Contrary to popular belief, undocumented immigrants do have rights even when before an immigration judge, though they have fewer than a U.S. citizen would. If you are in removal proceedings or have been given a Notice to Appear, you may be able to successfully defend yourself from deportation on one of any number of grounds.
Contesting Removability and Filing for Relief
As a general rule, it is a good idea to never openly concede removability, especially not on the record at an immigration hearing. If you admit that you are removable from the U.S., then United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) does not have to prove anything, and you will have essentially done their work for them. However, this does not mean that you should lie. Lying can be seen as evidence of bad character, and a judge is very unlikely to grant relief or other requests if you acquire a reputation as a liar.
If you do not concede removability, you are contesting it and you may do so in a number of ways. You can argue that you are not removable for the reasons that USCIS is advancing, or you may simply make the federal government prove its case—more immigration proceedings are brought with less-than-ideal evidence than the average person might think. Even if you are found to be removable, however, you are still permitted to apply for relief.
Types of Immigration Relief
Filing for relief from deportation is still considered a defense, even though the question of removability may already have been decided. There are several different avenues an immigration judge may use to keep someone in the United States, or at least to give him or her another chance to legally adjust his or her status.
The most common types of relief requested in immigration proceedings include the following:
If all else fails, voluntary departure also qualifies as a form of relief, because without it, you are generally worse off. Voluntary departure is granted by a judge when an immigrant is found removable or has admitted removability, and it allows that person to voluntarily leave the country, as opposed to being removed, which results in a bar to reentry that can last anywhere from three years to life.
An Immigration Lawyer Can Answer Your Questions
Deportation proceedings are extremely complex, and the proverbial goalposts seem to constantly be shifting. If you are going through proceedings, or have received a Notice To Appear and need help, consulting a legal professional is always a good idea. The skilled DuPage County immigration attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC will walk you through the process, and offer their best advice about how to reach an outcome that keeps you and your family together. Please call us today at 630-932-9100 to set up a free consultation, or fill out our web form to contact us via Internet.
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