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Deportation, or “removal” from the United States, is a process the U.S. government uses to remove a foreigner from the U.S. based on a violation of law.
A deportation defense lawyer can help you defend against deportation to help you stay in the country legally if you are at risk of being deported from the United States. A deportation defense attorney can help in many different ways, depending on your circumstances and your specific situation. However, no matter what your case involves, there are certain methods of defending deportation that every deportation defense lawyer will use.
If you or a loved one have received a Notice to Appear or are under a threat of removal, you should contact an experienced immigration lawyer as soon as possible, especially ones with proven deportation defense experience.
Understanding Immigration Law
A deportation defense attorney will guide you through all stages of immigration law, so you can be prepared for whatever comes next. In order to avoid deportation, you may file one of many forms of relief. For example, if you have been present in the U.S. since before January 1, 1982, you could apply for permanent residence (the green card). If your situation is more complicated than that, it's important to consult with an experienced immigration lawyer as soon as possible.
To do everything possible to protect your legal status in the U.S. and preserve your right to remain here with your family, it’s vital that you speak with a reputable deportation defense attorney immediately following arrest or detainment for removal proceedings—to make sure every option is understood and taken into consideration.
Options for Legal Protection Against Deportation
Undocumented individuals may be facing deportation from their home country. But, an immigration attorney can help protect against deportation by providing assistance with waivers and by presenting legal options. In some cases, an immigration attorney may be able to defend against deportation; or at least stall it until your future in America is secured. Whether you are facing extreme circumstances or simply seeking guidance with an application for citizenship, a qualified attorney can help present your case and mitigate any legal consequences you might face as a result of your undocumented status.
Let’s review a few options for legal protection against deportation:
1. Asylum, Withholding of Removal, and Protection under the Convention Against Torture
Asylum is a protection granted to foreign nationals already in the United States or arriving at the border who meet the international law definition of a “refugee.” This is defined as a person who is “unable or unwilling to return to his or her home country, and cannot obtain protection in that country, due to past persecution or a well-founded fear of being persecuted in the future ‘on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.’” Congress incorporated this definition into U.S. immigration law in 1980.
2. Cancellation of Removal
Cancellation of removal is a form of relief that allows a foreigner to remain in the United States as a lawful permanent resident even though they’ve been deemed removable.
In some cases, you may be able to apply for Cancellation of Removal. This form of relief is available for foreigners who are already permanent residents as well as foreigners who have no legal immigration status. You must also prove that you are not a threat to national security or public safety and that removal would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to yourself or a qualifying relative. If your case is strong enough, the government will grant you cancellation of removal rather than send you back to your country of origin. A cancellation of removal can later be upgraded to a green card.
Cancellation for Non Legal Permanent Residents Requirements
- Physically present in the U.S. for 10 years before being served a notice to appear
- Has been lawful and has good moral character
- Has not been convicted of certain crimes
- Must prove that removal would cause extreme harm to U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident parent, spouse, or child
Cancellation for Legal Permanent Residents Requirements
- Has been a legal permanent resident for at least 5 years
- Has not been convicted of an aggravated felony
- Has lived in the U.S. for at least 7 years
3. 212C Relief
A section 212C relief waiver allows certain green card holders who have been placed in removal proceedings because of a criminal offense conviction to not be deported. The requirements to meet 212C Relief are as follows:
- The crime you plead guilty to was before April 1, 1997
- You have been a lawful permanent resident in the U.S. for at least 5 years
- You are not subject to deportation related to terrorism or national security
- You are not unlawfully in the US due to a previous immigration offense
- You have not been convicted of an offense related to firearms or an aggravated felony offense which you served more than 5 years for
- You are returning to a lawful residence of at least 7 consecutive years
The judge will decide your case based on weighing the positive and negative factors.
4. Cuban Adjustment Act, NACARA, or Other Special Programs
Cuban Adjustment Act
Cuban citizens or nationals who entered the United States lawfully or were paroled into the United States may apply for Adjustment of Status to get their green card under the Cuban Adjustment Act. This route to a green card is a special benefit to Cuban citizens that is not afforded to other nationalities. A Cuban Adjustment Attorneys at Immigration Lawyers USA can help you learn about whether you qualify for this special program, the Cuban Adjustment Act.
Learn more about the Cuban Adjustment Act.
NACARA, or the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act is a federal law that was created by congress in 1997. This law allows certain immigrants from Nicaragua, Cuba, Guatemala, El Salvador, and countries from the Soviet Union to get immigration benefits and relief from deportation.
If you’d like to see if you qualify for NACARA, schedule an immigration strategy session.
Other Special Programs
In addition to the Cuban Adjustment Act and NACARA, There are many special programs in immigration law that only certain applicants would qualify for, and they are nuanced parts of the law. An experienced Deportation Defense lawyer will recognize if you qualify for one of these special programs in immigration law.
5. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) & TPS
If you either have or qualify for DACA or TPS or to have your status reinstated or extended, this is another defense to deportation which could result in having the charges against you suspended or dismissed.
Under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), children who arrived as minors can apply for protected status if they: Are currently under age 31, have lived in the U.S. since 2007, were physically present in America on June 15, 2012, and came to America before turning 16.
Deferred action otherwise can be granted in only exceptional cases for humanitarian reasons.
TPS, or Temporary Protected Status, is any option for qualified individuals who can stay in the U.S. because their home country temporarily prevents the country’s nationals from returning safely, or if the country cannot handle the return adequately.
A person may qualify for TPS if their home country:
- Has an ongoing armed conflict, such as civil war
- Has an environmental disaster, such as a hurricane or epidemic
- Has other extraordinary and temporary conditions
6. U Visa, VAWA, T Visa, or Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
A few other ways to close the deportation case against you is if you qualify for other temporary relief, which ultimately leads to the green card.
The U visa gives the applicant lawful immigration status in the U.S., and the ability to work and to apply for a Social Security number. It is only valid for 4 years, but after 3 years the applicant becomes eligible to apply for Legal Permanent Residency, or a “green card.”
Learn more about U Visas
VAWA applicants must prove that they are (or were within the past two years) the spouse or child of an abusive U.S. citizen or Legal Permanent Resident, and must be able to provide evidence that the relationship was legitimate and that there was abuse and/or battery. Victims can submit a wide range of evidence in order to prove the abuse, including personal declarations, affidavits from medical personnel, school officials, clergy, social workers, mental health professionals or other friends or family members who were aware of the abuse, as well as documentation of other “nonqualifying” incidents or abuses that could be considered part of an overall pattern of abuse.
Learn more about VAWA
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
Another protected status is the special immigrant juvenile status. According to the USCIS:
“If you are in the United States and need the protection of a juvenile court because you have been abused, abandoned or neglected by a parent, you may be eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) classification. If SIJ classification is granted, you may qualify for lawful permanent residency (also known as getting a Green Card).”
Contact us to discuss special immigration juvenile status
7. Adjustment of Status
Adjustment of status is a form of relief that allows a foreigner living in the U.S. to become a lawful permanent resident during the removal proceedings. While at the discretion of the immigration judge, the foreigner generally must:
- Have been admitted into the U.S.
- Meet the eligibility requirements for visa requested
- Have an immigrant visa number available for the judge
Sometimes you will need a waiver to qualify for this relief, and your top ranking Immigration Deportation Defense lawyer can help you understand if you qualify for one of several possible waivers for fraud or a criminal conviction.
8. Prosecutorial Discretion
This is especially a great option if you have a family petition already approved or qualify to return with an immigration waiver."
Voluntary departure allows illegal immigrants who are caught in violation of U.S. immigration laws a way out that doesn't involve going through formal deportation proceedings or waiting for Congress or ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) officials to change policy on their own. With voluntary departure, individuals get up to 120 days—and sometimes more—to voluntarily depart from the United States.
An immigration judge may allow voluntary departure, rather than being removed by order. This will prevent the mandatory bars of re-entry which will result from a removal order.
There are times when you may not qualify for an immigration defense, or your immigration defense is not strong. If that is the case, your experienced Miami Deportation Defense lawyer will be able to advise if you are a good candidate for Prosecutorial Discretion.
To be a strong candidate for prosecutorial discretion, here are some positive factors:
- You’re living in the United States for many years
- You have family ties in the U.S., such as children, spouse, or other family
- You have medical or other humanitarian concerns that show you really need to stay in the U.S.
Some negative factors include:
- You have serious criminal convictions
- You have gang affiliations or have made other threats to public safety
To seek prosecutorial discretion, your lawyer must apply directly with the government agency. Please note that different executive administrations react differently and create different rules and policies pursuant to Prosecutorial Discretion, so this option for Deportation Defense is constantly changing. A strong deportation defense lawyer will let you know what your chances are for filing for this discretionary relief.
Qualifying for Relief
Even if you have already started a defense application in immigration court on your own, it's important to speak with a deportation defense attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can help you figure out which forms of relief may be available to you and what steps you need to take going forward.
Hire a Top Deportation Defense Lawyer in Miami, Florida
Deportation and removal from the United States can be difficult and complex issues, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the legal system in America. Luckily, an experienced deportation defense attorney can help you navigate through the courts and ensure your rights are protected at all times.
The deportation process can be extremely stressful and challenging. Don’t face your situation alone, Immigration Lawyers USA can help! We specialize in the deportation defense process and are top immigration lawyers in Miami, Florida. Give Immigration Lawyers USA a call at 305-501-0783 or contact us here to schedule your consultation today!