If you have recently been placed in Removal Proceedings and served a Notice to Appear in Immigration Court, you are probably wondering what can be done to avoid being ordered removed from the country. There are numerous defenses to deportation available, but first you have to determine which defense gives you the best chance of winning your case.
There are a few defenses that result in permanent resident status if you are granted relief from removal. However, you have to meet specific qualifications to be eligible. The most common defenses that result in permanent residency are adjustment of status and cancellation of removal. In order to adjust status through the immigration court, one must have an approved immigrant visa petition such as a family-based or employment-based petition. Some individuals may need to apply for a waiver such as a 212(h) waiver, 212(c) waiver, or I-601 waiver to adjust their status. If you initially came here on a valid visa and overstayed, have no significant criminal convictions, and have a U.S. citizen immediate relative or spouse, then this option will likely be your best choice.
Cancellation of Removal is available to both unlawful residents and permanent residents. For non-permanent residents you must establish: (1) you have been physically present in the U.S. for at least 10 years before the Notice to Appear was issued; (2) you have not been convicted of a prohibited criminal offense; and (3) that a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident child, spouse, or parent will suffer extreme and exceptionally unusual hardship if you are not allowed to remain in the U.S. For lawful permanent residents, you must establish: (1) that you have been a permanent resident for at least five years; (2) you have at least seven years of continuous residence in the U.S. after having been lawfully admitted; and (3) you have not been convicted of an aggravated felony.
The requirements for applying and obtaining relief from removal are extremely complicated and detailed evidence must be presented. You should consult with an experienced immigration attorney to represent your interests before the Immigration Court, and fight for all areas of relief you have available.