Atlanta Deportation Lawyer
Author: Jameel Manji, Founder, Manji Law, P.C.
Mr. Manji founded Manji Law in 2016 to follow his passion of helping people navigate the complicated immigration system. Mr. Manji graduated from Georgia State University College of Law and received Master of Taxation from the Georgia State’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business. Published on: May 31, 2018, Last Updated on: September 18, 2021.
Manji Law is your complete immigration solution. If you are seeking assistance with the Atlanta Immigration Court, please give us a call. Manji Law can provide valuable insight, assistance, and a guiding hand to help you achieve your goals.
Top-rated Atlanta Deportation Law Firm
If you are looking for a deportation lawyer, you likely know that deportation and immigration are hot topics in the United States right now.
Because the law does not discriminate, there are instances where people who have lived here for years become deportable because they’ve committed one or more crimes.
These crimes could be as serious as murder, rape, or drug trafficking. Still, even minor offenses can lead to deportation if an undocumented immigrant commits them after entering the US illegally.
A skilled Atlanta Deportation Lawyer can help you fight your immigration cases and avoid deportation by presenting mitigating evidence on your behalf at hearings before Immigration Judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).
If necessary, he can also represent you in Atlanta Immigration court when appealing unfavorable decisions from those administrative bodies.
Ever-changing immigration laws
The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRAIRA) of 1996, which was put into action in April 1997, dramatically changed U.S. laws on immigration. Notably, it combined exclusion and deportation into what we now call removal procedures.
IIRAIRA also enabled local law enforcement to collaborate with national officers in matters of immigration and made many other changes to immigration legislation.
Since the 1990s, the immigration act has continued to evolve, and deportation has become an even more fraught topic.
On January 25, 2017, President Donald J. Trump issued an Executive Order expanding the focus of the ICE to remove immigrants who:
- Were convicted of any crime
- Were charged with a crime that hasn’t been resolved
- Committed an act that is considered a crime
- Engaged in willful misrepresentation or fraud regarding an official matter before any U.S. governmental agency
- Abused any program related to receiving public benefits
- Received a deportation final order to leave the country but has not complied
- Posed a risk to national security or public safety to the country. This public risk includes if an immigration officer’s judgment the immigrant should leave the country.
According to ICE, it conducted 143,470 administrative arrests in 2017. That was the highest number since 2014.
Approximately 92% of those administrative arrests were for pending criminal charges, criminal convictions, and people who had final deportation orders.
That same year ICE conducted 226,119 deportations, which was actually a decrease from 2016. However, the number of interior removals increased 37% during 2017 (this increase doesn’t include the number of people caught crossing the border).
In recent years, there has been a renewed focus on deporting immigrants and criminalizing some related actions. Families with children were often given relaxed treatment compared to those with a criminal record.
But, in 2018, President Trump moved towards a zero-tolerance policy, which led to parents and their children often being separated – a practice that was previously discouraged.
Even though there have certainly been more enforcement actions during the Trump presidency, immigration policy has constantly changed as each political party assumes legislative power.
With both parties possessing strong views on immigration policy, it’s difficult to believe there will be a period without dramatic change anytime soon.
The Need for Immigration Lawyers Increases with the Uncertainty of Immigration Laws
The constant changes in U.S. immigration policy mean that more and more people need the help of trustworthy and effective GA immigration attorneys. Immigration policies often change with the political winds, and recently more frequently.
Unfortunately, this creates a frustrating situation for the millions of immigrants living and working in the United States.
Additionally, people working for a living often don’t have the time to keep track of executive orders, rules changes, new ICE enforcement trends, and the complex legal language, which can be tough to understand.
A local deportation attorney will be up-to-date on changing immigration legislation as they make their way through U.S. courts. A Georgia deportation attorney will know what’s relevant, listen to and understand your situation, and tell you what you need to know to remain in America.
Today’s immigration climate is certainly challenging, but thankfully Atlanta immigration attorneys are on the front lines daily, fighting for legal rights to the fullest extent of the law here in Georgia and across the nation.
Though these changing laws can make it seem like a frightening time to be an immigrant in the United States, experienced, trustworthy immigration attorneys are here to support you.
Atlanta Deportation Attorney Explains How to Fight Deportation
Every deportation case is different, and your deportation attorney can help you navigate your unique circumstances. For instance, the paperwork needed and waivers that apply will vary between cases.
You may or may not be arrested, detained, attend a bond hearing, or appeal the court’s immigration decision. Deportation (removal proceedings) can take weeks or years, depending on the circumstances.
Despite the differences between individual cases, these are some general steps in the removal proceedings process to be aware of:
- Notice to appear
- Bond Hearing
- Master Calendar Hearing
- Merits Hearing
- Order of Removal
General Tactics to Use to Fight Deportation
When you are fighting deportation from the U.S., there are some things you can do to help resolve the matter in your favor.
For instance, contact an Atlanta deportation attorney immediately to let them know what’s going on and get advice on what steps to take.
Ask family and friends to connect with individuals who will advocate for you. Your family and friends can also gather needed documentation that can be used at your hearing.
If you have received a Notice to Appear, read it carefully, then call a deportation counsel familiar with these notices. Look for any inaccurate or untrue information. Talk to your lawyer who understands Georgia immigration laws and how it relates to your immigration issues.
The specific tactic used will depend on your criminal record, how you entered the country, and your family immigration status.
Depending on the criminal offense, your Georgia deportation legal advisor may suggest some deportation defenses in Atlanta, Georgia or:
- Request cancellation of removal
- File a waiver of inadmissibility
- File for asylum
- File for withholding of removal
Regardless of the situation, an Atlanta GA deportation attorney can advise the best way to proceed with your case.
Deportation Defense in GA
The first step in finding out you need defense services is usually receiving a Notice to Appear (NTA).
Don’t fear if you receive a Notice to Appear alleging you may be removed from the U.S. You have the right to challenge the reason for deportation, and your Atlanta deportation attorney will help you prepare the best possible deportation defense.
Typically, when the Department of Homeland Security wants to deport an immigrant, it is for one of two reasons: an aggravated felony or a crime of moral turpitude.
In either situation, a lawyer will usually challenge the allegation by arguing the crime the individual is charged with committing isn’t a removable offense. You will likely have to appear in immigration court to plead your case.
Your Georgia deportation attorney may suggest challenging the allegations in the NTA with one of these approaches:
Waiver of Inadmissibility
This is a waiver request that allows a person to remain in the U.S. even though they cannot seek admission to the U.S. To stay in the country, an individual may complete this request by itself or along with a cancellation of removal.
Cancellation of Removal
A permanent resident who receives an NTA or a non-permanent resident can fight the charge by applying for cancellation of removal. This application waives certain immigration violations based on a person’s status in the country (such as if they have no criminal convictions).
Asylum and Withholding of Removal
A person who fears returning to their home country can request withholding of removal and/or asylum. Both applications require convincing an immigration judge (usually by an Atlanta deportation attorney) that they fear persecution by their home country for one of five protected reasons, e.g., religion.
Adjustment of Status
An individual married to a permanent resident, or U.S. citizen may be eligible for a green card to avoid deportation. However, it depends on how the person entered the country. If their family filed a petition for the individual before they entered, this strategy is more likely to work. The person may have to return to their home country to process the green card.
The Immigration and Nationality Act and Deportation Defense
The Immigration and Nationality Act, or INA, created in 1952, was meant to organize various immigration laws into one cohesive document.
Of course, there have been additional immigration statutes passed since the INA. However, it is still an important document in immigration legislation, and some sections can be used to aid in deportation defense.
Specifically, in your deportation defense, your Atlanta deportation attorney may reference:
- INA Section 101
- INA Section 212
- INA Section 237
INA Section 101
Section 101 of the Immigration and Nationality Act includes key definitions that are used throughout the acts’ many sections. Terms like conviction, the crime of moral turpitude, and an aggravated felony are defined here.
During your removal proceedings, your attorney may try to argue the definitions of these terms, saying that your actions do or do not meet the INA’s definition.
If your lawyer convinces the court that your actions do not qualify as a crime of moral turpitude, for example, they may stop the proceedings and allow you to remain in the United States.
INA Section 212
The INA section 212 defines and explains grounds of inadmissibility.
Essentially, if you are guilty of any of the things they list in this section, you are not authorized to enter the United States. Or, if you are already in the U.S. and grounds of inadmissibility apply, you are not eligible to be admitted to a new status.
This means, for example, if you have a green card and grounds of inadmissibility apply, you cannot “adjust status” and become a citizen.
It is important to know that even if grounds of inadmissibility apply to you, it does not necessarily mean you are eligible for removal/deportation. Additionally, there are waivers to inadmissibility described elsewhere in the INA.
Your Atlanta deportation lawyer may be able to argue that one of these waiver situations applies to you.
INA Section 237
Section 237 of the INA explains and enumerates grounds of removability.
If you are convicted of anything described in this section, you are eligible for removable from the U.S. If grounds of removability apply to you, the government can detain and remove you at any time.
You do not have to be attempting to adjust your status to be picked up and removed. They can remove you as long as they can find you. This is where an experienced attorney can help in your battle.
Like with grounds for inadmissibility, a good strategy for fighting grounds of removability is to prove that a waiver described somewhere else in the Immigration and Nationality Act applies to your situation and waives the grounds for removability.
The Deportation Process
People accused of being in the U.S. illegally may endure a long deportation process. The exact time a case takes ranges from a few months to years. Although each case varies, and not everyone will go through the same process, these are the specific steps you should be aware of.
An individual suspected of entering the U.S. illegally may be arrested by federal or local law enforcement. They are then transferred to the custody of ICE. An Atlanta deportation attorney can help family and friends understand the process and what happens next.
If the arrested individual overstayed their visa or entered the country illegally and is within 100 miles of the border, they can be made to leave immediately. This is called expedited removal, and it happens shortly after the arrest. The ordered individual can’t be appealed. However, the individual can ask for the government to review and stop the order.
Notice to Appear (NTA)
An individual who doesn’t go through the expedited removal will go through the traditional court process. They will receive an NTA, which explains the reason for removal. The person is given 10 days to appear in immigration court.
The arrested individual may be detained in a contracted prison or detention center until their deportation is processed. ICE will assess the individual’s safety and security risk and decide if they are a flight risk who needs to be detained. An Atlanta GA deportation attorney will advocate on your behalf here, in contrast to the story being presented by ICE.
Some people may decide to leave the country voluntarily after receiving a Notice to Appear. If the person does leave, they must follow strict guidelines.
Voluntary departure requires that the person request an early deportation process and that they meet eligibility criteria. Individuals who depart voluntarily may be permitted to return later legally.
The arrested individual appears before the Department of Justice (DOJ) for a bond hearing. This is where a judge sets a dollar amount the person needs to get out of the contracted jail or detention center. If they cannot pay that price, they will continue to be detained.
Master Calendar Hearing
The master calendar hearing is a short hearing to determine how the case will proceed. The arrested individual admits or denies each charge they are accused of. They can request the hearing be continued later; however, they must provide a defense (such as asylum) in one of the hearings. The person can remain in the U.S. during this process.
During this hearing, the arrested individual presents their argument to remain in the country. This hearing may take days to complete. At the end of the hearing, the judge decides whether the arrested person can stay or leave. If they must leave, their lawyer can appeal the decision within 30 days. ICE can also appeal the decision if the judge decides the person can stay in the United States.
Order of Removal
This is when the person is ordered to leave the country. It often occurs at the end of the Merits Hearing.
After being given an Order of Removal, the individual can request a delay of deportation by appealing the order. An Atlanta deportation attorney can help develop this and file the necessary paperwork for the appeal.
This is the final step of the process, where an individual is actually removed from the United States. Most people are typically flown directly back to their home country. However, an arrested individual from Mexico is often flown to a U.S. border city and must walk or take a bus from the border city to Mexico.
Notice to Appear
Deportation (removal proceedings) may start with an arrest as the person crosses the border into the United States, whether at the Mexico-U.S. border or after flying into an international airport.
However, if the person is already in the U.S., deportation starts with a Notice to Appear (NTA). The NTA provides information such as:
- The immigration law or immigration status they allege you have violated
- Why you are being ordered to appear
- That you have the right to a lawyer
- The time and date of the hearing
- The consequences of failing to appear
A few important notes on the NTA:
- Although you have a right to an Atlanta GA immigration attorney for immigration matters, you will have to find, hire, and pay for the attorney yourself, unlike in criminal defense cases.
- The consequences of failing to appear at your hearing typically include deportation, so you must show up for your day in court.
Master Calendar Hearing
A master calendar hearing (MCH) is a preliminary immigration hearing regarding removing the person in question from the U.S.
In addition to you, a judge and an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) lawyer will be present at the hearing. Your Georgia deportation attorney can be present, too, although you are allowed to appear without legal counsel.
No defenses or legal claims are addressed during this hearing. It is more a matter of process: the judge will set dates for you to submit documents and appear for a merits hearing. However, the MCH is very important and must be attended.
If you miss it, you are automatically eligible for deportation. Make sure to be on time for the hearing because if you are late, the judge may think you skipped the hearing and decide you are eligible for removal.
The merits hearing is where an immigration lawyer presents their client’s defense against deportation. At this hearing, the individual can testify on their own behalf and cross-examined by the ICE lawyer. Both sides can present evidence to support their cases.
The judge will make their deportation ruling after each side rests their case. This is done immediately. If there is an Order of Deportation, you have the right to directly appeal to BIA. It can take 90 days to receive a decision. This decision can also be appealed.
If you face deportation, an experienced immigration attorney can help you through the many stages of hearings and appeals and fight for the best possible outcome.
How to Avoid Deportation / Ways to Avoid Deportation (before it happens)
Many immigrants and long-term or permanent residents living in Atlanta, Georgia, can take preemptive measures to stay in the country.
For instance, it is of critical importance to keep your immigration status, visas, and work permits current. Always inform the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) when you move or change addresses.
If they do not have your current home address on record, you might miss important documents in the mail, such as an NTA, and become eligible for removal by accident.
Finally, it can be very helpful to stay aware of changing immigration policies so that you can always know your status and your rights.
Whether you have legal status in the country or not, you should know how to handle it if ICE shows up at your door.
First, know that you are allowed to ask them for proof they are ICE officials, and you have a right to know the reason for their visit.
Secondly, know that officers can only enter your residence if they have a signed warrant or if you allow them to. If they do not have a warrant, you can refuse to let them in.
Thirdly, remember you have the right to remain silent. Never sign anything that you do not understand, and be aware that it’s a bad idea to show officials any false documentation.
If ICE officials are pursuing you or you are facing other difficult immigration situations, some resources can help. Look into public and community resources such as:
- Immigration Equality
- Freedom for Immigrants
- National Immigration Legal Services Directory
- Immigrant Legal Resource Center
- ICE detainee locator
- ACLU’s immigration law resources
There may also be local resources that can help in your location, such as city-specific immigrant support networks or programs run by churches and shelters.
If you are a refugee or asylee, know that specific organizations focus on supporting you and people like you.
Legal non-profits like the American Immigration Lawyers Association provide free referrals to immigration attorneys and can help match you with an immigration attorney who has experience specific to your situation. For their Immigration Lawyer Referral Service, call (800) 954-0254 or email them at email@example.com.
Despite changes in immigration law and how frightening the news can seem, many people want to help you in your fight to live in the United States.
Our Immigration Law Firm Can Help You Fight Deportation Proceedings
If you’re facing deportation proceedings, it can be a scary time. You may not know what to expect or how to prepare for your case.
We understand that this is an incredibly difficult time in your life. We want you to feel confident knowing that an experienced, trustworthy Atlanta deportation lawyer will fight hard for your rights.
Our legal team has been helping people like you with their immigration cases since 2016. We have extensive experience working with clients who are facing criminal charges and deportation proceedings.
Call us today at 678-902-2999, so we can start discussing your immigration case right away! Our experienced GA immigration lawyers will review all of the details surrounding your criminal conviction before providing legal advice on how best to proceed moving forward.
Atlanta Immigration Resources
- Atlanta Deportation Lawyer
- Atlanta Immigration Court
- Complete Guide to I-485
- Folkston ICE Processing Center
- Georgia Immigration
- Guide to I-765
- How Long Does it Take to Bring a Spouse to the USA?
- Immigration Attorney Atlanta
- Irwin County Detention Center
- Stewart Detention Center
- The Hidden Impact of ICE Deportation
Georgia Immigration Law Explained
Georgia Immigration Law is much the same as immigration law throughout the USA. However, there are also regulations specific to Georgia like E-Verify regulations and rules for state/city law enforcement, and there are local sites and agencies to be aware of.
Your Guide to the Atlanta Immigration Court
Navigating the Atlanta GA Court can be very difficult as there are many agencies involved and lots of moving parts. This page will walk you through the basics of what to expect if you’ve been detained or received a notice to appear in this court in Atlanta, Georgia.
Complete Guide to I-485
The process, which begins with form I-485, can be complicated. This page will guide you through the basics of an Adjustment Of Status and let you know what to expect.
#1 Guide on I-765
When coming to the USA, finding a job is probably one of the first things you’ll want to do. However, before you can begin working in the U.S. you should obtain a work permit. Read on to find out how you can use Form I-765 to apply for the right to work in the United States.