What Are Removal Proceedings?
Removal proceedings are administrative proceedings to determine whether a person should be deported under United States immigration law. Removal proceedings are typically conducted in Immigration Court (the Executive Office for Immigration Review) by an immigration judge (IJ).
What Does it Mean to be in Removal Proceedings?
Removal proceedings are begun when the government issues a Notice to Appear (NTA). The NTA is presented to an Immigration Judge who must decide whether to order you removed from the United States or allow you to remain. An NTA is a list of allegations that the government must prove about you. In addition, the NTA contains a charge of removability. Essentially, the government is stating that, if they can prove the following allegations, then an immigration judge must conclude that you are removable from the U.S. For example, if you are here on a student visa, an NTA may allege that you failed to attend school and are therefore removable for failing to maintain your student status. Or, if you are a permanent resident, the NTA may allege that you have been convicted of a crime which makes you removable. While the allegations that must be proven are distinct, the proceedings are pretty similar- the government must prove its allegations to establish that you are removable. If those allegations can not be proven, then the Immigration Judge should terminate removal proceedings.