Deportation, otherwise known as removal, is the process by which an immigrant is formally removed from the United States because of breaking immigration laws or committing crimes. An immigrant who does not have lawful permanent resident (i.e. green card) status can face deportation even for very minor offenses. In some cases where crimes are committed, even green card holders may face deportation.

Deportation from the United States is a complex process. A division of the Department of Justice, the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) is also involved in addition to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The EOIR oversees the immigration court proceedings and hearings.

When an immigrant is to be removed from the United States, they have some legal options, if they are eligible. They might be able to avoid having to be deported if they qualify for a discretionary relief or an administrative or judicial relief.

A discretionary relief is attainable during the time that deportation proceedings, referred to as removal proceedings, are going on. A discretionary relief requires an immigrant to demonstrate why he or she should not be deported. There are four types of discretionary relief that an immigrant may be eligible for: cancellation of removal, asylum, adjustment of status, and voluntary departure. If the immigrant qualifies for a cancellation of removal, he or she can apply before an immigration judge to avoid being deported. If the immigrant is a refugee and qualifies for asylum by showing that he or she cannot go back to where they came from for a particular reason, he or she can avoid being deported. If the immigrant qualifies for adjustment of status, he or she can apply to go through the process, if not already initiated, to change their status to lawful permanent resident and obtain a green card. If the immigrant qualifies for voluntary departure, he or she can be allowed to leave the United States without being formally removed and could seek to legally enter the United States in the future.

An administrative or judicial relief is an application to overturn or challenge a decision by an immigration judge and is possible to attain after the deportation proceedings, referred to as removal proceedings, have ended. An administrative or judicial relief can only be applied for within 30 days of the immigration judge’s removal decision.

To qualify for a type of relief an immigrant must convince the immigration judge that they do not merit deportation. They must prove that they have not committed any crimes, have maintained good moral character for at least ten years, and have stayed in the United States for at least ten years. Some immigrants do not qualify for a type of relief. They might have either been suspected or convicted of espionage or terrorism, broken criminal laws, or broken immigration laws among other forms of wrongdoing. Some of these crimes will not allow the immigrant to return to the United States in the future.

Deportation is a complex legal matter. Green card holders and visa holders do not have the same legal options as a citizen of the United States.  If you have been notified of deportation or might be subject to deportation in the future, you should consult an immigration attorney. At Raheen Law Group, we can help you understand your legal options and represent you throughout the complicated deportation process.

Please contact Raheen Law Group for a FREE telephone consultation. We speak English, Farsi (Dari), Urdu, Hindi, and Punjabi.

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