Question: What will happen in U.S. immigration removal proceedings?

Answer: So in removal proceedings, there are generally two routes: one for those who are in custody and one for those who are either on bond or supervision. So if a person is in custody and in removal proceedings, those proceedings will move very quickly. There are some tight timelines that have to be met so that that person is not held in custody without a judge supervising their case and making findings. However, if a person is on bond or supervision, the proceedings can take a very long time, sometimes many years to complete.

The process is the same; the speed is very different, but the process is the same. There is an initial appearance in front of the immigration judge who will take a look at the circumstances of that person to determine if there is likely to be any possible relief from removal. There are various petitions or reasons why a person may receive relief: cancellation of removal is one; if a person has an immediate family member, that immediate family member can file for them. They may be able to receive immigration benefits that way. And there are some other defenses to removal that can be raised.

If an immigration judge finds that there is the possibility of relief, an individual hearing is scheduled for that person where a petition for that relief has to be filed, scrutinized and often there is testimony from witnesses, evidence is presented and the immigration judge will make a determination as to whether that person should be removed from the United States or whether that person will receive status through some other means.

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