Most People Placed in Removal Proceedings Are Allowed to Stay in U.S.

Statistics show a majority of people facing deportation in immigration court are granted some form of relief.

The statistics for 2016 should alleviate fear levels a bit for anyone currently facing deportation (removal) from the United States: In 56.6% of cases, the immigration judge (IJ) granted some form of relief allowing the person to stay. (Yes, that means 43.4% were ordered removed.) (See U.S. Deportation Outcomes by Charge.)

Broken down state by state, however, the percentages become less reassuring, depending on where one lives. Immigration judges in North Carolina, Georgia, Utah, Texas, Guam, and Louisiana top the list for high rates of deportation, in the range of 60% to 75% of cases heard. Also, no data was available for a number of states.

These and other interesting statistics about immigration court decisions across the United States can be found on the website of the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University (TRACImmigration).

A sad reality about facing deportation proceedings is that (assuming one has any sort of defense) it’s much easier to win with the help of an attorney. In a recent report, for example, TRACImmigration analyzed the “rocket docket” cases of women and children from south of the border seeking refuge in this country (which receive top priority for hearings). Most of them (70%) were unrepresented (had no attorney or other legal help).

The analysis showed that unrepresented families rarely got as far as filing the necessary papers to seek asylum or other forms of relief, and 43.4% of them were ordered deported at the initial master calendar hearing (the main purpose of which is usually to schedule an individual hearing). Of the few who made it as far as an individual hearing, deportation rates very widely based on region of the United States.

Read more about possible defenses to deportation.