Stopping a Deportation: What You Should Know
The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) cannot remove a U.S. citizen from the country. You may be considered a U.S. citizen if you were born in the U.S., you were born in another country but one of your parents was a U.S. citizen and lived in the U.S. prior to your birth, you were born in another country but one or both of your parents were naturalized citizens when you were under 18 and living in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident, or you were found in the U.S. under age five and your parents are unknown. In addition, if your parent or grandparent was a U.S. citizen, you may be one too. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you may be subject to removal – otherwise known as deportation.
Individuals are at a greater risk of removal if they arrived in the country without legal travel authorization or with forged documents. When faced with the possibility of deportation or an order for removal, consulting with a qualified immigration lawyer is crucial.
Reasons For Deportation
There are many reasons why the U.S. government can deport someone who is lawfully present in the United States. These reasons include scenarios in which the person:
- was inadmissible when entering the country or when adjusting their immigration status
- violated the terms of a visa, green card, or other such status or item
- had a conditional permanent resident status which was terminated
- helped smuggle an alien into the country
- committed marriage fraud
- got married and divorced or had their marriage annulled within a designated time period
- was convicted of one or more crimes of moral turpitude
- was convicted of domestic violence, stalking, child abuse, neglect, or abandonment after being admitted to the U.S.
There are other reasons the U.S. government can choose to deport someone, so it is important to speak with an immigration attorney as soon as possible if you are facing a removal action.
Cancellation of Removal
Getting a cancellation of removal is an option for both lawful permanent residents (green card holders) and non-permanent immigrants. Cancellation of removal is a defense to deportation if you have a criminal conviction that is not an aggravated felony, but you must meet the following criteria:
- You have been a lawful permanent resident of the United States for at least five years;
- You have resided in the U.S. continuously for seven years after having been admitted to the country in any status; and
- You have not been convicted of an aggravated felony.
In addition, other common forms of relief include adjustment of status, waivers of inadmissibility and removability, asylum, withholding of removal, CAT protections, T-Visa or U-Visa, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), DACA, and more. Eligibility for waivers of removal depends upon the person’s ability to establish “extreme hardship” to their close family members (who are legal permanent residents or U.S. citizens) if they were to be removed from the country. Procedurally, the government may also have made errors. You can stop the deportation process if you were not properly served with a Notice to Appear, for example. In addition, as with criminal charges, government prosecutors of immigration cases have the discretion to dismiss deportation cases; this is more likely to happen if your removal proceedings are not related to a criminal conviction.
If you file an application for suspension of deportation and an immigration judge denies your case, you have 30 days to appeal the decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). If the BIA denies your appeal, you may be able to challenge that decision in a United States Federal Court of Appeals.
Texas Immigration Attorneys
The immigration attorneys of Lovell, Lovell, Isern & Farabough, LLP can help you if you or a family member has been threatened with deportation. Our team includes several native Spanish speakers, and we are happy to visit with you in Spanish or English about your current situation or that of a family member. Someone who is in the country illegally can be at risk for deportation at any time, but there are ways we can help keep them in the country. We can start an application for legal permanent residency and/or fight the removal proceedings. Often people are targeted for deportation because they are accused of a crime; and, our lawyers also handle criminal justice issues. Our attorneys are familiar with the steps of the deportation process and know ways to fight to avoid removal. While an immigration judge ultimately decides each case, if a client does not succeed in their initial proceedings, our lawyers will fight for them during the appeals process as well. Contact us today for more information on how we can help.