A non-citizen of the United States who experienced legal removal, or deportation, and subsequently chooses to re-enter the country without proper authorization is subject to a number of criminal penalties and immigration consequences. Such an action can result in the reinstatement of this removal, limiting potential options for relief within immigration court, causing longer periods of inadmissibility after removal, and resulting in the inability to receive an adjustment of status by the United States Criminal and Immigration Services (USCIS). Criminal penalties for re-entry after removal may be severe, including an imprisonment term of up to two years or more harsh punishments for repeat offenses.
While these complex cases are often confusing and intimidating, it is imperative to remember that you do retain the right to seek qualified legal counsel, similar to any other type of criminal defense case. To successfully navigate your legal options, you will require an experienced immigration attorney with the knowledge and resources to fight for you. Contact our dedicated team of immigration attorneys at Tsigler Law today for your free consultation.
Immigration Law Concerning Re-Entry After Removal
Under 8 U.S. Code § 1326, re-entering or efforts to re-enter the U.S. after removal is considered a felony offense in the majority of situations. If you re-enter illegally following removal, you can be barred from ever visiting the U.S.
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) comprises the foundational collection of immigration laws regarding immigrants in our country. Within this act, § 212 defines the specific circumstances that may result in inadmissibility for re-entry and designates the amount of time the individual must wait before they can seek re-entry. After an individual is removed from the U.S., they are legally ineligible to apply for any form of admission to the U.S., such as an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa, without encountering specific legal restrictions.
Statute of Limitations
There exists a statute of limitations that delineates the period of time in which the federal government may file charges against this person. This statute of limitations commences on the date the application is filed with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), or they otherwise notify the DHS of their presence in the country and it continues for five years. If the five-year period passes without the government filing charges, the individual cannot be convicted of perpetrating this offense. The individual must wait a predetermined amount of time (typically five, ten, or 20 years) before they may apply for re-entry into the country.
If an individual would like to re-enter the country after removal before fulfilling the statute of limitations, they must fill out and submit Form I-212 to the USCIS in addition to a fee and any relevant supporting documents that demonstrate any factors that can work in their favor. For example, good moral standing in the community, rehabilitation and time served after being convicted of any criminal charges, and responsibility for the caretaking of family members in the U.S. If the individual left the U.S. voluntarily, rather than being legally removed, they can apply for re-entry to the country without filling out this form.
Waiver of Inadmissibility
If you are found to be inadmissible to the U.S. during your application for re-entry, you may submit Form I-601 requesting to waive certain grounds of inadmissibility. Many grounds exist for considering an individual to be inadmissible, so the requirements necessary for obtaining this waiver will vary based on the original grounds for removal. Based on several factors, some people are more likely than others to receive this type of waiver. If an individual was removed for an aggravated felony, they are prohibited from entering the U.S. for a minimum of twenty years. Additionally, someone removed due to charges of terrorist activities is highly unlikely to obtain a waiver of inadmissibility.
Factors Immigration Court Will Consider in Your Case
When determining how to respond to your case, the immigration courts consider its unique circumstances. The court will deliberate a number of factors, such as:
- Reason for original removal from the country
- Length of time that has passed since removal
- Length of time spent legally residing in the U.S.
- Applicant’s moral character and respect for U.S. law
- Demonstration of hardship
- Evidence of rehabilitation since removal
- Responsibilities to take care of family members
- Inadmissibility due to other sections of U.S. law
- Country’s need for the applicant’s services
Seek Expert Help Today – Contact Tsigler Law
If you are facing charges of re-entry into the U.S. after removal or any other crimes that can impact your immigration status, there are legal options available. Contact the immigration attorneys from Tsigler Law to discuss how we can help you. Consistently rated as one of the N.Y. area’s premier firms for formidable criminal defense, our team has an award-winning history of satisfied, loyal clients who received the highest quality of legal representation. We are committed to carefully investigating your case, aggressively arguing for you in court, and helping you navigate any legal consequences that may arise.
To schedule a free consultation with our immigration attorneys, call us today at (718) 473-9939 or submit the appointment request form online.