Not only will a deportation defense attorney assist you with navigating through the U.S. immigration court system, but if you are in fact deported, then that will become a part of your permanent record in the United States and will affect you in the future if you try to apply for a visa to re-enter the United States.
There are certain defenses that may prevent you from being deported by the U.S. Government. The two options you have are to fight the charge of deportation by claiming and proving that you are not guilty and should not be removed or through a request for relief from removal.
If you are in deportation proceedings and you claim to be not guilty, then you must prove that you are not subject to removal under U.S. immigration law. If you are an undocumented alien, then you are most likely subject to removal. However, if you are in the U.S. under a legal visa or immigration status, then you are most likely not subject to removal, except in certain circumstances, such as fraud or criminal convictions.
In either instance, you have the right to deny the allegations and contest the charges in U.S. immigration court. If the charges against you are not correct, then you and your attorney may file a Motion to Terminate asking the immigration court to terminate the proceedings.
If you decide not to contest the charges because you are, in fact, subject to a removal ground, then there are several requests for relief from removal for which you may be eligible. An experienced deportation defense attorney will be able to review your specific situation to determine which of the reliefs best applies to you, and therefore is the most likely to be granted.
Types of Relief from Removal:
Citizenship: U.S. Citizens cannot be deported. If there is a chance you are a U.S. citizen by birth (through your parents or if you were born on U.S. soil), then it is extremely important that you tell your deportation defense attorney.
Adjustment of Status: If you have a spouse, child, or parent who is a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident, then you may qualify to apply for an adjustment of status to legal permanent residence and obtain a green card. Spouses and children under 21 of U.S. citizens will have first preference in this categories, and other immediate family members may qualify through family preference categories, but this process will take longer to complete.
– If you entered the United States before January 1, 1972, then you may be eligible for a green card and permanent resident status. If this is the case, then you should discuss the additional requirements that must be met with your deportation defense attorney.
– Removal of Conditions: Many people will be placed in removal proceedings if they fail to file a petition to remove conditions on their residence. If this is the case, then the best deportation defense for you may be to file the form I-751, Removal of Conditions on Residence.
Asylum: In order to qualify for Asylum, you must prove that you are a refugee who is unable or unwilling to return to your country of nationality or last habitual residence due to persecution, or a well-founded fear of persecution, based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
– Witholding of Removal and Relief under the Convention Against Torture are similar options, but do not grant the same benefits as asylum
Cancellation of Removal: You may be eligible for cancellation of removal if  you have been a permanent resident (possessed a green card) for at least 5 years  have lived in the U.S. lawfully for at least 7 years and  have not been convicted of an aggravated felony.
– Non-permanent residents may also qualify for cancellation of removal if you can prove that  you have been physically present in the United States for the past ten years and  being removed would cause and “exceptional and unusual hardship” to your spouse, parent or child who is a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident.
– VAWA: The violence against woman act applies to both males and females who  have been “battered or subject to extreme cruelty” by a spouse or parent,  have been physically present in the United States for at least three years, and  be of “good moral character,” in addition to other requirements.
Criminal Waivers: If you have been placed in deportation proceedings because of a criminal conviction, then you may be eligible for post-conviction relief.
Non-criminal waivers: You may be eligible for certain non-criminal waivers depending on your specific situation. These may include inadmissibility waivers, which are usually filed with an application for a visa or to adjust immigration status.
Prosecutorial Discretion: In some circumstances, the prosecuting attorney for the government may exercise his right to close or terminate your removal proceedings. If this happens, then you will most likely be eligible for a work permit, but will not be eligible to travel.
Deferred Action: In some circumstances, your case may be deferred or administratively closed. This means that you will neither be deported nor given an immigration status. Deferred action is granted on a case-by-case basis.
Voluntary Departure: Although you will still need to leave the United States in the case of voluntary departure, it will not show up as a deportation on your permanent immigration record, which could independently bar you from entering the United States in the future.
There are other options that you may qualify for based on your specific situation. Whether you qualify for one of the above mentioned deportation defenses or you believe you may qualify for another deportation defense, it is important to contact a deportation defense attorney as soon as possible in order to stop your deportation proceedings and prevent harm to your future ability to be able to come to and lawfully reside in the United States.