by Blake P. Somers, Lawyer Referral Service Panelist
There are several different portions of removal proceedings. First the government bears the burden of proof demonstrating that someone is removable from the United States. Thus, an easy way to think of it is that they have to go “first.” After the government establishes their portion of the case, it then becomes the non-citizen’s responsibility to demonstrate why they are entitled to remain in the United States or what relief they might be seeking. Perhaps the individual is seeking asylum because they cannot return to their own country for fear of persecution or, perhaps they have some way they might be able to become a permanent resident. No matter what the relief, ultimately the responsibility for demonstrating eligibility for this relief will fall to the non-citizen. If the individual is successful then they may be able to remain in the United States and potentially become a permanent resident or obtain other legal status in the United States. If they are unsuccessful, an order of removal will be entered and, unless an appeal is successful, the person will be first asked to leave the United States and, later physically and forcibly removed from the United States at the government’s expense.