How to Become Legal: Deportation and Relief

The number of U.S. deportations has hit its record number this year.  Here is more information on the classes of deportable immigrants, the removal process, and steps that one can take to seek relief from deportation, according to FindLaw:

Classes of Deportable Immigrants

Any immigrant that is in the United States may be subject to deportation or removal if he or she:

  • Is an inadmissible alien according to immigration laws in effect at the time of entry to the U.S. or adjustment of nonimmigrant status
  • Is present in the U.S. in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act or any other U.S. law
  • Violated nonimmigrant status or a condition of entry into the U.S.
  • Terminated a conditional permanent residence.
  • Encouraged or aided any other alien to enter the U.S. illegally.
  • Engaged in marriage fraud to gain admission to the U.S.
  • Was convicted of certain criminal offenses.
  • Failed to register or falsified documents relating to entry in to the U.S.
  • Engaged in any activity that endangers public safety or creates a risk of national security.
  • Engaged in unlawful voting.

Deportation or Removal Process

  • A Notice to Appear (NTA) is issued by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, served to the alien, and filed with the immigration court. In addition to containing general information about the immigrant (name, country of origin, etc.), the NTA also states the reasons for the deportation or removal.
  • A hearing is scheduled, at which the immigration judge asks if the alien is ready to proceed with the case, or if he or she needs time to secure an attorney.
  • If the judge determines that the information in the NTA is correct and that the alien can be deported, the alien is given the opportunity to apply for any form of relief from deportation. If the alien is eligible for a form of relief and decides to apply for it, an individual hearing date is scheduled. If the alien is not eligible, deportation will be ordered.
  • If the alien has been ordered deported, the alien has 30 days from the date of the decision to appeal the decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). If the BIA decides against the alien, the alien has the option of appealing to the appropriate U.S. Court of Appeals. The immigration service has the opportunity to appeal an unfavorable individual hearing decision, but may not appeal an unfavorable decision by the BIA.

Discretionary Relief:

Voluntary Departure — Voluntary departure is the most common form of relief from removal and may be granted by Immigration Judges. Voluntary departure avoids the stigma of formal removal by allowing an otherwise removable alien to depart the United States at his or her own personal expense and return to his or her home country, or another country if the individual can secure an entry there.  Immigrants granted voluntary departure prior to the completion of removal proceedings must depart within 120 days, and those granted such relief at the conclusion of removal proceedings must depart within 60 days.

Cancellation of Removal — This form of discretionary relief is available to qualifying lawful permanent residents and qualifying non-permanent residents. For lawful permanent residents, cancellation of removal may be granted if the individual:

  • Has been a lawful permanent resident for at least 5 years;
  • Has continuously resided in the United States for at least 7 years after having been lawfully admitted; and
  • Has not been convicted of an aggravated felony

Cancellation of removal for non-permanent residents may be granted if the alien:

  • Has been continuously present for at least 10 years;
  • Has been a person of good moral character during that time;
  • Has not been convicted of an offense that would make him or her removable; and
  • Demonstrates that removal would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to his or her immediate family members (limited to the alien’s spouse, parent, or child) who are either U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.

Asylum — Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Attorney General may, in his discretion, grant asylum to an alien who qualifies as a “refugee.” Generally, this requires that the asylum applicant demonstrate an inability to return to his or her home country because of past persecution or a well-founded fear of future persecution based upon his or her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. However, an alien may be ineligible for asylum under certain circumstances, including having failed to file an asylum application within an alien’s first year of arrival in the United States, being convicted of an aggravated felony, or having been found to be a danger to national security.

Adjustment of Status — This form of discretionary relief is available to change an alien’s status from a non-immigrant to a lawful permanent resident. Several conditions must be met, including that the alien is admissible for permanent residence and an immigrant visa is immediately available at the time of application.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: