Deporation and Removal Proceedings: Understanding the Immigration Notice to Appear (NTA)

A Notice to Appear (NTA) - DHS Form I-862 - is issued by the US Immigration & Customs Enforcement (USICE) to initiate Removal (Deportation) proceedings

The NTA is submitted to the Executive Office for Immigration Review (i.e. Immigration Court) having jurisdiction over the place of residence of the individual the USICE seeks to deport.

There are 3 main sections of the NTA, each of which is discussed in this article under separate heading.

Biographic Data about the Alien

The NTA will contain the individual’s biographic and contact information such as name, any aliases, address, and telephone number.

You should have your attorney review this information for any errors or omissions.

The Allegations

The NTA will also contain several allegations specific to each individual.

For example:

  1. Non-Citizenship Status: You are NOT a citizen or national of the United States.  You are a citizen or national of (A COUNTRY);
  2. Immigration Status:  For example, you are a Lawful Permanent Resident as of such and such a date or you entered the United States on such and such a date on such and such a visa and remained beyond that date without DHS authorization;
  3. Arrest History: The third allegation mentions the individual’s arrest history (if applicable); and
  4. Conviction Record: The fourth allegation mentions the individual’s conviction (if applicable).

Mistakes are often made by the government in this section of the NTA so be sure to have an experienced immigration lawyer review the allegations.

The Charges

This is the part of the NTA where the United States explains what law or laws you violated and the laws justifying your deportation and removal.

The NTA reads,

“On the basis of the foregoing, it is charged that you are subject to removal from the United States pursuant to the following provision(s) of law.”

The most common immigration charges are:

  1. Present in violation of law- Section 237(a)(1)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act as amended, in that after admission as a nonimmigrant under Section 101(a)(15) of the Act, you have remained in the United States for a time longer that permitted, in violation of this Act or any other law of the United States;
  2. Crime Involving Moral Turpitude- Section 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(I) of the Immigration and Nationality Act as amended, in that you are an alien who has been convicted of, or who admits having committed, or who admits committing acts which constitute the essential elements of a crime involving moral turpitude (other than a purely political offense) or an attempt or conspiracy to commit such a crime;
  3. Controlled Substance Traffickers- Section 212(a)(2)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, in that a consular or immigration officer knows or has reason to believe you are an alien who is or has been an illicit trafficker in any controlled substance or who is or has been a knowing assister, abettor, conspirator, or colluder with others in the illicit trafficking in any such controlled substance; and
  4. Aggravated Felony – Section 237(a)(2)(A)(iii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, in that you are an alien who is convicted of an aggravated felony pursuant to Section 101(a)(43).  

Aggravated felonies are crimes including, but not limited to, murder, rape, illicit trafficking in a controlled substance, firearms, or destructive devices, money laundering, crimes of violence, certain theft, fraud, gambling, or firearms offenses, treason, racketeering, commercial bribery, counterfeiting, forgery, trafficking in altered vehicle identification numbers, obstruction of justice, perjury, subornation of perjury, bribery of a witness, tax evasion in which the revenue loss to the government exceeds $ 10,000, involuntary servitude, peonage, trafficking in persons and, attempts or conspiracies to commit any offense listed in Section 101(a)(43) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The specific aggravated felony based on which the U.S. is pursuing your deportation is listed on the NTA. 

Do Not Try To Handle a Deporation Case By Yourself

If you receive an NTA, you should immediately consult with an experienced immigration attorney who will review the allegations for accuracy, the charge(s), and determine whether or not you qualify for a waiver or defense.

Upwards of 95% of deportation cases handled without the assistance of an immigration lawyer result in removal.