October 1, 2009
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confirmed that, beginning on October 1, 2009, there is a greater likelihood that returning Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) with criminal convictions will be issued a Notice to Appear (NTA) at ports of entry versus a grant of deferred inspection. In addition, depending on the nature of the conviction, CBP staffing, and available detention bed space, among other factors, it also is possible that more returning LPRs with criminal convictions will be detained.
CBP confirmed, however, that deferred inspection for such returning LPRs is still an option. CBP explained that it modified its policy because an appreciable percentage of those granted deferred inspection do not show up for the scheduled inspection. More guidance will be forthcoming from CBP, but be aware of the likelihood of an increase in the number of LPRs being detained and/or issued NTAs at ports of entry.
Deferred Inspection: Upon arrival to the US, all foreign nationals undergo "inspections" by CBP officers to determine whether s/he should be allowed entry, the proper category of admission, and the proper length of stay. If the issues cannot be resolved at that point, CBP can grant deferred inspection. In the deferred inspection procedure, one is granted "parole" to enter the US, as opposed to being admitted in an immigrant or non-immigrant category. The person will receive an appointment to appear for deferred inspection. Failure to appear will result in the applicant being placed in removal proceedings. Upon deferred inspection, if the applicant is found to be admissible, s/he will receive an I-94.
Notice to Appear: The notice to appear is a letter requesting an immigrant to appear before the immigration court for removal proceedings. At the hearing, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must prove that the person is in the US unlawfully and should be removed. The person may be represented by an attorney and present evidence supporting his or her case against removal. If the immigration judge orders one's removal, s/he may apply with the judge to depart voluntarily. If one fails to attend the court hearing, s/he will be ordered deported and subject to be arrested and detained by DHS.