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Removal Proceeding Procedure & Defenses

by Hamid R. Kashani, Attorney at Law
Nov 07, 2018 (last modified Apr 24, 2019)

If Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has sent you a Notice to Appear (NTA), which starts the removal (or deportation) proceeding against you, the most important questions on your mind would be what happens next? What should you expect?  Would you be able to defend yourself? And, what kind of immigration relief can you get?

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Removal proceedings are held in an immigration court, before an immigration judge, who will determine whether you are removable and whether you are entitled to relief from removal. Several defenses and remedies are available in the course of the removal proceeding. See Removal Proceeding Defenses & Remedies.

Not all removal proceedings start with a raid, arrest, or detention.  See Arrest & Detention by ICE.  If you came into the United States through a port of entry, were admitted into the country after inspection, have not tried to hide, and have not committed a serious criminal offense, most likely you will receive an NTA in the mail. No ICE agent will come to arrest or detain you, as long as you observe the rules and report to the immigration court as required.

Some removal proceedings, however, start after a noncitizen comes to ICE's attention and is arrested and detained.  See Arrest & Detention by ICE.  In that case, ICE may initiate a removal proceeding by giving you a Notice to Appear (NTA).  ICE may detain you during the removal proceeding or may allow you to post bond and be released.  If ICE does not allow you to post bond or it requires a bond in an amount beyond your means, you may still ask the immigration judge to reevaluate your bond eligibility.

Related Topics:

Removal Proceeding

Undocumented Immigrants

Grounds for Removal

Cancellation of Removal

Cancellation of Removal for Battered Spouses & Children


Withholding of Removal

Convention against Torture (CAT) Protection

Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

Prosecutorial Discretion

Voluntary Departure

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

Arrest & Detention by ICE

Immigration Bond

Expedited Removal


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