DEFENSES TO DEPORTATION
CANCELLATION OF REMOVAL FOR LEGAL PERMANENT RESIDENT
A lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the United States who is placed in removal proceedings may be eligible for Cancellation of Removal if he/she meets certain requirements: (1) has been lawfully admitted as a permanent residence for at least five years; (2) has resided in the United States continuously for seven years after having been admitted in any status; (3) has not been convicted of an aggravated felony;
CANCELLATION OF REMOVAL FOR NON-LEGAL PERMANENT RESIDENT
A non-lawful permanent resident (non-LPR) can qualify for Cancellation of Removal if he/she meets certain requirements. Some of these include (1) has been physically present in the United States for a continuous period of at least 10 years preceding the date of the application for cancellation of removal; (2) has been a person of good moral character during the ten-year period; (3) has not been convicted of any crime(s) that can render him or her inadmissible or deportable; (4) establishes that removal (deportation) would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to his or her spouse, parent, or child who is a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States.
If you are already in the United States or one of its territories and you are afraid of returning to your home country, you may qualify for Asylum. Asylum is granted to aliens who can prove that they are afraid to return to their home country because they have a "well-founded fear of persecution." This fear is based on past persecution or persecution that may take place in the future. You must fear that you will be persecuted based on one of the following grounds: Political opinion, Religion, Membership in a particular social group, Race, National origin, or Gender.
WITHHOLDING OF REMOVAL
Immigration Judges have the authority to grant Withholding or Removal to aliens who do not qualify for asylum. The burden of proof is on the applicant to show that his life or freedom would be threatened on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion should he or she be forced to return home. The applicant must prove that it is "more likely than not" that he/she would be persecuted on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE (CAT)
The CAT provides relief from removal for individuals who fear they will be tortured if forced to return to their home country. This torture must be inflicted by, at the instigation of, or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. The type of relief is important for individuals who do not qualify for Asylum or Withholding of Removal.
VAWA CANCELLATION OF REMOVAL
This is a separate Cancellation for battered women and children, available to abused spouses or children of citizens or aliens with permanent resident status, as well as to the parents of abused children of a citizen or person with permanent resident status. The abuse must be documented. Relief may be granted where there are three years of continuous physical presence (no stop time rule required) and a showing of extreme hardship to the alien, parent, or child, irrespective of her status.
ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS
Depending on the case, sometimes an Application for Adjustment of Status, or readjusting status is necessary to remove the case from immigration court. This is usually only done where adjusting would remove the grounds for removal (deportation).
Registry creates a record of lawful admission for permanent residence for noncitizens who: (1) entered the United States before 1972; (2) who have resided in the United States continuously since then; (3) who do not have a record of entry; (4) who have good moral character; (5) who are not ineligible for citizenship; (6) who have not violated certain inadmissibility grounds.
Voluntary departure is a limited form of relief that reduces the amount of time for which an alien is barred from returning. It may be offered by the government either at the beginning of removal proceedings or at the conclusion of proceedings. To qualify, the noncitizen must show that: (1) he/she has one year of physical presence before the Notice to Appear was issued; (2) good moral character for five years; (3) no Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude or security threats; (4) that the noncitizen has the financial ability to depart; (5)clear and convincing evidence that the noncitizen intends to depart.
TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a designation made for nationalities of certain countries affected by war or disaster. TPS allows these nationals to temporarily remain and work in the United States. TPS does not cure (fix) past status violations. When TPS ends, a noncitizen may become deportable. Once a nationality has been designated, DHS issues instructions for applications, which are made to USCIS. Requirements generally include that the noncitizen: (1) be a national of the designated country or not have a nationality but last habitually resided in the designated country; (2) have been continuously physically present in the United States since the designation; (3) have resided continuously in the United States; (4) be admissible as an immigrant (though some inadmissibility grounds may not apply); (5) not have been convicted of an aggravated felony or certain crimes; (6) register for TPS within the designated timeframe.