An immigrant who is facing Deportation (also referred to more formally as “Removal”) may have one or more ways to avoid being deported. It is important for those individuals facing deportation to understand their legal options, and to have an attorney who can help them navigate this complex area of the law. A few of the ways that a non-citizen can potentially avoid deportation are the following forms of discretionary relief:
Cancellation of Removal – This essentially stops the removal process for certain qualified permanent or non-permanent residents. Permanent residents must (1) have been a lawful permanent resident for at least 5 years; continuously lived in the United States for at least 7 years after lawfully entering the country; (3) and not have committed certain criminal offenses. Non-permanent residents must have (1) been continuously present for at least 10 years; shown “good moral character” while in the USA; (3) not have been convicted of a crime for which a penalty is removal; Show that removal would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to immediate family members who are US citizens or permanent residents.
Adjustment of Status – The Department of Homeland Security has the authority to change a person’s immigration status to that of lawful permanent resident. In order to be eligible for an adjustment of status, the non-citizen in question must be otherwise admissible for permanent residency, and an immigration visa must be available for the individual, along with certain other requirements. Those convicted of certain crimes, or those who failed to leave the USA in the past when ordered to do so, may be ineligible for an adjustment of status.
Asylum – A person who has fled their home country due to persecution or a well founded fear of persecution based upon race, nationality, religion, or politics may be eligible for asylum. The US Attorney General has the power to grant or deny an asylum application, and such an application should generally be completed within one year of a person’s entry to the United States.
Stay of Removal – A stay of removal prevents an immigrant from being deported by the Department of Homeland security, usually while some other legal proceeding is pending. The stay of removal can be used to buy time necessary to get relief from deportation.
Voluntary Departure – Under many conditions, a person who is facing deportation may choose to instead voluntarily leave the country. The benefit of doing so is that a person who leaves without being forcibly deported avoids the negative connotations that go along with being deported, as well as certain bars to reentering the USA at a later date. Additionally, a voluntary departure often allows the individual up to 120 additional days in the USA before they are required to leave.