With respect to immigration consequences, removal from the United States is commonly regarded as the most punitive measure the US government can impose on a non-US Citizen. Depending on the circumstances of and setting in which the removal order is issued, an individual may be banned from the US anywhere from five years to permanently. If an individual is stopped and removed at the border, this may mean that he/she was the subject of an expedited removal proceeding. Individuals are deemed inadmissible for five years under these circumstances. (Note, however, that not all encounters at the border in which an alien is sent back necessarily result in an expedited removal order; sometimes, a person may accept a voluntary return.) If an individual was the subject of an Immigration Court hearing within the United States under section 240 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, and issued a removal order, he is ordinarily barred for ten years.
Interestingly, a removal order does not necessarily mean that an individual is forever banished from the US. Technically, it means that the person will be held inadmissible and denied admission if he or she applies for permission to enter the country before the requisite time has passed. So, for example, if a person is ordered removed at the conclusion of removal proceedings, he or she will normally be denied entry for at least 10 years. However, once the ten years has passed, that person may potentially still be readmitted to the US, provided of course, that there is an underlying visa application or petition that has been approved. So, in the case of family members who have been deported, they may still one day be able to return after the removal order has expired. It is important to understand, though, that there may be other inadmissibility grounds–aside from the removal order-that may need to be addressed. For instance, if a person has been deported for having been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, he or she will still be deemed inadmissible-even after the 10 years-unless and until that criminal inadmissibility bar is waived. Similarly, if a person has made a willful misrepresentation to the government in connection with an immigration benefit, that fraud or misrepresentation may need to be waived.
In some cases, a deported person does not necessarily have to wait out the full terms of his/her removal order before attempting to come back to the US. There is a mechanism by which a person may ask for the government’s permission or consent to apply for admission before a removal order has expired. Such permission is applied for through Form I-212. As noted above though, approval does not ensure that the foreign national will be admitted. There still has to be an underlying basis (ie., approved family or employment petition), a visa must be available, and no other basis of inadmissibility (ie., criminal bars, fraud, unlawful presence, etc.) exists.
These options, of course, assume that the individual is applying for permission to reenter the US. The last thing a deported person would probably want to do is to illegally reenter the US. Not only is such an act criminal, there are a number of drastic immigration consequences, such as reinstatement of removal and the triggering of a permanent bar of inadmissibility.
For more information on how to properly reenter the US after deportation/removal, please contact our office. The foregoing is general information only and not intended to substitute for legal advice.