A “stay of removal” is a term used in immigration law proceedings. It refers to a temporary postponing of removal of an alien from the United States. In many cases, a stay of removal is administrative in nature, such as when the immigration court needs to sort out legal issues before the person can be removed.
Thus, a stay of removal is not really a permanent stopping of the removal order, as is the case with a cancellation of removal due to hardships or other reasons.
In most cases, it is up to the judge to determine which persons are eligible for a stay of removal. This is generally done on an individual case by case basis. There are two basic types of stays of removal:
- Automatic Stay of Removal: These are available when an appeal is file within the proper time frame under immigration rules. The stay is automatically granted under certain conditions, such as when the final outcome of an immigration case is pending before an immigration judge.
- Discretionary Stay of Removal: This allows the immigration judge or panel to stay the removal at their own decision (not automatically). These are generally available if there is an appeal, a motion to reconsider, or a motion to reopen are in effect.
Thus, a stay of removal is more of a procedural matter rather than a more specific form of relief from deportation or removal.
Again, the main purpose of a stay of removal is to allow the immigration board to resolve administrative legal issues before the person is subject to the actual removal. Thus, a stay of removal will usually expire once the immigration authorities issue a final ruling on the legal matter that was being resolved. At this point, the person will then either be subject to final removal, or they may be allowed to remain in the country. This will depend on the outcome of the removal hearing or other types of hearing.
As with any immigration matter, a stay of removal can be a complicated issue that requires the assistance of a lawyer. If you or a loved one will be involved in a removal proceeding, you may need to hire an immigration lawyer for assistance with the process. Your attorney can help provide legal guidance and representation during crucial points in the process. Immigration policies are subject to frequent change, so you may wish to inquire with a lawyer if you are unclear about any laws.