Greetings everyone! In this week's article I will be covering deportations, or what is now referred to as "removal" proceedings. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) defines deportation as "the formal removal of an alien from the United States when the alien has been found removable for violating the immigration laws" ( In other words, deportation is the process by which an alien - a foreign national of another country - is ordered removed from the United States because he/she has committed some type of "deportable offense".

Deportable Offenses - Things You've Done That Can Get You Deported

To better understand immigration's removal process, we must first understand why someone would be deported: What did they do to warrant their removal from the United States? To answer this, we must look at what the alien did, and then determine if these actions constitute an immigration violation that are deemed deportable. Please understand that, under this current administration, even an overstay of your visa can get you into removal proceedings.

For the most part, deportable offenses* are categorized into the following 3 classes:

(1) Crimes of "moral turpitude" - Although determining whether an act is a crime of "moral turpitude" is often a subjective determination and therefore difficult to define, we can look to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) for some guidance. In past decisions, the BIA has describe moral turpitude as a “nebulous concept,” and one that “refers generally to conduct that shocks the public conscience as being inherently base, vile, or depraved, contrary to the rules of morality and the duties owed between man and man, either one's fellow man or society in general.” The person committing it should have had either an “evil intent” or been acting recklessly. Some examples of past offenses found to be crimes of "moral turpitude" include fraud, larceny, aggravated driving under the influence ("DUI"), etc. and possibly domestic violence.

(2) Aggravated Felonies - This includes crimes such as murder, rape, trafficking of drug or firearms, sexual abuse of a minor, child pornography; money laundering, fraud or tax evasion involving more than $10,000, etc. (Immigration and Nationality Act § 101(a)(43)).

(3) Covered Classes of Deporatable Alients under INA § 237 - Some examples here include aliens that were either inadmissible at the time of their entry into the US, or those that violated their immigration status by overstaying their visas. Also drug crimes, illegal possession of firearms or the illegal sale of firearms, child abuse/neglect, etc. are specifically listed under section 237 of the INA.

* NOTE: Not all offenses are deportable simply because you committed them. It depends on the severity of the offense, the possible penalty that can result and other factors. Please consult a reputable immigration lawyer should you need to discuss your specific case.

The Removal Process / Deportation

Removal from the United States through deportation is a multi-step process that occurs over a mostly, lengthy period of time. From the initial "Notice to Appear" (NTA) by the Immigration Court, to a number of master/individual hearings, to the judge's final order, this process does not happen over night; in fact, it can actually take several months, or even years. I've had a case that took 9 months, and another that is currently pending and going on 3 years! So, yes, the time it takes to handle a deportation/removal can vary from one case to another. No two cases are the same: different set of facts, different immigration judge, different government prosecuting attorneys.

In part 2 of this subject, I will go over service of the NTA, as well as the different hearings that the court may schedule you for. Please stay tuned.

JC's Conclusion: I hope none of you out there has to ever endure a deportation. Receiving an NTA is stressful and the process of defending one is not fun. It can be scary, tiresome and outright, one of the worse things that can happen in anyone's life. I hope you never receive an NTA, but if you do, I am here to help you.

As always, if you have any questions still left unanswered or you have general questions regarding other legal issues, or even if you have comments, please email me at: JC4LAW@HOTMAIL.COM or contact my office at (818) 846-5639, or my Thai direct line at (818) 505-4921. Also be sure to check us out on the web at: WWW.JC4LAW.COM, and on FACEBOOK at: Be sure to follow (and "like") me for the most recent updates in the law! For those in Thailand or outside of the United States, I am now reachable using the LINE app. My LINE ID is: JC_Esq

Disclaimer: The information contained herein have been prepared for informational purposes only and are not to be considered legal advice unless otherwise specified. If you have a specific question regarding your personal case, please contact the Law Offices of Joseph Chitmongran for a full consultation.