Only individuals that were born in the Unites States (or one of its territories) are U.S. citizens at birth. The only exception of for children of U.S. citizens that were born abroad and meet the requirements to obtain a Report of Birth Abroad, which is also known as foreign U.S. birth certificate.
All others can become U.S. citizens by naturalization. The process of naturalization starts when a lawful permanent resident files Form N-400 with the USCIS.
Not everybody is eligible for naturalization. Immigrants that have been convicted of a serious crime will not be granted U.S. citizenship. Instead, the government will place them in removal proceedings.
Removal (deportation) proceedings take place in the immigration court having jurisdiction in the place where the immigrant resides. Sometimes, it is also possible to seek a change of venue to an immigration court that is closer to the respondent, his or her attorney, and the witnesses in the case.
At the immigration hearing, an immigration has the right to be represented by a deportation defense lawyer of his or her choice. However, contrary to criminal cases, the government will not provide an attorney to indigent immigrants.
During the deportation trial, the trial attorney will have to prove that you are removable from the United States. If you are found to be removable, the judge will enter a deportation order, unless you qualify for any form of relief from deportation.
Often, the judge will grant voluntary departure to immigrants with no criminal history. The judge will set a period within which you must leave the United States. If you fail to comply with the order, you will be ineligible for any other Visa.
A deportation order carries severe penalties. The basis punishment is a 5-year ban. Also, if you were in the country without permission for more than 180 days, you may be subject to a 10-year ban. Further, if you were removed because you committed a serious crime or an aggravated felony, you may be barred from coming back for up to 20 years or even for life, in the most serious cases.
If a deportation order was entered against you, an immigration appeals lawyer should be contacted immediately to file an appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals. An appeal to the BIA will stay your deportation order until a final decision on your case is made.