U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that effective October 1, 2009 there is a greater likelihood that returning Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) who have prior criminal convictions will be issued a Notice to Appear rather than an Order to Appear for Deferred Inspection. In the past, CBP generally issued an Order to Appear for Deferred Inspection when an immediate decision concerning the immigration status of an LPR returning to the U.S. from abroad could not be made at the port of entry because of a lack of documentation. CBP typically scheduled a time for the returning LPR to report for a "deferred inspection" at a future date and to present documentation and/or information so that a determination could be made about whether the LPR would be re-admitted to the U.S. or placed in removal (deportation) proceedings.
CBP modified its policy on deferring inspection because an appreciable percentage of those granted deferred inspection did not show up at the appointed time. The Notice to Appear (NTA) is a notice ordering an LPR to appear before an immigration judge for removal proceedings. By issuing the NTA, as opposed to deferring the person's inspection, CBP is raising the stakes. If an LPR does not appear on the appointed immigration court date, the court can hold a hearing and order removal in absentia (meaning in the person’s absence).
If an LPR ever has been charged with committing, or has committed, or has been found guilty of committing any crime or non-traffic offense, the LPR should immediately consult a U.S. immigration attorney to understand the risks associated with a departure from the U.S. followed by a request for re-admission to the country.© 2009 Dinsmore & Shohl LLP. All rights reserved.