For anyone living in the United States without valid immigration status, the threat of deportation can be stressful. Even worse, with the current political climate, the fear of deportation can be downright crippling. There is hope. If you are in removal proceedings, you can mount a defense.
In this article, we discuss the many possible defenses to deportation, officially called “removal.” Keep in mind that removal proceedings are adversarial. That is, the U.S. government will use a lawyer to actively try to remove you from the country. Having your own experienced deportation lawyer who understands the intricacies of U.S. immigration law is your best bet to remain in the U.S. To learn more, contact Nesbit Law Office today.
How Can You Fight a Removability Charge?
As a first step in the removal process, the government will issue you a Notice to Appear (“NTA”) before an immigration judge. The NTA lists the removability charge – the reason per U.S. immigration law that you should be removed from the U.S. Your initial opportunity to avoid removal comes at this stage. Fight the charge. Essentially, you deny that you’re removable from the United States. This is another way of saying that the U.S. government made a mistake when putting you into removal proceedings.
Even if you are in the country without legal permission and are removable, it is the U.S. government’s burden to prove it. You might effectively avoid being removed from the U.S. if the government cannot prove that you should be. The government might have the legal basis for your removability wrong. Or, the government’s lawyer might not be able to provide documentation that proves you should be removed. In either situation, your removal proceedings might be dismissed.
Further, even if the government can prove that you should be removed and the judge agrees, you can still argue one of the defenses listed below.
Don’t Lie or Present False Evidence
That said, while you can deny your removability charge and force the government to prove that you are removable from the country, you should never lie to the immigration judge or present false evidence. Doing so might make it legally impossible for you to assert certain defenses to removal. Or it may make it very difficult to apply for other immigration benefits.
Further, providing false testimony damages your credibility with the immigration judge. If you lie, you risk that the immigration judge might not believe anything you say ever again. That could ruin your case and doom your chances to remain in the United States.
Ask for Relief From Removal
If you are removable from the U.S., you might have a very good reason that you should not be removed. The immigration judge will advise you of the potential applications for relief from removal that you might have. Still, the immigration judge is busy and often cannot know the ins-and-outs of your specific case. Because of this, it is critically important that you discuss your immigration situation with an experienced immigration lawyer prior to your hearing.
Below are the most common forms of relief from removal. This list does not include every possible form of relief available, nor does it discuss each form in detail. For more information, contact our office.
Asylum allows individuals who were persecuted in their home country because of race, nationality, religion, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group to avoid being removed from the United States. Successful asylum applicants may apply for legal permanent residency in the U.S.
Convention Against Torture
The Convention Against Torture permits anyone who is likely to be tortured in their home country for any reason to remain in the U.S. Usually individuals who receive relief under the Convention Against Torture are not eligible to apply for permanent residency, but they may live and work in the U.S.
Withholding of Removal
Like asylum and relief under the Convention Against Torture, Withholding of Removal allows individuals to remain in the U.S. if they will be persecuted when they return home. Withholding requires a showing that the persecution is more likely than not to occur. Thus, it is a difficult form of relief to obtain.
Cancellation of Removal
Cancellation of Removal grants relief to anyone who has been in the U.S. for ten years and can show that their removal would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to a qualifying relative. Those granted cancellation of removal can apply for green cards.
Adjustment of Status
Adjustment of Status lets qualified immigrants apply for a green card instead of facing removal. Often this form of relief requires that the individual have entered the country legally, although there are exceptions.
The Violence Against Women Act allows those who have suffered abuse by a qualifying relative to remain in the U.S. Applicants must show that they have been in the U.S. for at least three years and that they have good moral character to qualify for relief under VAWA.
Prosecutorial Discretion stops removal proceedings because the government no longer wishes to continue with the case.
What If You Are Removable and Don’t Have a Viable Defense?
If you are removable and have no viable defense, you might consider agreeing to voluntarily leave the United States. While those in removal proceedings often do not wish to leave the country, agreeing to leave voluntarily avoids a removal order, which might have long-term immigration consequences.
Significantly, those who are ordered removed from the United States often face a legal bar to reentering the country for several years (or for life in some cases). Those who agree to leave voluntarily often secure the ability to return to the U.S. when a legal opportunity to do so arises.
Seek the Advice of a Deportation Lawyer
Removal proceedings are serious and can have extreme immigration consequences. Prior to taking any action on your immigration case, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced Columbus OH deportation lawyer. At Nesbit Law Office, we understand the complex system of U.S. immigration laws. We have extensive experience representing clients in all aspects of immigration law, including deportation defenses. If you are in removal proceedings, don’t wait. Contact our office today to determine your best options for remaining in the United States.