Deportation or Removal Defense
Removal proceedings can be confusing and frightening, particularly when an individual is in immigration detention. An immigration attorney’s assistance is essential during this process to ensure that all possible defenses to removal are raised and to minimize the impact on future applications for visas and green cards. Possible options during removal proceedings include:
Adjustment of Status
Adjustment of status refers to the process of applying for a green card without having to leave the United States. During removal proceedings, this procedure can be available to those individuals who (1) entered the U.S. legally; (2) are “admissible” (as opposed to “inadmissible” which can refer to, among other things, having a disqualifying criminal history); (3) have a relative who is either a lawful permanent resident or a U.S. citizen; (4) have a qualifying family petition filed and approved on their behalf and a visa number immediately available to them; (5) have not otherwise violated their immigration status.
Cancellation of Removal for those without a Green Card
This form of relief allows someone who has lived in the United States for a long time without status to obtain a green card during removal proceedings. To be eligible for cancellation of removal, you must meet the following requirements:
- You have been living (“continuously physically present”) in the U.S. for at least ten years
- Your removal from the U.S. would cause “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” to your spouse/child/parent, who is/are U.S. citizens or green card holders
- You can show that you have “good moral character” and
- You have not been convicted of certain crimes or violated certain laws.
Cancellation of Removal for Green Card holders
For green card holders in removal proceedings, cancellation of removal is a way to stay in the United States. To be eligible, the green card holder must prove the following: (1) Lawful permanent residence in the U.S. for at least five years at the time that the application is filed; (2) Continuous residency in the U.S. for at least seven years after being admitted in any status; (3) No prior aggravated felony convictions; (4) You have not previously been granted cancellation of removal; (4) You otherwise deserve to keep your green card (positive factors outweigh negative factors in your case)
Under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, certain young people who came to the United States before turning 16 are eligible for 2 years of protection from deportation and the ability to work lawfully in the United States. Please see our section on Deferred Action here.
If you or a relative are going through removal proceedings, please contact us for a consultation to evaluate your options and make sure that all possible defenses are raised in your case.