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Immigration defense: What's an automatic stay of removal?

The threat of being torn from your family, sent out of the country and not being able to return to the United States again is terrifying. This is why many immigrants choose to defend themselves against the risk of deportation in court. An automatic stay of removal is one strategy that if successful, could provide a temporary postponement that prevents immigration authorities from removing the person.

An automatic stay of removal goes into effect automatically when the immigrant appeals the removal before the time limitations specified under the law run out. The appeals must be submitted to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), which is the highest administrative body that decides cases relating to immigration law. The BIA typically performs a paper review of the circumstances without any court proceedings. The automatic stay of removal will expire after the BIA reaches a decision on the matter.

In addition to automatic stays of removal, there are also "discretionary stays of removal." The BIA can grant such a discretionary stay when an appeal, motion to reconsider or motion to reopen is pending.

It can be complicated to know exactly what your legal rights are during immigration court proceedings, and as a judge is deciding your case, you might not have anyone you can rely on for advice about what to expect, the procedures and the law relating to the process as they apply to your case. Therefore, if you or a family member is facing the threat of deportation or removal from the United States, you may want to discuss your matter with a skilled immigration attorney.

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