Immigration Court Process (“Removal Proceedings”) & Detention of Immigrants

Immigration Court Process (“Removal Proceedings”) & Detention of Immigrants

The United States Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) has the power to arrest anyone who is present in the United States without documentation.  Usually (but not always) DHS will only arrest and detain immigrants who have a criminal record or who have been ordered deported or arrested by DHS before.  However, when this happens, DHS’s legal obligation is to try to deport the person, and they try to do so relatively quickly.  To begin the deportation process, DHS places the immigrant in Immigration Court, before an Immigration Judge, and the immigrant then has the opportunity to fight his or her case, and to try to earn permission to stay in the United States legally.  I always describe the Immigration Court process to my clients this way: it is like getting on board a train, and that train does not stop until either (a) the immigrant is back in his or her home country; or (b) the immigrant gets off the train in this country with legal documentation.

Lessons from the Past

It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

Bobby Kennedy

Address Day of Affirmation, University of Cape Town, June 6, 1966

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