By Sherrod Seward, Partner, Queen City Immigration Law, 704-802-9529
If you are flagged for a removal proceeding, all may not be lost. Queen City Immigration Law provides advocacy for clients facing deportation and will argue a defense on your behalf using a variety of effective theories. It is best to engage the firm as early as possible to maintain as much time as possible to weigh all the options and prepare the defense. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you are subjected to removal proceedings. In the event that removal proceedings have begun, available defenses and options may include the following:
1. APPLICATIONS FOR PERMANENT RESIDENCY / ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS:
Ideally, Green Card applications should be filed before a removal proceeding begins, but they can serve as an effective defense to deportation in the right circumstances. An Adjustment of Status application can be filed in tandem with an approved family or employment-based petition.
2. RENEWAL OF FORM I-751 REMOVAL OF CONDITIONAL RESIDENCE:
A person who is a conditional permanent resident can be subjected to a removal proceeding if they do not file an I-751 petition in time. The I-751 petition can be renewed as a defense to removal.
3. CRIMINAL WAIVERS:
Criminal waivers are typically available to permanent residents that are facing deportation due to crimes committed in the past. In certain circumstances, a person who is not yet a permanent resident can petition for a criminal waiver in an attempt to obtain status as a permanent resident.
4. NONCRIMINAL WAIVERS:
Certain activities, such as lying to get an immigration benefit, can frustrate a legitimate petition for status. In these cases, a noncriminal waiver may need to be filed in conjunction with your petition for status in order to obtain approval. This is helpful in obtaining favorable decisions on U visas and permanent residency based on family and employment visas.
5. ASYLUM, WITHHOLDING OF REMOVAL AND RELIEF UNDER THE CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE:
Asylum or relief under the Convention Against Torture may be a formidable deportation defense for immigrants that can prove that they have suffered harm, or will suffer harm if returned to their own country. There is a specific level of harm that must be proven and the harm must apply to certain social classifications such as race, religion, or being a member of a certain political group. There are other similar removal defenses available such as Temporary Protected Status, the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA), the Violence Against Women Act, and others.
6. PROSECUTORIAL DISCRETION:
It is possible to request the government to simply close or terminate a removal proceeding. The government attorneys do have the discretion to close a case and can do so on a limited basis. One reason a government attorney may terminate a removal proceeding is because the attorney has a long case load and finds that the case of the client is not a top priority due to the client's lack of a criminal history and close family ties in the States already.
7. U VISAS:
There are incentives available for immigrants that are helpful to criminal investigations. The U visas are available for certain victims of crimes who are helpful in the investigation process. Approval of a U visa can terminate removal proceedings or at least delay removal proceedings.
8. DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS (DACA):
DACA may be available for individuals who were brought to the U.S. as children, attended school in the U.S., and have not been outside of the U.S. for too long. An approval of a DACA petition can terminate removal proceedings or at least delay removal proceedings.
9. NON-LEGAL PERMANENT RESIDENT CANCELLATION OF REMOVAL:
If an applicant can establish that they have physically been present in the U.S. for at least ten years before the removal process began, has a good moral record, and a U.S. citizen or Permanent Legal Resident will suffer extreme hardship if the applicant would be deported, the applicant can have deportation canceled and obtain permanent resident status.
10. VOLUNTARY DEPARTURE:
There are situations where there is no relief to removal proceedings and deportation is inevitable. Sometimes it is best to voluntarily depart the United States, especially if the applicant will be eligible for a visa in the future.