Reasons for Initiating Removal Proceedings: For Conditional Residents

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Why Would the Immigration Authorities Initiate Removal Proceedings Against Conditional Permanent Residents? 

Immigrant spouses of U.S. citizens whose marriages are less than two years and immigrants who enter the U.S. on an immigrant investor visa are granted conditional permanent residence upon their arrival in the U.S. Their conditional permanent resident status is valid for two years. After which, they must file Form I-751 (Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence).

This form must be filed ninety days before the expiration date stated in the conditional green card. If approved, the petitioner’s immigration status is upgraded – they become lawful permanent residents and will receive a permanent resident card. After three years, they may also be eligible to naturalize as U.S. citizens.

But this transition is not always seamless and may not happen for some people. Instead of having their immigration status upgraded, some conditional permanent residents may find themselves facing removal proceedings and possible deportation. This happens when the immigration authorities believe that the conditional resident has broken immigration laws or failed to comply with any other condition required of them.

Understandably it could be devastating if you’ve been notified that removal proceedings have been initiated against you as a conditional resident. But there’s still hope. You can avoid deportation if you successfully defend yourself during your removal hearing. The information provided below can help you understand what you’re up against and help you prepare for your defense. 

Some Specific Reasons for Initiating Removal Proceedings Against Conditional Residents

Removal proceedings are typically initiated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in their capacity as an agency under the Department of Homeland Security.

Some of the specific reasons why they may take this step against you as a conditional resident include the following:

  • You failed to file Form I-751 within the stipulated time. This failure leads to the automatic termination of your conditional resident status in the United States. Once that happens, the USCIS can begin the process of having you removed from the country.

  • You obtained conditional residency based on your marriage to a U.S. citizen. If it is discovered that the marriage is a fraud and was contracted solely for immigration purposes, removal proceedings may be initiated against you.

  • Conditional residents who filed Form I-751 may be required to attend a physical interview before the petition is granted. Failure to appear for the interview without prior notice to the USCIS automatically terminates your conditional resident status once the two-year period expires. 

  • If your I-751 petition is denied, your conditional permanent resident status is terminated immediately, and removal proceedings will be initiated against you.

How You Know Removal Proceedings Have Been Initiated Against You

The immigration authorities will send you a Notice to Appear (NTA) to inform you that they have commenced removal proceedings against you. The NTA is a written notice that informs you about your impending removal and requires you to appear before a specific immigration court.

Your NTA may contain the following information:

  • The nature of the removal proceedings

  • The legal authority under which they are conducted

  • The things you’ve done that are alleged to have violated the law

  • The specific charges against you and the statutory provisions alleged to have been violated

  • Your right to legal representation at your expense

  • The consequences of failing to appear at immigration hearings.

The details in your NTA can help you prepare for your hearing before the immigration judge. If you’ve received one, you must act fast and begin to collect documents or evidence that could help with your defense.

At this point, you may need to contact an experienced deportation defense lawyer to assess your case and help you formulate an appropriate defense strategy.

What Happens at the End of the Removal Proceedings? 

During the hearing, an attorney from the Department of Homeland Security or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will present evidence on behalf of the government, giving the court reasons to order your removal.

You will have the opportunity to defend yourself against the charges against you. You can also apply for any legal relief from removal if appropriate in your circumstances. You may need an experienced immigration lawyer to represent you during the hearing and help you convincingly present your case.

If you succeed, the judge will terminate the proceedings, and you may be free to continue the process of becoming a permanent resident. If the judge determines that removal is appropriate, they will issue a removal order against you. From that moment, the immigration authorities can implement your removal and send you back to your country of origin.

Consequences of Removal

Leaving the U.S. or being deported following a removal order doesn’t just cut short your dreams of becoming a lawful permanent resident and citizen. It could also affect your chances of returning to the U.S. in the future. Hence it would be best if you tried to avoid deportation by any lawful means. 

What To Do After a Removal Order

If you’ve received a removal order, all hope is not lost. You have several options to get the decision reviewed and hopefully reversed, as follows:

  •  You can file a motion to reopen or reconsider at the immigration court where your removal was ordered

  • You can file an appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals.

These processes could be complex to navigate without immigration law knowledge. Getting an immigration lawyer to represent you at this point is crucial to avoid making costly mistakes.

Get Help From Deportation Defense Lawyers at Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law. 

As a conditional permanent resident, you are not insulated from removal proceedings or deportation. But there are legal options you could explore to make sure you’re not deported, even if the process has already started. The experienced immigration lawyers at Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law, can help you explore these options and formulate a working strategy that could save you from removal.

If you already received a removal or deportation order, we can also appeal your deportation order or file a motion to reopen or reconsider, depending on which is appropriate for your circumstances. 

Our primary goal is to help immigrants settle in the U.S. lawfully and with minimal hiccups. Hence we also offer sound legal advice and guidance on consular processing, visa applications, and other immigration processes.

We are here to provide working solutions for your immigration needs. Contact us immediately so we can assess your case and help you decide on the next steps.