When you are faced with the prospect of deportation, it is very important to speak with an experienced immigration attorney. If you have committed criminal activity, then you may suspect that you will soon receive some kind of deportation action. The same might be true if you had contact with Immigration officials or law enforcement upon or after entry into the United States.
The "Notice to Appear" is the official charging document that requires you to appear in immigration court. After this point, there will be one or several master calendar hearings, at which your attorney will schedule an individual merits hearing and file preliminary applications for relief. These relief applications are numerous and complicated. When answering questions on these forms, it is essential that you fully understand the questions so that you can best represent yourself to an immigration judge. Our attorneys will help you to fill out these forms and provide the courts with supplemental information as necessary.
Should your case reach an individual merits hearing (trial), an attorney will help you organize your life history into a compelling declaration (statement). This declaration will be submitted to the judge along with robust legal arguments that fit the facts of your case into one or several of the well-established forms of relief from deportation. Our attorneys might also work with psychological or country conditions experts to help corroborate your life history. And our attorneys will most certainly do research on country conditions in your country of origin to help corroborate any fear of return you might have.
An immigration judge relies heavily on the credibility of your individual life history in making a determination. Our attorneys will help you organize that story and back it up with evidence. Then, we will fight for you at trial to obtain the best result possible. Although it is impossible to predict the decision of an immigration judge with certainty, multiple studies show that immigrants fare far better in deportation proceedings with the assistance of an attorney.
Our attorneys thoroughly argue every form of relief for which you may be eligible. This allows a judge to consider multiple forms of relief and hedges your bets against deportation. Some of the forms of relief that might be available to you are as follows:
This very strong form of relief includes a finding that the respondent can adjust status to legal permanent resident and eventually is a path to citizenship. This relief requires a finding that the equities, or positive characteristics of your case, outweigh any negative ones (such as criminal activity). A lawyer can help you determine whether you have committed any crimes which elevate the standard and make this relief more difficult to obtain. And a lawyer can help you identify and will present at trial the equities in your case and how your presence in the United States will benefit society. This form of relief requires a waiver in conjunction with an application to adjust status, and our attorneys can explain this waiver to you.
Asylum is a discretionary form of relief, meaning that the judge is not required to grant asylum regardless of the findings he or she makes. The standard for asylum is that the respondent shows a reasonable possibility of persecution. If a respondent can show that he or she was persecuted in the past, then it creates a presumption that he or she will be persecuted in the future. Along with asylum, judges can grant humanitarian asylum. This form of asylum requires extreme past persecution or other serious harm. Such a finding eliminates the requirement that the respondent prove fear of future harm based on a protected category-- race, religion, national origin, particular social group or political opinion. There are many different bars to asylum relief, and you should speak with an attorney to ensure that you do not run afoul of these bars. For example, there is a time bar for filing of an asylum claim, and there are bars for firm resettlement, material support to a military organization, and several other factors.
Withholding of removal prohibits the United States government from deporting you to a country where your physical safety is threatened on account of a protected ground-- race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. This form of relief is a part of the I-589 application for Asylum and Withholding of removal. To prevail on this form of relief, there is a higher standard than asylum-- there must be a clear probability of persecution. Again, there are multiple bars to this form of relief which our attorneys can discuss with you.
The United States government cannot deport you to a country of origin where there is a clear probability that you will be tortured. This standard requires that it be more likely than not that you will be tortured if returned to your country of origin. Torture is specifically defined, and not all persecution is considered torture under immigration law.
This list of forms of relief just gives some idea of the many possibilities available in defending against deportation. The legal standards for these forms of relief can be difficult to meet, especially if criminal history is involved. But it should be noted that criminal history does not foreclose all of these options. One of our immigration attorneys will be happy to provide you with more information regarding these forms of relief or deportation defense generally.