Appeals – Individuals who wish to appeal the judge’s decision must do so in writing, within 30 days. Appeals are filed with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) in Falls Church, Va. A decision by the BIA can be appealed to a federal circuit court, but even without such an appeal, the process of finalizing removal can take months. Individuals remain incarcerated during the appeal process and may not be released on bond.
Deportation – If the immigration judge finds against the individual (and if appeals fail), the final step in the process is deportation. Once an order of removal becomes final, whether at the conclusion of the merits hearing or end of the appeals process, the individual is taken into custody. The government has six months in which to accomplish removal. ICE is required to conduct reviews when an individual has been in custody 90 days, and again at 180 days, to determine whether the individual can be removed within a reasonable period of time. If such a review does not happen automatically, a person should request a review; a detainee who has not been removed from the U.S. 180 days after the entry of a final order may be eligible for parole. Any person released on parole must continue to comply with ICE. When an individual in detention is removed, ICE Air Operations (IAO) oversees. Mexican nationals are flown to U.S. border cities, where they are bussed or walked across the border. IAO also regularly flies Central Americans and others to their countries of origin.
Restrictions on Re-entry – Undocumented persons who are subject to orders of removal may not be allowed to return to the U.S for at least five years, and may be permanently barred from re-entering the U.S. Even for those who choose voluntary departure, the timeline for re-entering the country legally depends in part on how long they were in the country illegally.
A person who was in the U.S. illegally faces restrictions on returning to the U.S. Generally speaking, restrictions on returning to the U.S. depend on the circumstances of removal:
- A person who is present in the U.S. illegally for more than 180 days but less than one year may not return to the U.S. for three years. This ban applies even if the person departs voluntarily.
- A person who is removed immediately at the border or at another point of entry (i.e. through expedited removal) may not return to the U.S. for five years.
- A person who is subject to an Order of Removal issued by an immigration judge may not return to the U. S. for ten years. This ten-year ban also applies to any alien who was present in the U.S. illegally for a period of more than one year, even if that person opts for voluntary departure, although an alien who departs voluntarily may apply for a waiver.
- A person who receives an Order of Removal and attempts to re-enter the U.S. illegally before the ten-year period expires may be banned from the U.S. for twenty years.
- A person who is convicted of an aggravated felony, or who illegally enters the U.S. after having been removed once many be banned from entering the U.S. permanently.
Anyone who tries to re-enter the U.S. illegally also may be subject to criminal proceedings and penalties.