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What does a Deportation Officer do?

By Laura Phillips
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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The main job responsibilities of a deportation officer are to detain and monitor non-citizens who have been ordered to leave a country. Deportation officers typically will oversee the proceedings from the time a deportation order is issued until the non-citizen actually leaves the country. Assignments may also include monitoring legal or illegal immigrants, or other visitors to a country.

Actual titles for this position differ in various countries, with the role of deportation officer being covered by immigration officers, detention officers, or other law enforcement officials. Typically, the deportation officer works for the immigration office. This position may also be associated with the justice department or other governmental units that enforce laws regulating immigration and nationality matters.

Deportation officers typically work closely with other immigration and customs officers, as well as with attorneys for both the government and the person being deported. They usually help identify, locate, and apprehend uncooperative aliens. Officers typically help prepare and present information used for deportation proceedings in immigration and exclusion hearings. Often, they will consult with liaisons from foreign consulates and embassies to assure that passports and other travel documents are issued for the deported person's return to his or her home country or another location. On occasion, officers also may be required to escort the person out of the country to assure removal per the requirements of the deportation order.

A great deal of travel may be required for a deportation officer. During the course of his or her work, the officer may be away from home for lengthy periods of time both in the course of locating deportees and during legal proceedings. Frequent visits to prisons and other holding facilities may be necessary, as well.

The job of a deportation officer can involve a certain amount of risk. Officers usually must be physically fit and able to handle considerable strenuous exertion in order to apprehend, subdue, and move uncooperative people. Attacks on deportation officers can occur without warning during the course of their duties, so self defense skills and training in the use of deadly force typically are necessary. It is not uncommon for officers to have previous law enforcement or military experience.

Educational requirements for this job vary. Some positions require a college degree, while others require several years of experience in a related field of work. Deportation officers typically are trained in immigration law and the procedural law of the jurisdiction in which they operate. Most also have at least some police training and may be fluent in two or more languages. Citizenship in the country of operation generally is required.

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