Improper Reentry After Deportation or Removal
According to the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA), an alien deported from the United States cannot lawfully reenter for 5 years, or 20 years for a second removal. An alien who violates theses exclusion periods may be ordered removed again if they try to reenter the country. While removal proceedings are not criminal, lengthy jail sentences may be imposed for repeat offenders. For example, a man was recently sentenced to 45 months in prison by a federal judge for trying to reenter the U.S. 6 times in 4 years.
The 5 and 20 year restrictions can be avoided if the alien files a special application with the Attorney General. Applications are generally unsuccessful absent a good reason, such as miscarriage of justice or emergency asylum.
Generally, deportations of aliens peaceably living in the U.S. are relatively rare. If a person is under threat of deportation, authorities will generally allow the person to voluntarily depart, which may prevent future restrictions on lawful reentry.
Many deportation cases center on a crime that the undocumented alien is accused of committing. A deported alien, if convicted of an aggravated felony, is forever banished from the U.S.
Border patrol officers are now given great discretion to turn back undocumented aliens without a judicial hearing, if there is a reasonable likelihood an alien is lying about his or her identity and lacks any valid documentation. Proponents of this say that it saves the court system from overcrowding, but naysayers say that this violates the immigrants’ due process rights.
Immigrants can try to argue that the original deportation order was invalid. However, immigration courts usually consider the book closed after a deportation is ordered, such that any records of deportation proceedings are not subject to being reopened or reviewed, absent a “gross miscarriage of justice.”
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Last Modified: 04-18-2013 11:06 AM PDT