How to Stop Removal Proceedings

US flag and citizenship and immigration paperwork

Depending on your circumstances, there are several options for how to stop removal proceedings. Criminal charges, visa violations, and other factors may result in you facing deportation from the U.S. If you find yourself in such a situation, it benefits you to understand the situations that will stop removal proceedings, and how they may apply to your immigration case. 

US flag and citizenship and immigration paperwork

Can an Immigration Lawyer Help You Stop Removal Proceedings?

Deportation Defense Lawyer Bonita Cho

If you’re involved in removal proceedings, and you want to avoid deportation, you may be able to stop these proceedings with the help of a deportation defense attorney

The right immigration lawyer may be able to work with you to build a defense and present it to the judge in your case. For example, your attorney may be able to show that you are an American citizen because of a parent or grandparent who is a U.S. citizen. Your attorney could also argue that you qualify for asylum if you face persecution in your country of origin, or he or she may find another reason why you qualify for termination of the case.

The Deportation Process

Many immigrants in the U.S. face deportation for specific reasons. If the government decides to deport an immigrant, it will begin the deportation process, which involves removal proceedings that may eventually lead to the immigrant’s removal. 

There are several steps involved in the deportation process that you should understand if you’re at risk of removal.

The Decision to Deport

Immigrants face deportation for several possible reasons. One of the main reasons is entering the country illegally, either without documents authorizing their entry or with counterfeit documents.

In addition, immigrants may undergo removal for other reasons. These may include violations of their green card or visa, convictions of certain serious crimes, assistance with smuggling illegal aliens, and marriage fraud, among others.

Removal and Expedited Removal

If the government finds a reason to deport you, the removal process will begin. This could involve either traditional removal proceedings or expedited removal, depending on the nature of the deportation.

During removal proceedings, you may need to appear in court before deportation occurs. In court, you will have the chance to argue why you don’t qualify for removal, at which point an immigration attorney can help. A lawyer may be able to help build a defense and present evidence showing why you have the ability to avoid deportation.

However, under certain circumstances, immigrants may undergo expedited removal. In these cases, you won’t be able to go to court and provide a defense. Generally, expedited removal occurs when individuals attempt to enter the country illegally and don’t have proper documentation. Once an officer discovers illegal entry is taking place, the officer may require the immigrant to immediately return to his or her home country. 

If the government orders expedited removal, you will be unable to enter the U.S. again for a minimum of five years. On the other hand, you may be able to enter the country under specific conditions, such as when claiming legal status or seeking asylum, in which cases judges and officers may be able to review your case before initiating removal.

Who Is Eligible for Termination of Their Case?

Depending on your case and the circumstances involved, you may be able to avoid deportation with the dismissal or termination of the case. 

The following are some of the specific circumstances that may make you eligible to have your case terminated.

You Don’t Qualify for Removal

The U.S. government must be able to provide evidence explaining its decision to remove you. In some cases, you may be able to show that you don’t actually qualify for deportation with sufficient evidence.

For instance, you may not qualify for removal if you have U.S. citizenship, the Department of Homeland Security neglected to go through the proper process of deportation, or you committed crimes that don’t fall under the umbrella of crimes warranting deportation.

You Didn’t Receive a Notice to Appear

In some cases, you may not receive a notice to appear in court, which could also disqualify you from removal. Even if the government sent you a notice, you may not have received it directly, or it may have gone to the wrong address. 

You Want to Apply for Adjustment of Status

Certain situations may allow you to apply for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident (LPR). This could be possible if you have a relative with a green card or U.S. citizenship. The court may then terminate the case so you may pursue this relief.

You Are a U-Visa Holder

Victims of physical or psychological abuse may qualify for a U-Visa if they cooperate with law enforcement to assist with making arrests or identifying criminal activity. If you agree to help law enforcement officers and qualify for a U-Visa, you may eventually be able to receive a green card. If you have a pending U visa, the court may agree to terminate your case.

You Agree to Voluntary Departure

If other options are unavailable to you, or you want to increase your chances of returning at a later time, you can apply for voluntary departure. This will prevent deportation from affecting your record, which will make it easier to re-enter the U.S. legally and reduce the penalties of illegal entry.

If you choose to leave the country voluntarily, the government will give you more time to prepare to leave than you would normally receive. Typically, immigrants who agree to voluntary departure have around 60 to 120 days to prepare all necessary paperwork and make arrangements with their home country.

A lawyer may be able to help you determine if these or other possible options exist for you to stop removal proceedings as you attempt to remain in the U.S.

When You Can Return to the U.S.

You may also wonder how long after deportation can you return to the U.S. The amount of time will differ depending on your specific case. Removal could be anywhere from five years to permanent. 

In some cases, immigrants will need to wait five years before they can return to the U.S. Others may need to wait for 10 years before re-entry if an immigration Judge ordered the person’s removal. 

If you attempt to re-enter illegally before the waiting period ends, this could warrant a 20-year waiting period before you’re allowed to re-enter legally. In extreme cases, you will be permanently unable to re-enter the U.S., with permanent bans resulting from serious criminal convictions and unlawful entry.

Stopping Removal Proceedings with the Help of an Attorney

When seeking to prevent deportation and removal, you may need some assistance. If your case is complex and the risk of deportation is high, an immigration attorney can help stop deportation in certain situations.

An attorney can let you know of your rights and help you identify ways to stop deportation based on the unique aspects of your case. He or she may also be able to represent you during removal proceedings and provide a strong defense in court with ample evidence to support your argument.

If you’re facing deportation and wonder how to stop removal proceedings, you may have options to stay in the U.S.