud if they can show that a U.S. citizen or Lawful permanent resident spouse or parent would suffer extreme hardship if they are not permitted to obtain lawful status in the U.S. See INA § 212(a)(6)(C)(iii). There is also a waiver due to fraud for certain victims of domestic violence. See INA § 212(i). However, if your fraud was claiming to be a U.S. citizen, there is no waiver (unless very narrow exceptions apply such as the fact that you were a minor at the time).

There is no waiver for most people of the 10 year ban if you return to the U.S. illegally after being issued an expedited removal order. Some victims of domestic violence in very narrow situations can obtain a waiver of the 10 year ban.

Finally, there is no appeal available of expedited removal orders. However, it is possible for an immigration attorney to request that CBP review the order to determine if it was properly issued. If the CBP officer made a mistake in issuing the expedited removal order, it is sometimes possible for CBP to take away the expedited removal order form an immigrant’s record.

border patrol

What is a Notice to Appear (NTA) and what does it mean for immigrants who receive one?

If you or a family member have been served with a Notice to Appear, it is a very serious matter.  NTA’s are the document that is served on an alien to advise them that deportation proceedings have begun.

While some people are served the NTA and detained, there are thousands of people walking around the U.S. who have received and NTA and are “in proceedings.”  The NTA usually has the initial court date.

The NTA also lists the allegations that the government believes require that you be removed (or deported) from the U.S.  These allegations typically track your immigration history and set forth the reason (or reasons) why removal is warranted.

The allegations typically say something like:

  • You are not a US citizen
  • You are a citizen of your home country
  • You entered the US on a particular date
  • Whether your entry was authorized or not and, if so, for how long
  • The reasons why you should be deported (criminal activity, overstay, etc.)
  • The specific statutory provisions that you are believed to have violated.

At a later date, you will be asked to admit or deny each of the allegations in the NTA.  Obviously, this document is very important and should be kept in a safe place.  Make sure to check that the biographical information about you in the NTA is correct.  You would not want future mail to go to the wrong address.

The NTA may be served upon you by hand or mailed to you or your attorney, if you have an attorney on record with ICE.  ICE also serves the NTA upon the immigration court responsible for your deportation proceedings.

The law requires that you be allowed at least ten days between the service of the NTA and your initial court hearing.  You can waive this 10 day rule if you like and you may want to do so if you are being kept in ICE custody.

What is an immigration detainer?

An immigration detainer is the way that the Department of Homeland Security notifies state or local law enforcement that DHS believes someone in the custody of the law enforcement agency may be subject to deportation from the U.S.  The detainer is an actual form (Form I-247) used by ICE.  According to the regulations:

A detainer serves to advise another law enforcement agency that ICE seeks custody of an alien presently in the custody of that agency, for the purpose of arresting and removing the alien.  The detainer is a request that such agency advise ICE, prior to release of the alien, in order for ICE to arrange to assume custody, in situation when gaining immediate physical custody is either impractacable or impossible.

The process usually works like this.  An alien or suspected alien comes into contact with local police.  After the person is taken to jail, they are asked for their place of birth.  If they were born overseas, the police notify ICE that an alien has been taken into custody.  ICE then makes determination, either by checking records or by speaking with the alien, as to whether the person entered without inspection (EWI) or is removable for some other reason and then sends the detainer form to the police agency.

An ICE detainer is supposed to last no longer than 48 hours.  Many state and local law enforcement officials are happy to hold aliens beyond the 48 hour limit.  This is wrong and illegal and the law enforcement agency should not be allowed to do it.  In certain circumstances, it might make sense to file a habeas corpus petition or false imprisonment lawsuit against the law enforcement agency when the hold last well beyond the 48 hour limit.

If you have questions about deportation or have a loved one who is subject to an immigration detainer, please call the immigration and deportation attorneys at Hacking Immigration Law, LLC to help.  You can reach us at (314) 961-8200 or visit our contact page here.

Can a naturalized citizen be deported?

If an alien goes through the process of obtaining lawful permanent resident status and then becomes a US citizen through the naturalization process, the new citizen is protected from deportation.  The only way such a new citizen could be deported is if the government first denaturalized the citizen.

Denaturalization is very rare and the government has to meet a very high burden in order to obtain denaturalization.  Almost always, an attempt by the government to denaturalize someone is based upon the government’s claim that a new fact has been discovered which, if known at the time of naturalization, would have prevented the alien from ever being naturalized.  This usually involves that the person naturalized used a false identity or perpetrated some other kind of fraud on the immigration service.

An attempt to denaturalize someone usually involves litigation brought by the US government in federal court.  The Department of Homeland Security takes the position that they can denaturalize someone in an administrative proceeding, but at least one court has held that the regulations which purport to allow DHS to denaturalize someone lack statutory authorization and are therefore void.

If you have questions about denaturalization or if someone is claiming that you or a loved one committed fraud in the immigration context, you should consult with an experienced immigration attorney.  Please call us at (314) 961-8200 or visit our contact page.

What is the phone number for the St. Louis Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) office?

If your family member was recently detained by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers in Eastern Missouri or Southern Illinois, they are probably in the custody of the St. Louis ICE office.  The officers handling the actual arrest and removal of your family member are called Enforcement and Removal Officers.

Your family member will most likely be detained at a county jail.  Unlike other parts of the country, St. Louis does not have an immigration detention center.  Instead, immigration detainees are housed at local county jails, including Mississippi County Jail in Charleston, Missouri; Scott County Jail in Benton; Montgomery County Jail in Montgomery City; and, Lincoln County Jail in Troy.  Although this is where your loved one will be housed during their detention, they will actually be processed by the ICE officers at the St. Louis field office at 1222 Spruce Street, Room 1.100, St. Louis, MO 63103.  The phone number at St. Louis ICE is (314) 244-9787 (this number does not work for detainees held by other ICE offices).

Before you call that number, however, you should consider contacting an experienced immigration attorney to assist you in your loved one’s case.  Immigration laws are complex.  In addition, the job of an ICE officer is not to look after your family member’s best interests, but rather to deport him or her to their home country.  You owe it to yourself to at least talk to an immigration attorney before interacting with ICE.  Your family member may mistakenly give away certain legal rights, so it is important to get the assistance of an immigration attorney as early in the process as possible.

If you need to contact the immigration attorneys at Hacking Immigration Law, LLC, please click here or call 314-961-8200.