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When to Contact a Deportation Defense Lawyer

when to contact a deportation defense lawyer

Understanding when to contact a deportation defense lawyer can help immigrants improve their chances of remaining in the United States. When immigrants face deportation and removal because of certain grounds for removal, they should contact a deportation defense lawyer to discuss their options. They may be able to fight the deportation process and avoid removal with the right defense, depending on the situation. An experienced deportation defense attorney will be able to determine whether it’s possible to establish a defense and figure out the best approach to take.

What Are the Grounds for Deportation and Removal?

There are several types of grounds for deportation and removal in the United States. Some of these legal reasons may include:

Failing to Maintain Status and Meet the Visa’s Conditions

Immigrants must meet the conditions of their visas to avoid deportation issues. Different visas will have different requirements, depending on the immigrant’s reason for being in the country. For instance, individuals who enter the country as students or tourists on a corresponding visa won’t be able to gain employment in the U.S.

Immigrants generally need to maintain their status, or they face deportation and removal.

Violating the Nation’s Immigration Laws

Another possible reason for deportation could include any violation of U.S. immigration laws. This may entail visa overstays, marriage fraud, entering the country illegally, documentation fraud, or smuggling people into the country illegally, among other violations.

Committing Crimes

Certain types of crimes may also warrant deportation and removal. Crimes that may lead to deportation include document fraud, domestic violence, murder, and rape. Others include criminal offenses involving drugs or controlled substances, terrorism, or espionage. 

What Is a Deportation Notice?

If an immigrant faces deportation for any reason, understanding the deportation process is important to be able to defend against removal.

Normally, the deportation process begins with a Notice to Appear (NTA), which the U.S. government will issue. This document includes details about the recipient, including the immigrant’s name, the reason for deportation, and the individual’s country of origin. The individual will then need to appear in court on the date indicated in the notice. 

Common Defenses to Removal

Depending on the nature of the deportation, immigrants may be able to avoid removal with a strong defense. Immigrants can challenge removal under circumstances such as:

Asylum

Some immigrants may fear returning to their country because of potential persecution. In these cases, immigrants may be able to apply for asylum to gain residency in the United States. Based on a recent court case, immigrants can challenge expedited removal by appealing a denial of their asylum claim. 

Family-Based Visa Petition

Immigrants may also be able to defend against deportation if they are married to or a parent of an American citizen. Individuals normally must have entered the country legally if they want to adjust their status with the help of a family member. However, this isn’t always necessary. 

Cancellation for Individuals Who Aren’t Lawful Permanent Residents

It may be possible to defend against removal if the immigrant has physically stayed in the country for 10 years and can show that his or her removal would cause hardships for him or her or an immediate family member. Proving these items may help individuals obtain a green card to attain lawful permanent resident status.

Other potential defenses may be available to immigrants in some cases.

How an Attorney Can Help

When facing deportation and removal, immigrants may want to hire a deportation attorney. If immigrants are unsure of how an immigration attorney can help stop deportation, they can do so in a few key ways.

The right attorney would be able to help immigrants understand their case and the risks involved. Lawyers can also discuss potential options to fight deportation. Additionally, they can determine which documentation will be required to build a defense. 

It’s often best to contact a deportation defense lawyer if individuals face deportation and removal and believe they have a valid defense that might prevent their removal.

What Are the Requirements for Seeking Asylum in the U.S.?

the requirements for seeking asylum in the us

Individuals who wish to seek asylum from a country that has undergone persecution must meet several requirements, including a “well-founded fear” of persecution based on the five grounds of persecution. Meeting the requirements for seeking asylum in the U.S. can help immigrants obtain protection against harm or threats of harm.

What Is Persecution?

Persecution refers to harassment, injury, punishment, oppression, or another form of harm to a country’s citizens. While U.S. immigration law doesn’t provide a specific definition of persecution, violence, threats, and other violations of people’s freedoms and rights are usually forms of persecution that may allow individuals to seek asylum.

The nation has granted asylum to immigrants for many reasons. These may include a foreign government’s firing of weapons on protesters, imprisonment and torture of perceived undesirables and dissidents, and discrimination of certain religious groups by excluding them from political processes. Some cases may also involve genocide against specific populations.

The foreign government doesn’t need to be behind the persecution. Some cases may involve actors within the country persecuting citizens, but the government doesn’t take steps to combat it. This would fall under persecution that may warrant the asylum of immigrants. For instance, guerrillas, paramilitary groups, warring clans or tribes, and vigilantes may persecute citizens of a country without the government’s direct involvement. The only requirement is that the persecution must have a social or political basis.

With enough proof of persecution or the “well-founded” fear of future persecution, individuals may be able to gain asylum in America, which could lead to naturalization and U.S. citizenship in the future.

What Are the Five Grounds of Persecution?

People may want to seek asylum in the U.S. simply because they fear what will happen if they return to their home nation. However, they must meet U.S. law’s definition of a refugee before applying for asylum.

To apply for asylum, individuals must be able to prove that they have a valid fear of future persecution or that they’ve experienced persecution in the past. 

Proving persecution depends on whether the individual has suffered harm or threats of harm based on one of five grounds. These grounds include:

  • Race
  • Nationality
  • Membership in a specific social group
  • Political opinion
  • Religion

It’s often challenging to connect persecution with these grounds due to the need to provide sufficient proof. 

Political Opinion

Persecution based on political opinion involves individuals who hold political opinions that go against the authorities. Commonly, these political opinions are critical of the country’s government or the government’s policies.

If an individual wants to know how an immigrant becomes a U.S. citizen through asylum on these grounds, they should speak with a knowledgeable immigration attorney. He or she can help you understand your rights and what qualifies as persecution for political opinion.

It’s important to keep in mind that the authorities must know about this political dissidence. Immigrants can prove this type of persecution with evidence like public speeches or writings, or proof of their involvement in public protests. Individuals may also seek asylum on these grounds if the authorities believe that immigrants hold dissenting political opinions, even if they don’t. What matters for immigration purposes here is that the reason that people are persecuting or targeting the applicant is because of their actual or perceived political views. 

Membership in a Particular Social Group

Proof of membership in a particular social group is arguably the hardest to prove and is the subject of frequent debate. Social groups are those that share common characteristics, to the point where the members can’t change them without changing the nature of the entire group. Governments also need to recognize these groups as defined entities, and they must have specific membership boundaries.

What Is a “Well-Founded Fear” of Persecution?

To show that an individual has a “well-founded fear” of persecution, immigrants must be able to show objective and subjective reasonable fear. Objective reasonable fear indicates that individuals can show clear facts based on objective forms of evidence, along with credible witness testimony, that can show how people in a similar position would have a reasonable fear of persecution in the future. Meanwhile, subjective fear indicates that the immigrant has a true fear of returning to their home country.

When the U.S. Government Deems a Country Safe

Many people seeking asylum and adapting as an American immigrant have suffered past persecution and don’t intend on making a return to their country of origin in the near future. However, the U.S. government may determine that the country is safe for the asylee to return to at some point. 

While this is possible, individuals may still be able to gain asylum in the U.S. if they can clearly show why they have reason to believe they face future persecution. This is known as “humanitarian asylum.”

When to Apply for Asylum

If individuals believe that they qualify for asylum in the U.S., they may be able to apply by completing an application and submitting evidence to support their arguments for leaving their home country. Evidence may include witness testimony, the applicant’s testimony, proof of persecution in the news or other publications, and other documentation.

Although many applicants may believe that they have enough evidence to support their claims when seeking asylum, the fact is that it’s often difficult to prove eligibility. For individuals who are unfamiliar with the process and want some help, it’s best to speak with an immigration legal services attorney. These attorneys can evaluate your situation and help determine if you meet the specific requirements in place for seeking asylum in the United States. An experienced attorney will also be able to help you gather all the paperwork and documentation required to submit a successful application.

By proving persecution and providing evidence of a reasonable, well-founded fear of returning to a country of origin, immigrants may be able to successfully apply for asylum.

What to Ask an Immigration Lawyer

what to ask immigration lawyer

Understanding what to ask an immigration lawyer can help you get prepared for your consultation. Asking the right questions will enable you to determine whether the lawyer is the right fit for you based on experience, dependability, and personality. Questions about experience handling similar cases, past successes, who will handle the case, and the attorney’s approach to the case are especially important. 

Hiring the best immigration lawyer to handle your case is the first step in setting yourself up for a successful experience with your immigration matter.

What to Ask an Immigration Lawyer During Your Initial Consultation

When consulting an immigration attorney, the following are some questions that you can ask. 

What is your experience with similar immigration cases?

Immigration law covers a wide variety of immigration case types, depending on the needs of the client. For instance, cases may involve visa requests and navigating the naturalization process, while others attempt to combat deportation and removals. In cases involving family immigration, attorneys would need to have a good understanding of how family-based immigration works. Cases may also involve other additional immigration services, like F-1 Student and J-1 Exchange visitor matters. 

This is why it’s important for individuals to find an attorney with experience handling cases similar to theirs. Each case type can require a lot of work and knowledge. By finding an attorney who has experience with the client’s specific case type, they can increase their chances of achieving a successful outcome.

How much do you focus on immigration law?

Attorneys might focus on multiple practice areas in addition to immigration law. In these instances, attorneys may not have the experience or ability to help you secure the best outcome. If an attorney doesn’t give immigration cases the attention they need, the client may not get the outcome he or she seeks. Make sure that the immigration attorney you choose has the experience and skills to handle your case. 

Who will oversee my case?

With whatever firm you hire, you’ll want to make sure that you’ll be working with and have access to an experienced immigration attorney. Some large firms may shuffle clients around or send cases to non-lawyer associates such as paralegals, limiting the time that the client actually talks to the attorney. Knowing who will handle the case can help determine how much energy and time the attorney will invest in it.

What are the tasks you will complete for my case?

Attorneys may take many steps to help clients with their cases. For example, the attorney may help complete and file the necessary paperwork for a case. They may also be able to complete other administrative tasks, and they may provide representation in court. Individuals should ask about what the lawyer will specifically do to assist them.

Can you discuss past successes?

A good way to further determine if an attorney is the right one is to ask about prior successes. A reliable attorney should be able to provide client testimonials and discuss past outcomes. This gives prospective clients a better feel for what to expect from them. At the same time, the attorney shouldn’t make any guarantees.

What makes you the better option over other immigration lawyers?

An immigration attorney should also talk about what sets them apart. They can do so by discussing the approach they intend to take to the case, previous outcomes for similar cases, their experience handling the specific case type, and their credentials.

Determining Whether the Immigration Lawyer Is a Good Fit for You

Knowing what to look for when hiring an immigration lawyer can help individuals make the right choice. Here are additional steps that individuals can take to determine whether an attorney is a good fit.

Language Abilities

If the client speaks a language that isn’t English, the attorney should either be able to speak it or connect the client with someone who can translate. There should not be any language barrier that might otherwise make clients unsure of what’s going on with their case.

Communication

Additionally, prospective clients should ask about how often the attorney will communicate with them and through which channels. Attorneys should be regularly available to discuss the case and communicate using a method that’s most convenient for the client, whether that channel is in-person, phone, or email.

Law Firm History

You can also ask about the firm’s history, including the experience of the attorney and others at the firm. A firm with a long and successful history helps reassure clients that they’re in good hands. 

Asking about these aspects will help better figure out whether an attorney is the right one for the case.

Interview Multiple Attorneys

When looking for the best immigration attorney, you can also take this time to talk to multiple attorneys. Prepare your questions for each attorney, take note of their responses, and compare them. Based on your conversation with the attorney during the consultation, you can narrow down your selection and determine which attorney is the best fit for you. 

By taking the time to interview different lawyers, individuals can avoid settling for an attorney who turns out to be the wrong choice. 

Asking the Right Questions to Make the Best Decision

Immigration attorneys should be open to questions throughout the consultation process. They want to earn the trust of prospective clients while learning about their specific cases. A good attorney also asks plenty of questions in return to ensure that the case is something he or she can handle. Even if an attorney decides not to take on a case, they may be able to put the individual in connection with another attorney or discuss other options. 

Asking plenty of questions during the consultation gives you the ability to make sure that you choose the right lawyer for you and your case.

Documents to Bring an Attorney for a Green Card

documents to bring an attorney for a green card

There are various documents to bring to an attorney for a green card. These include biographical information (e.g., birth certificate), financial information (e.g., tax records), criminal history (e.g., court records), and immigration history. In addition, those applying for a green card also need to provide medical records and military service records. You or your attorney must also fill out the required immigration forms to submit with your green card application. You or your attorney then put the documents together and send them to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The USCIS then reviews these documents and either approves or denies the application. 

When working with an immigration attorney, it’s important to know which documents to provide them. The attorney can then organize these documents and help submit them along with the application for a green card.

Collecting the Right Documents to Bring an Attorney for a Green Card Application

Individuals need to collect a variety of documents when applying for a green card. While not all the following documentation is required, individuals will have to figure out which documents apply to them and their case:

  • Birth certificates
  • Financial documents
  • Court records
  • Marriage certificates
  • Expired and current visas
  • Military records

In addition, individuals may have to present biographical information like divorce decrees, financial documents, marriage, immigration status, and proof of lawful entry into the United States. Individuals may also need to present legal documentation such as police records and prison records. If the individual has a sponsor, they will need proof of the sponsor’s American citizenship or lawful permanent resident (LPR) status.

Types of Proof Immigrants Might Need

Immigrants may have to bring different types of proof depending on the circumstances. These could include the following:

Proof of a Bona Fide Marriage

Multiple documents can help prove a bona fide marriage to USCIS. The individual must show that he or she didn’t marry his or her spouse just to get a green card. 

Documents may include any contracts, bills, or agreements that include the names of both spouses.

Proof of Funds for an Investment

If immigrants wish to get a green card as entrepreneurs, they will also need to prove funds for investments in American companies. Here, supporting documents might would include tax documents, bank statements, and other financial documentation.

Proof of Lawful Entry into the U.S.

One way to prove lawful entry into the U.S. is to submit an I-94 travel record, which is the document that U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers issue to immigrants upon entering the country legally. Other supporting documents could include a passport page displaying a nonimmigrant visa, a passport page with a parole or admission stamp, or a border crossing card. Additionally, immigrants may need to show the date when they entered the country, the port of entry, and the specific circumstances involved.

Proof of Current Immigration Status

A variety of documents can help prove the immigrant’s current status, including refugee travel documents, re-entry permits, alien registration numbers, and employment authorization documents.

Proof of the Sponsor’s LPR or Citizenship Status

Immigrants may also need to prove their sponsor’s citizenship or LPR status. Documents that can support this include the sponsor’s birth certificate, passport, or green card. 

Do You Need to Hire an Immigration Lawyer to Get Your Green Card?

With so much documentation required when applying for a green card, it can be difficult to keep track of everything and properly support an application. Immigrants may be unfamiliar with the immigration process and the different documentation they need to obtain a green card. This can increase the risk of a misstep that might lead USCIS to deny their applications. 

To help simplify the green card application process and ensure all documentation sufficiently supports the application, it may be best to work with a family immigration lawyer who has experience with these cases. A knowledgeable attorney can provide guidance on gathering and including documentation with an application. He or she can also help organize all documentation to properly present it to USCIS officers for review.

Knowing which documents to include with a green card application can ultimately help avoid the green card blues and make the application process easier.

How Long After Deportation Can You Return to the U.S.

Wondering, “How long after deportation can you return to the U.S.”? Depending on the circumstances of deportation, deportees will need to wait a certain amount of time before they can re-enter the U.S. This waiting period usually lasts for around five to 20 years. In some cases, deportees may be entirely unable to regain entry into the U.S.

The amount of time a person needs to wait before re-entering the country depends on the specific reason they underwent deportation. For instance, the government may deport immigrants for committing certain crimes or entering the country illegally.

Reasons Why the Government Deports Individuals

The U.S. government may choose to deport certain individuals for several reasons. Typically, deportation can take place if the individual:

  • Was inadmissible upon either entering the U.S. or making adjustments to their status or if they violated the specific terms of their immigration status.
  • Has a criminal charge involving any crimes that qualify for deportation.
  • Failed to register with immigration authorities in time or forged documents
  • Appears to pose a threat to national security

While the first three reasons for deportation have waivers available, individuals found to be a national security threat won’t be able to apply for a waiver. Additionally, individuals who undergo deportation because of an aggravated felony conviction will likely be unable to re-enter the country for 20 years. However, lesser charges tend to allow re-entry within five to 10 years, after which time individuals can apply for a waiver.

What Happens During Deportation

Once a judge orders a person’s removal from the U.S., deportees will receive a “bag and baggage” letter from the American government. The letter will go to the address that the deportee gives the immigration court. The details of this letter will include the location and date to which the individual must report, along with information about how much baggage the person can carry with them. The government then arranges transport for the individual to physically remove them from the country and transport them to their designated location.

If individuals need more help with understanding the deportation process and how it works, they may want to consult a deportation lawyer to discuss their options and the process they must undergo.

Waiting Period to Return to the U.S.

Following the deportation process, deportees will be unable to re-enter the country for a minimum of five years, with some being unable to enter permanently. The majority of deportees are unable to return for 10 years, but the specific waiting period depends on the circumstances of the deportation.

Five-Year Waiting Period

Some individuals may have to wait for five years before they can re-enter after deportation. This might happen if they were removed or deported at a border or port of entry in the U.S. and found to be inadmissible. Deportees may also have a five-year waiting period if they were deported or removed via removal proceedings upon arriving in the United States. Another reason for this period is if an individual failed to appear at or prematurely left their court proceedings.

10-Year Waiting Period

Some may face a 10-year waiting period if they appeared before an Immigration Judge who ordered deportation, regardless of the person’s appearance or absence.

20-Year Waiting Period

Deportees who already underwent deportation once and subsequently tried to illegally re-enter the U.S. before their 10-year waiting period concluded face a 20-year ban.

Permanent Removal

Some circumstances may warrant a person’s permanent removal from the U.S. Specifically, individuals will be unable to re-enter entirely if they have an aggravated felony conviction or if they re-entered the country unlawfully after deportation.

Applying for Re-Entry to the U.S.

After deportation, applying for re-entry can be a strenuous process. First, you need to wait the appropriate amount of time. In most cases, applying for re-entry to the U.S. involves restarting the entire visa application process.

Preparing to Apply for Re-Entry After Deportation

Deportees will have to wait different amounts of time before they can return to the U.S. If people facing deportation are uncertain about the waiting period they face or want to learn about their options, they can consult an immigration lawyer to discuss their case. It’s important to understand how immigration violations can impact your future in the U.S. and your ability to return if you’re deported.