If you have no immigration status inside of the United States, you’re referred to as an undocumented immigrant. There are a number of legal defenses for undocumented aliens or immigrants facing removal.

If you are facing deportation or removal, contact Tucker, Nong and Associates by phone or using our online form immediately. Our experienced immigration lawyers know how to defend you against removal or deportation. Don’t pursue your case alone, having a qualified removal & deportation defense lawyer will help you get the best result for your case.

“Not Removable As Charged”

A common legal defense against deportation involves arguing that you’re not removable as charged. If this defense is used, an immigration lawyer can state that the government was wrong to place you in proceedings for deportation.

During your first meeting inside of immigration court, it’s likely that a judge will tell you to deny or admit to the allegations against you. The judge will give you the option to contest or concede the removability charges you’re facing. Your immigration lawyer can give you valuable insight on how your should proceed.

In these cases, your immigration lawyer may advise you to contest because DHS bears the “burden of proof”. This means, it must prove that you should be deported.

It is not uncommon for DHS to try to deport individuals for the wrong reasons. There is also the chance that DHS cannot provide the documentation needed to show you’re removable. Put simply, a competent immigration lawyer can petition the judge to dismiss the case if DHS cannot satisfy its burden of proof.

You should always be honest with the court. However, there is some information you may not be required to share. An experienced immigration lawyer can advise you what information you must share and how to get the best result for your case.

Requesting Relief

There is also the option of requesting relief from removal. Everyone is eligible for certain types of relief from removal or deportation. The immigration judge is usually responsible for telling you what relief options you have.

Every case is different and understanding relief can be very difficult. The best way for a person to find out about relief options is to work with with an immigration attorney. An attorney can discuss all relief options available. For individuals who don’t have legal representation, it’s important to directly ask the immigration judge about available relief options.

By asking about these options, it helps make sure the judge thoroughly reviews your case. To make sure you’re being told about all relief options open to you, it’s important to reveal information about all aspects of your life.

Your attorney should know about any relatives who live in the United States and how long these individuals have been living in the country. Your immigration attorney may advise that you share as much information as possible in order to learn what relief options are available.

Common Relief Options for Undocumented Immigrants

There are several different relief options available to undocumented aliens. A common relief option is called adjustment of status through the Immigration and Nationality Act. Below you will find a brief summary for common relief options. Remember, these options can be very complicated and it is strongly advised you consult with an immigration lawyer to understand your best option.

Sections of 245 or 245(i)

This relief option involves changing your status from a nonimmigrant to immigrant, which allows you to gain legal status. To qualify for adjustment, you must have entered into the United States legally, but there are some exceptions available.

Status Adjustment under I.N.A Section 249

This relief option lets you get a green card, but you must’ve entered the United States before January 1st, 1972 and meet certain eligibility requirements. You must also have good moral character, admissibility and must’ve lived in a residence since you entered the country.

Gain Asylum

Many immigrants flee their home country because they fear current or future persecution. Asylum could be a relief option for these individuals, and it lets an immigrant gain legal status in the United States. It also allows the individuals to obtain a work permit and green card.

Convention against Torture

Another potential relief option is called CAT. This option could be available to individuals who’re likely to be tortured in their home country.

To be eligible for this option, it must be more than likely that an individual will be tortured in his or her home country. CAT recipients can work and live in the United States but might be excluded from gaining permanent residency.

Withholding Of Removal

This relief option is very similar to asylum, but withholding can be significantly more difficult to get because you must prove it’s very likely that you’ll be persecuted upon returning to your home country. When compared with asylum, withholding provides fewer benefits because it causes most people to become ineligible for permanent residence.

Cancellation of Removal

Here is a relief option for people who aren’t lawful, permanent residents. It lets an individual get a green card if he or she can prove a 10-year history of residency. Put simply, an individual must prove he or she has had a physical presence inside of the United States for 10 years.

This relief option might also involve proving that your removal from the country would cause unusual hardship for a child, parent or spouse who is a permanent resident of the United States.

Cancellation of Removal through VAWA

Many individuals qualify for cancellation of removal under the Violence against Women Act. When applying for this form of relief, an applicant must show that they’ve been subjected to extreme cruelty by a qualified relative.

They must also meet other requirements, which include a minimum three-year physical presence in the United States. Another requirement is good moral character.

Voluntary Departure

If everything else fails, it’s possible for an individual to leave the United States without damaging his or her immigration record.

When an immigrant has a past order of removal on their immigration record, it can be even harder to return to the United States. A voluntary departure is a way to voluntarily leave the United States while avoiding a tainted immigration record.

Special Rule Cancellation: NACARA

To be eligible for NACARA, an individual must meet strict requirements. For example, the individual must be from a specific country and prove that they’ve already applied for asylum. It’s also possible that the individual must show that he or she can reopen prior removal proceedings using the LIFE Act.

Deferred Action

A number of immigrants are eligible for deferred action. It consists of an agreement with the government, and the agreement says the government will put the deportation proceedings on hold.

In this scenario, the government doesn’t give an individual legal status, but it also doesn’t deport the individual. Deferred action is a relief option that is applied using a case-by-case basis, excluding formalized procedures that involve young immigrants.

Private Bills

The United States Congress has passed many private bills. Many of these bills help immigrants avoid deportation. However, it’s very rare for immigrants to avoid deportation with private bills.

The facts surrounding a case must be very sympathetic for this relief option to work. Private bills are usually not used unless all other options are unavailable.

Prosecutorial Discretion

When prosecutorial discretion is used, a government agency stops trying to deport an immigrant. If you happen to avoid deportation with this relief option, it’s likely that you’ll also become eligible for work authorization.

However, you probably won’t be eligible for other benefits. Most immigrants who avoid deportation through this relief option do not have a criminal record.

How we can help you

If you are facing deportation or removal charges, relief may be your best option. Remember, understanding relief can be very complicated and you should always hire an immigration lawyer to receive the best possible result for your case.

Are You At Risk Of Being Deported In Virgina, Maryland or Washington D.C.?

If you are at risk of being deported you need to speak with an experienced immigration attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Vienna, Virgnia office directly at 703.991.7978 or our Rockville, Maryland office at 301.637.5392 to schedule your case consultation.

Yuvora Nong
Helping VA, MD & Washington D.C. clients with all of their immigration law legal needs since 1997.