If you receive a “Notice to Appear” from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, you’re probably feeling scared, desperate, and helpless. Regardless of whether you believed you were in the U.S. legally or you overstayed a visa and simply hoped for the best, you’re wondering if there are any deportation defenses that can provide relief and let you continue building your new life here.
The answer is yes. Below is a list of possible deportation defenses that may apply to your case.
Six Possible Deportation Defenses
1. Adjustment of Status
Adjustment of status enables you to transition from visa holder to lawful permanent resident. If you came to the US on an approved employment-based petition or you have a family relationship with a US citizen or green card holder, you may be able to adjust your status and prevent deportation if:
- You entered the country legally
- Observed the conditions of your visa
- You qualify for a green card
In some cases, those who are present in the US illegally may be able to adjust their status. An immigration attorney can advise you if you qualify.
You may apply for asylum if you have a well-founded fear of being persecuted at home due to your race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or social group. The application process involves the filing of Form I-589 within one year of your arrival in the US. You may apply for permission to work 150 days after submitting your application unless a decision was made in your case earlier. If you are granted asylum, you may look for a job right away and can apply for permanent residence one year later.
3. Temporary Protected Status
The US government offers Temporary Protection Status (TPS) to citizens or residents of certain countries that are experiencing armed conflict, unstable political conditions, or the aftermath of a natural disaster. As of May 2019, those countries include Haiti, El Salvador, Syria, and Yemen.
If you are from one of these countries and have been continuously present in the US since your homeland was designated, you may apply for TPS status provided that you have not been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors here and you are not inadmissible on any grounds for which no waiver exists.
4. Cancellation of Removal
Cancellation of removal is a limited type of deportation relief for those in removal proceedings. You must appear before an immigration judge at the Executive Office for Immigration Review or, if you are appealing an earlier decision, before a federal circuit judge or Board of Immigration Appeals judge.
Although you can apply for cancellation of removal as a legal or non-legal permanent resident, the process can be more complicated if you are not a green card holder. You will have to prove that a qualifying family member who is a US citizen or legal permanent resident would suffer significant hardship if you left.
5. Obtaining a U-Visa
Created by the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, the U-visa protects victims of crime who help or are willing to help US authorities investigate or prosecute a criminal offense. Such crimes include human trafficking, torture, domestic violence, and prostitution. Once you receive a U-visa, you may live and work in the US, and any immigration proceedings against you may be dismissed.
6. Withholding of Removal/Convention Against Torture
Withholding of removal prevents your removal to a country where it is more likely than not that you will suffer persecution if you return due to your race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or social group. This relief is available unless you have been convicted of an aggravated felony or other serious crime or there are reasons to believe that you are a danger to the security of the US.
The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (also known as CAT) is an international human rights treaty, under the review of the United Nations, that aims to prevent torture and other acts of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment around the world. This is a request coupled with Asylum and Withholding of Removal. The hopes in arguing this relief is that if asylum or withholding is not an option, counsel would be able to argue CAT.
Contact an Atlanta Deportation Defenses Attorney
Deportation proceedings can be swift and harsh, especially in today’s political climate, but an Atlanta immigration attorney can protect your rights and improve your chances of staying in the US. At Atlanta Family & Immigration Law, we have successfully represented many clients before the U.S. Immigration Court and the Board of Immigration Appeals. To schedule a consultation, call (678) 679-6415 or contact us.