Few experiences are as stressful as the looming threat of deportation, a reality faced by a substantial number of individuals in the United States. Data from the Pew Research Center reveals that nearly 350,000 people are deported from the United States each year. In the midst of such uncertainty, it’s natural to question the role of deportation officers and whether they are considered part of law enforcement. While deportation officers are indeed federal law enforcement employees, it’s essential to recognize that deportation itself is a civil matter, distinct from criminal proceedings. In this article, our Portland deportation defense attorneys offer an in-depth examination of the responsibilities of deportation officers.
Deportation Officers: Federal Law Enforcement Agents
Deportation officers are professionals employed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a branch of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In broad terms, the primary duties of deportation officers encompass the investigation and enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws. Their focus centers on identifying, apprehending, and facilitating the removal of individuals who lack proper authorization to be in the country.
Deportation: A Civil Administrative Matter, Not a Criminal Case
It is crucial to understand that, despite deportation officers’ affiliation with ICE and their role in federal law enforcement, deportation proceedings are not criminal cases. Instead, they fall under the purview of civil administrative matters. In essence, being in the United States without legal authorization constitutes a civil violation, not a criminal offense. Deportation or removal proceedings serve as the administrative processes used to determine an individual’s eligibility to remain in the country.
These proceedings are conducted by immigration judges within the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), a division of the Department of Justice. Unlike criminal cases, deportation proceedings do not assess guilt or innocence in a criminal context. Rather, they center on an individual’s immigration status and their potential eligibility for relief or defenses against the proposed removal. For those facing deportation, gaining a clear understanding of this process is of utmost importance.
Asserting Your Right to Defend Against Deportation
Every individual facing deportation in the United States possesses the right to mount a defense against removal. This right is a fundamental aspect of the nation’s immigration system. Various defenses can be raised in deportation cases, including claims for asylum, requests for cancellation of removal, and applications for adjustment of status.
Typically, the deportation process is initiated with the issuance of a Notice to Appear (NTA). It is crucial not to disregard this notice if you intend to present a defense against deportation. Failure to engage with the formal deportation process can result in the forfeiture of your opportunity to raise legal defenses. An experienced immigration lawyer in Portland, Oregon, can thoroughly assess your case and guide you through the available options.
Contact Our Portland, Oregon Deportation Defense Lawyer
At Vanderwall Immigration, our deportation defense attorney in Oregon is dedicated to providing proactive, dependable, and solution-oriented advocacy for our clients. If you or a loved one is confronted with a deportation proceeding, we are here to assist you in charting the best course of action. Please reach out to us by phone or through our online platform to schedule a fully confidential consultation. Our legal offices in Salem and Beaverton serve clients in Portland and the surrounding Oregon region, offering comprehensive deportation defense services.