Deportation is the worst possible outcome for anyone who immigrates to the United States. It’s a risk for those who enter the country legally and illegally, and it is difficult to stop deportation proceedings once they’ve started. If you’re at risk of being deported, learn more about what leads to this action and which relief options are available for you.
Removal proceedings typically start when an immigrant is arrested or becomes the target of a criminal investigation. You’ll receive a “Notice to Appear” from ICE, which gives you the chance to find an immigration lawyer and start building your case before you go before an immigration judge.
Causes for Deportation
Regardless of whether you’ve entered the country legally or illegally, you could still find yourself in front of an immigration judge arguing why you should be allowed to remain in the country. The Notice to Appear will describe why the government plans on deporting you, so your attorney can begin immediately working on a thorough defense strategy. There are several reasons that ICE might decide to deport an individual:
- Working without authorization or violating other terms of your visa
- Overstaying your visa
- Engaging in marriage fraud
- Being arrested, charged with, or convicted of a crime
- Violating a protective or restraining order
- Illegally entering the United States
- Falsifying immigration documentation
- Giving false information to an immigration official
Defenses Against Deportation
If preventing deportation is your top priority, working with an experienced immigration attorney is essential. Immigration judges have heard every excuse possible, and no matter how strong you believe your case is, you’re unlikely to beat the U.S. legal system on your own. At Sandoval & James, our attorneys use their extensive immigration court experience to find the right defense for you. Possible options include:
- Applying for lawful permanent residency via a family member or employer
- Applying for lawful permanent residency as the victim of a crime or domestic violence
- Remaining in the country under the Convention Against Torture act
- Claiming asylum
- Proving that you are actually a citizen and cannot be removed
Cancellation of Removal
For many individuals facing deportation, cancellation of removal is the most viable option. To qualify, you must meet very strict requirements. Cancellation of removal helps some permanent and non-permanent residents avoid deportation proceedings. For a cancellation of removal to be granted, a non-permanent resident must be able to prove three things:
- That they have been in the United States for at least 10 years prior to deportation proceedings
- That they are of strong moral character and have not been convicted of certain crimes
- That their removal would create exceptional hardship to a spouse, parent, or child who is either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
If a permanent resident is convicted of a crime and is scheduled to be removed from the country, they may also pursue cancellation of removal as a legal remedy. To qualify, they must have been in the U.S. for the previous seven years. Additionally, they must not have been convicted of a crime within their first five years as a resident.
It’s important to note that cancellation of removal is only available to non-permanent residents once. If your request for cancellation is denied or you ever lose your residency, you cannot seek a cancellation of removal again.
Whether or not your cancellation of removal request is granted depends largely on how strong your defense is and which judge is assigned your case. Your attorney must prove that you undoubtedly meet all relevant criteria, so be prepared to supply substantial paperwork and documentation. You may be required to supply proof that you have not left the United States in the previous seven or ten years, proof of any property you own, bank records and statements, and evidence that your removal would be an exceptional hardship for your family.
If you are facing deportation proceedings, you need legal representation now. Contact the team at Sandoval & James at 512-647-2314 to discuss your legal options.