At the end of the third quarter of 2019, the Executive Office for Immigration Review released statistics showing that their agency had a backlog of over 930,311 cases. Almost all of these people had dealings with a branch of the Department of Homeland Security at one point or another. DHS has three different offices dealing with immigration and enforcement, and those are U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS); U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP); or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Each of these sub-agencies serves a different function, but any of the three can issue a Notice to Appear, which is the charging document that places a person in removal proceedings. ICE is the primary agency in charge of enforcing immigration laws and prosecuting people they believe violate the immigration laws of the United States.
How people end up in removal proceedings can differ, but most are encountered at or near the border. They are either arrested during the screening process at the border or found trying to enter the United States without inspection by an immigration officer. However, some people are encountered further into the mainland of the United States. ICE can arrest someone and take them into custody if local law enforcement is alerted during an arrest that a person lacks proper documentation. During these instances, local law enforcement will decide to contact ICE and let them know about the encounter with an individual lacking immigration status. Sometimes people are placed in removal proceedings after filing applications for different types of immigration relief and USCIS rejects them. At the point of rejection, USCIS can refer a person to the Executive Office of Immigration Review, and the person is placed in removal proceedings. There are other ways that a person can end up in front of an Immigration Judge, but these examples are what typically happens.
At Chhabra & Gibbs, P.A., we meet with clients each day that are in removal proceedings. Most of them are scared and confused by the process. We believe in educating our clients to the fullest extent possible because we want to arm them with the knowledge to understand what the government is attempting to accomplish. As discussed above, you can end up in removal proceedings in a number of different ways, but if you or a loved one are in removal proceedings and want help with how to move forward, please contact our Chhabra & Gibbs, P.A. Immigration Team by calling 601-927-8430 or 601-948-8005 or by using our live chat,, so that we can help you and your family through this process.