Question: I am now in removal proceedings. I also have many friends who are in the same type of removal proceedings. However, all of us have different situations. Under what basis can we be put into removal proceedings?
Answer: The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), an agency of the Department of Justice, oversees three components which adjudicate matters involving immigration law matters at both the trial and appellate level. Under the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge, more than 200 Immigration Judges located in 53 Immigration Courts nationwide conduct proceedings and decide individual cases. The agency includes the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), which hears appeals of Immigration Judge decisions, and the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer, which handles employment-related immigration matters.
Immigration Judges conduct removal proceedings, which account for approximately 80 percent of their caseload. Removal hearings are conducted to determine whether certain aliens are subject to removal from the country. Beginning April 1, 1997, the distinction between exclusion and deportation proceedings was eliminated, and aliens subject to removal from the United States were all placed in removal proceedings. Thus, the removal proceeding is now generally the sole procedure for determining whether an alien is inadmissible, deportable, or eligible for relief from removal. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is responsible for commencing a removal proceeding.
Removal proceedings generally require an Immigration Judge to make two findings: (1) a determination of the alien’s removability from the United States, and (2) thereafter deciding whether the alien is eligible for a form of relief from removal.
Usually at the beginning, an Immigration Judge conducts a bond redetermination hearing for aliens who are in DHS detention. The person in proceedings makes a request to the Immigration Judge to lower or eliminate the amount of the bond set by the DHS. These hearings are generally informal and are not a part of the removal proceedings. This decision can be appealed by either the alien or by DHS to the BIA.
Question: One of my friends actually already has their Green Card. Why would he be in removal proceedings?
Answer: An Immigration Judge can conducts a rescission hearing to determine whether a lawful permanent resident (LPR) should have his or her residency status rescinded because he or she was not entitled to it when it was granted. Additionally, it is possible for someone who is an LPR to commit a crime making them ineligible to keep their Green Card.
Question: What about someone who fears going back to their home country?
Answer: An asylum-only hearing will be used to determine whether certain aliens who are not entitled to a removal hearing but claim a well-founded fear of persecution in their home country are eligible for asylum. In normal circumstances, asylum claims are heard by Immigration Judges during the course of a removal hearing.
Thus, there are many different types of hearings that can be conducted. There is many times relief from removal proceedings, so you need to fight hard during the proceedings and do not let anyone walk over your rights.