Defenses are available to stop removal actions

If you are facing removal, you need to act swiftly and decisively to protect your right to stay in America.

If you have received a notice that removal proceedings (previously known as "deportation") are underway against you, you may be panicking. You may assume that a removal action means that you will be sent back to your country of origin, and that there is nothing you can do to stop it. Thankfully, this isn't necessarily the case. There are several defenses and legal grounds available that could halt removal proceedings and allow you to legally extend your stay in America.

Why proceedings may have begun

The U.S. government takes great pains to keep track of immigrants, including those who enter on work, tourist or student visas. Should immigrants overstay a visa or get in trouble with the law while visiting our country, they may be eligible for removal.

Removal actions arise from a number of different scenarios, including:

  • Overstaying the period specified in a visa
  • Entering (or re-entering) the country illegally
  • Being arrested for a crime (regardless of seriousness, subject matter or whether it's a misdemeanor or a felony)
  • Committing marriage fraud (marrying a U.S. citizen solely to gain entrée into our country)
  • Having an asylum petition denied
  • Violating the limited terms of entrance into America
  • Joining a prohibited organization like a street gang or a group affiliated with terrorism

Numerous possible defenses

As mentioned, there are several possible defenses available that could put a stop to a removal action and prevent you from being "deported." These include humanitarian bases as well as legal ones. For example, if you can prove that you could face persecution or your life or freedom could be in jeopardy should you be sent back to your country of origin, then you may be eligible for either Asylum or Withholding of Removal. These two are alike in many ways, with the key difference between them being the amount of time you have been in America. Asylum is only an option if you have been in the U.S. for less than a year.

Another humanitarian-oriented removal defense is available under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This is designed for those who have been abused by a spouse or parent that is a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. Without the protections offered by such a provision, victims of violence could face the difficult decision of staying with their abuser or being removed from the country.

Other possible defenses include:

  • Cancellation of removal - this defense is available to certain people who have been in the U.S. at least 10 years as an undocumented immigrant or at least seven years as a legal resident with a "green card"
  • Special Immigrant Juvenile Status - an option for some minor children who have been abused, abandoned or neglected by their parents; if successful, this could stop removal proceedings and allow the children to get a "green card"
  • Deferred Action (DACA) - a case-by-case agreement to put your removal case on hold; this is often used by students attempting to finish an undergraduate or graduate degree or complete a training program

As you can see, there are many possible options available that could stop removal proceedings against you. It is important, however, that you understand which options could be right for you, and that you are fully able to articulate to the Immigration Court Judge why you should be eligible for relief from a removal action. To statistically increase your chances of a successful outcome, you'll want an experienced immigration attorney - like those at the Nashville offices of Ozment Law - at your side throughout the removal process. Call the firm today at 615-321-8888 or send them an email.

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