5 Possible Defenses to Deportation

By Ruth Jean

When you were born abroad but feel like the United States is your home, few things are more frightening than a Notice to Appear, which is the documents that initiates removal proceedings in immigration court. Does this mean you have to leave? What can you do?

The answer to the first question is: not necessarily! As for the second question, the good news is that there are many accepted defenses to deportation, five of which are explained in this blog. An experienced Florida immigration attorney can help you prepare a strategy that allows you to continue your new life here.

1. Adjustment of status
Adjustment of status is the process of becoming a green card holder in the United States. If you are married to a U.S. citizen and were unable to adjust your status to permanent resident in front of USCIS, you may be able to renew your application before an immigration court once an authorized agency places you under deportation/removal proceedings.

2. Applying for asylum
Applying for asylum is another defense to deportation proceedings.  You may apply for asylum if you have a well-founded fear of persecution due to your race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or social group and that fear prevents you from returning to your native country. If you are granted asylum, you can apply for a green card one year later.

3. Protection under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
If you have been battered and/or subjected to extremely cruel treatment by a spouse, parent, or child who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you may apply for protection under VAWA. Although the name suggests that VAWA is applicable to women, men are also eligible to apply.  You will generally have to meet other requirements too, such as good moral character and a continuous physical presence of at least three yearsIf your application is approved, you may live and work in the U.S. and eventually apply for a green card and U.S. citizenship.

4. Withholding of removal 
Withholding of removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act may be an option for relief from deportation/removal if you can prove that in your home country, it is “more likely than not” that you would be persecuted due to your race, religion, nationality, membership in a social group, or political opinion.

In this respect, withholding of removal is similar to asylum, but there are key differences. They are:

  • The U.S. government could still send you to another country where no persecution risk exists
  • You do not become eligible for permanent residence or citizenship (although you may obtain work authorization),
  • Your family members will not qualify for relief

5. Voluntary departure
Voluntary departure is a form of relief from deportation/removal.  With voluntary departure, you agree to leave the country without having to be removed or deported. If no other defense applies to your case, voluntary departure allows you to keep a deportation off your record and possibly return to the U.S. in the future.

Let Jean Law Group Help
The prospect of being deported can leave you feeling frightened and powerless. At Jean Law Group, Attorney Ruth Jean will treat your case with kindness and professionalism and provide you with the right guidance for your immigration situation. For more information or to schedule a confidential consultation, please contact us.