Deportation is often one of an immigrant’s greatest fears. When it comes to deportations, however, you have legal rights under immigration law that cannot be violated. A deportation lawyer can fight to keep you in this country.
Federal law allows for the removal of non-citizens if they violate immigration or criminal laws. Your case will go before an immigration judge in a removal proceeding. The immigration judge has the power to order deportation.
Why Your Deportation Case Needs an Attorney
There is too much at stake to go before an immigration judge without an experienced deportation attorney. From the minute that you receive a Notice to Appear, you need someone to vigorously represent you.
The Notice to Appear sets forth the government’s case in favor of removal. It secures your attendance at an in-person hearing in front of a judge, who will have the ability to question you about what is in the Notice to Appear. That judge can decide that the facts are supported and if they merit your removal from this country. The master calendar hearing before the immigration judge is where your attorney may argue that there is no legal basis for removal. Alternatively, your attorney might be able to present a defense against removal to the immigration judge.
You Have a Right to Fight Removal
Even if you are found removable from the United States, your attorney might be able to present a defense against removal to the immigration judge. This is a complicated analysis and depends on the specifics of your case. Some examples of the relief available in immigration court include:
- Cancellation of Removal for Certain Permanent Residents of the United States —This form of discretionary relief is available to qualifying lawful permanent residents and may be granted if the individual:
- Has been a lawful permanent resident for at least 5 years;
- Has continuously resided in the United States for at least 7 years after having been lawfully admitted; and
- Has not been convicted of an “aggravated felony,” a term that is more broadly defined within immigration law than the application of the term “felony” in non-immigration settings.
- Cancellation of Removal for non-permanent residents — This form of discretionary relief may be granted if the individual:
- Has been continuously present for at least 10 years;
- Has been a person of good moral character during that time;
- Has not been convicted of an offense that would make him or her removable; and
- Demonstrates that removal would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to his or her immediate family members (limited to the alien’s spouse, parent, or child) who are either U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.
- Adjustment of Status – This form of discretionary relief is available to change an individual’s status from a non-immigrant to a lawful permanent resident. Several conditions must be met, including that the individual is admissible for permanent residence and an immigrant visa is immediately available at the time of application. Individuals who qualify for visas allowing an adjustment of status are often petitioned for by a spouse (or another family member) or an employer. Certain individuals, including criminals and individuals who fail to appear for proceedings or fail to depart after a grant of voluntary departure, and those who were ordered removed may be ineligible for adjustment of status.
- Asylum — Under section 208(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Attorney General may, in his discretion, grant asylum to an individual who qualifies as a “refugee.” Generally, this requires that the asylum applicant demonstrate an inability to return to his or her home country because of past persecution or a well-founded fear of future persecution based upon his or her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. An individual, however, may be ineligible for asylum under certain circumstances, including having failed to file an asylum application within their first year of arrival in the United States, being convicted of an aggravated felony, or having been found to be a danger to national security. Similar forms of relief are Withholding of Removal and applications under the United Nations Convention Against Torture.
- Voluntary Departure — Voluntary departure avoids the stigma of formal removal by allowing an otherwise removable individual to depart the United States at his or her own personal expense and return to his or her home country, or another country if the individual can secure an entry there. It is important to note that an individual granted voluntary departure must depart within the time specified by the Immigration Judge.
- Filing an Appeal – The immigration judge does not have the final say over your matter. You have the right to appeal your removal to a higher court, the Board of Immigration Appeals.
Your attorney would explore whether any of the forms of relief described above apply to your case or whether there is some other protection that can keep you in this country.
You must exercise one of your most important rights, and that is your right to have an attorney represent you. Removal proceedings are complicated, and your attorney has experience in front of an immigration judge to explain what is happening and make arguments that can help you. In addition to hiring an experienced deportation attorney, you must also personally appear in court because you could be removed for failing to appear.
Contact a Chicago Deportation Attorney
The attorneys at the Law Office of Robert D. Ahlgren and Associates, P.C., represent people facing deportation and have obtained successful results for clients. Call us today at (312) 782-1804 or contact us online to schedule your initial consultation if you are facing possible deportation.