Deportation Defense

All non-citizens of the United States are at risk of being placed in removal proceedings. There are a number of groups of individuals that are at a higher risk of being placed in removal proceedings: Non-citizens with permanent or temporary status with a past arrest or conviction; Non-citizens with an old deportation order; and Undocumented Immigrants.

Cases in which individuals are placed in removal proceedings are incredibly difficult and require the attention of experienced, knowledgeable, and compassionate immigration attorneys. We understand the gravity of these cases and we act to relieve the uncertainties of our clients and our clients’ families. We do this by explaining in great detail how the facts of the case interplay with the law, the possibilities of success, and providing thorough explanations of our legal strategy.

Every case that comes through our law firm is discussed amongst all of our attorneys in order to ensure that we are providing the best legal strategy for every individual. Don’t wait until you have received an immigration hearing date, please contact us as soon as the possibility of removal arises.

Bond Hearings

Given the large number of ICE detentions recently, many detainees are finding themselves in removal proceedings on a detained docket. The primary concern of most of these detainees, as well as their families, is whether they can be released from detention in order to return to their lives and reunite with their family members.

Unless a detainee is considered an “arriving alien” or has been convicted of certain crimes (a topic to be discussed at a later time), they can be eligible for what is officially termed a Custody Redetermination Hearing before an immigration judge. However, many clients and their families are confused about the exact procedures and standards involved in these bond hearings, and are therefore either surprised or disappointed with the results.

Just as in most other bond proceedings, bond hearings in immigration court revolve around two basic issues; whether the detainee is a danger to the community and/or a flight risk. In determining whether someone is a danger to the community, the court looks at the individual’s past and present behavior, including their criminal history. If a detainee has been previously arrested and/or convicted of certain crimes, the court looks at the seriousness and recency of the offenses, the nature of the crime, and whether the detainee has shown rehabilitation (if they have committed a criminal act in the past). If a detained individual is determined to constitute a danger to the community, then no bond can be given and the individual will remain in detention.

If, on the other hand, an individual is not found to constitute any danger, then a subsequent analysis of flight risk is made, on the basis of which a bond amount (if any) is determined. Factors that are considered in assessing flight risk include length of stay in the United States, family and community ties, the presence of a stable address, immigration violation history, history of evasion from authorities, history of court appearances, and the strength of relief from deportation available to said individual. In several occasions, the flight risk determination, and ensuing bond amount, hinge on the type of relief that is available to a particular detainee. The stronger the relief available, the lower the prospective bond amount will be. And vice versa, the weaker the relief available, the higher the bond amount that is likely to be imposed.

While these standards are laid out in an objective fashion, a lot of times individual judges’ subjective viewpoints are the deciding factors on whether bonds are granted, and the amounts of those bonds. The attorney in these situations plays an important role in putting together effective packets and making persuasive arguments as to danger and flight risk. It is therefore important for individuals in detention to make sure they have competent legal representation in order to increase their chances of being released on bond.

If you need help determining if you qualify for an Immigration Bond, contact Chammas Jurado | The Immigration Attorneys today. We have a vast amount of experience in immigration law and we provide advanced and comprehensive support on all immigration issues.

42B, Cancellation of Removal for Certain non-Legal Permanent Residents

Cancellation of removal for Non Permanent Residents is a critical defense to deportation available to certain noncitizens with family in the United States. A person who is granted non-LPR cancellation of removal receives a green card. Cancellation is a “defensive” application, meaning that it is only available to someone facing removal in immigration court.

Individuals qualify for non-LPR cancellation of removal if they are in removal proceedings because they are inadmissible or deportable and meets the following criteria:

  1. They have been physically present in the United States continuously for at least ten years;
  2. They have demonstrated good moral character for ten years;
  3. They have not been convicted of certain offenses
  4. to deport them would cause exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to their LPR or U.S. citizen spouse, child, or parent.

Exceptional and Extremely Unusual Hardship

The BIA has consistently held that the standard requires a showing of hardship that is “substantially” beyond the ordinary hardship that would be expected when a close family member leaves the country and is limited to “truly exceptional” situations. Yet, this standard does not need to be so high that cancellation be granted only if one’s deportation would be “unconscionable.” There are no regulations establishing which factors the court should look to for determining hardship for non-LPR cancellation of removal. Instead, the BIA has provided guidance through its case law. Judges will consider all of the factors potentially relevant in these cases.

These include the qualifying relative’s:

  1. age;
  2. health;
  3. special needs in school;
  4. length of residence in the United States;
  5. family and community ties in the United States;
  6. family and community ties in the home country;
  7. circumstances in the home country, including standard of living, way of life, languages spoken, work opportunities; and
  8. alternative methods for immigrating the cancellation applicant.

Judges will not base their decision on any one of the factors listed above, but on the cumulative effect of all the facts when viewed together. Courts are required to use a “totality of circumstances” approach, which means that they must make a determination by looking at whether all of the factors, combined, demonstrate that the qualifying relatives would suffer exceptional and extremely unusual hardship if the applicant were deported.

If you need help determining if you qualify for a 42B, Cancellation of Removal, contact Chammas Jurado | The Immigration Attorneys today. We have a vast amount of experience in immigration law and we provide advanced and comprehensive support on all immigration issues.

42A Cancellation of Removal for Certain Permanent Residents

Certain Lawful Permanent Residents who find themselves in removal proceedings because of a criminal conviction, may be eligible for cancellation of removal if they meet the following criteria:

  1. Have been a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. for at least five years at the time that the application is filed;
  2. Have continually resided in the U.S. for at least seven years after being admitted in any status and before the “stop-time rule” is triggered;
  3. Have not been convicted of an aggravated felony;
  4. Have not received cancellation of removal relief in the past; and
  5. As a matter of discretion, deserve to win your case.

Positive Discretion

Applicants will need to present plenty of evidence to demonstrate that they deserve cancellation of removal for lawful permanent residents as a matter of discretion. Once the applicant demonstrate that it meets the basic eligibility requirements for cancellation of removal, the majority of the hearing will focus on whether or not it deserves to keep its green card. In this area, the Immigration Judge has a lot of leeway and will balance the adverse factors with the positive and humanitarian considerations.

In looking to the adverse factors, the Immigration Judge will look at: the nature of the underlying grounds of removal, any other immigration violations, and any other criminal record you may have.

As far as positive and humanitarian factors go, the applicant should provide plenty of proof regarding its family ties in the U.S., hardship to itself and family members if the applicant was deported, ties to the community, history of employment, business ties, duration in the U.S, and proof of rehabilitation for past crimes.

If you need help determining if you qualify for a 42A, Cancellation of Removal, contact Chammas Jurado | The Immigration Attorneys today. We have a vast amount of experience in immigration law and we provide advanced and comprehensive support on all immigration issues.

I-589 (Asylum, Withholding of Removal, Convention Against Torture)

Asylum

Many people who come to the United States do so to escape persecution in their countries. They come here seeking the protection of the United States in order to prevent serious harm from befalling them and their families if they are to return to their nations. However, asylum law is extremely precise and requires proof of very specific elements, including highly crucial time constraints, in order to be successful in an asylum claim. Many immigrants who are unaware of the complication of the process find themselves facing deportation.

We will meet with every client, clearly explain the law and the requirements they must meet to receive asylum status, and advise them as to whether their specific facts are sufficient to make a successful asylum claim. We will then utilize our expertise to put together an effective asylum application that will greatly increase the likelihood of a successful outcome. We treat every potential asylum client with utmost compassion and care, being fully aware of the potential direness of their circumstance. We are also fully aware and understanding of specific political, social, and economic conditions in various parts of the world, which greatly helps us in both being sensitive to the particular needs of our clients and in organizing a much more effective asylum application.

If you are here seeking the protection of the United States due to a fear of persecution in your country of origin, please contact Chammas Jurado as soon as possible in order ensure the security and safety of yourself and your family.

I-589, Withholding of Removal

Withholding of removal is a special type of order issued by an immigration judge to a person who demonstrates that they have more than a 50% chance that they will be persecuted in their home country on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Like asylum, withholding of removal protects a person from being deported to a country where they fear persecution. However, withholding of removal is a very limited benefit in many ways.

A person granted withholding of removal has no pathway to a green card or to U.S. citizenship.  Because an order of removal was issued, and then withheld, in most cases a person would have to reopen their removal proceedings in order to pursue other immigration options.

Generally, when a person files for asylum, they automatically apply for withholding at the same time. There is no one-year filing deadline for withholding applications like there is with Asylum, and it is not discretionary.  That is, if someone proves that they are eligible for withholding, a judge must grant that application. There are also certain crimes which may disqualify applicants from winning asylum, but do not disqualify them from withholding of removal.

If you need help determining if you qualify for a Withholdong or Removal, contact Chammas Jurado | The Immigration Attorneys today. We have a vast amount of experience in immigration law and we provide advanced and comprehensive support on all immigration issues.

I-589, Convention Against Torture

Withholding of removal is a special type of order issued by an immigration judge to a person who demonstrates that they have more than a 50% chance that they will be persecuted in their home country on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Like asylum, withholding of removal protects a person from being deported to a country where they fear persecution. However, withholding of removal is a very limited benefit in many ways.

A person granted withholding of removal has no pathway to a green card or to U.S. citizenship.  Because an order of removal was issued, and then withheld, in most cases a person would have to reopen their removal proceedings in order to pursue other immigration options.

Generally, when a person files for asylum, they automatically apply for withholding at the same time. There is no one-year filing deadline for withholding applications like there is with Asylum, and it is not discretionary.  That is, if someone proves that they are eligible for withholding, a judge must grant that application. There are also certain crimes which may disqualify applicants from winning asylum, but do not disqualify them from withholding of removal.

If you need help determining if you qualify for a Withholdong or Removal, contact Chammas Jurado | The Immigration Attorneys today. We have a vast amount of experience in immigration law and we provide advanced and comprehensive support on all immigration issues.

Adjustment of Status in Proceedings

Adjustment of status is also available as a defense for qualifying beneficiaries who end up in removal, or deportation, proceedings. Sometimes, individuals who would otherwise qualify for adjustment of status end up in removal proceedings before beginning the adjustment process. On other occasions, an application for adjustment of status may have been denied by USCIS and the alien issued a Notice to Appear. In either case, an immigration court may review adjustment applications.

In removal proceedings, you would still need to qualify and be eligible for adjustment of status as if you were applying before USCIS.

Adjustment of status is the process of changing from a nonimmigrant immigration status (student, tourist, temporary worker) to a Legal Permanent Residence (LPR).

Immigration laws allows a nonimmigrant visa holder to change status to an LPR if the individual meets the following requirements:

  1. Made a lawful entry into the United States; and
  2. is physically present inside the United States when the petition is submitted; and
  3. Has an approved and currently available family petition; and
  4. is not inadmissible due to any criminal or immigration law violations.

If you need help determining if you qualify for Adjustment of Status in Proceedings, contact Chammas Jurado | The Immigration Attorneys today. We have a vast amount of experience in immigration law and we provide advanced and comprehensive support on all immigration issues.

212(h) Waiver

Section 212(h) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”) authorizes discretionary waivers of certain “inadmissible” crimes.  

There are four general circumstances in which an alien can request a 212h waiver:

  1. When denial of admissibility would result in extreme hardship to the immigrant’s spouse, children or parent who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident;
  2. When the conviction is at least 15 years old orconsists solely of prostitution, and the petitioner has been rehabilitated and is not a security threat to the U.S.;
  3. When the immigrant is a Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitioner; or
  4. As a defense in removal (deportation) proceedings when used with an application for adjustment of status or to retroactively waive inadmissibility at the time of a prior admission.

Crimes That can be Waived with a 212(h) Waiver?

  • Crimes involving moral turpitude (“CIMT”),
  • Multiple criminal convictions with total sentences to confinement of 5 years or more,
  • Prostitution and commercial vice,
  • Crimes by certain aliens who have asserted immunity from prosecution, and 
  • A single offense of simple possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana or a similar minor THC-related offense (such as possession of marijuana paraphernalia)

If you need help determining if you qualify for a 212(h) Waiver, contact Chammas Jurado | The Immigration Attorneys today. We have a vast amount of experience in immigration law and we provide advanced and comprehensive support on all immigration issues.

212(c) Waiver

Basic Eligibility Requirements for a 212(c) waiver:

  1. LPR with a lawful domicile for at least 7 years; — 7 years of lawful domicile continued to accrue during exclusion and deportation proceedings until a final order was entered by an IJ or the BIA
  2. Not excludable under former INA sections addressing national security and international child abduction.
  3. For convictions entered between 11/30/1990 and 9/30/1996, LPR has not served more than 5 years imprisonment for one or more aggravated felony offenses

While 212(c) was repealed on September 30, 1996 by IIRIRA, effective April 1, /1997, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a 212(c) waiver remains available in removal proceedings to an LPR who was eligible for the waiver at the time of his guilty plea entered before its repeal.

If you need help determining if you qualify for a 212(c) Waiver, contact Chammas Jurado | The Immigration Attorneys today. We have a vast amount of experience in immigration law and we provide advanced and comprehensive support on all immigration issues.

NACARA

Under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act or NACARA, certain Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Eastern Europeans, and members of the class action lawsuit known as ABC (American Baptist Churches v. Thornburgh) may still apply for an old, otherwise unavailable path to a green card known as Suspension of Deportation. Suspension of Deportation was a form of relief from removal that existed until 1996, allowing people to avoid deportation by showing seven years continual U.S. presence, good moral character, and the prospect of extreme hardship upon removal. If granted, NACARA Suspension of Deportation gives you lawful permanent resident status (a green card) in the United States.

If you need help determining if you qualify for a NACARA, contact Chammas Jurado | The Immigration Attorneys today. We have a vast amount of experience in immigration law and we provide advanced and comprehensive support on all immigration issues.

Voluntary Departure

If you are in removal proceedings and do not have a way to legalize your status, it is likely a good idea to seek voluntary departure instead of waiting for an order of removal or worse yet, skipping out on your court dates, in which case you are guaranteed to receive an order of removal. A grant of voluntary departure permits a non-citizen to depart the United States by a certain date without an order of removal on his or her record.

Departing voluntarily can protect a non-citizen from the harsh consequences of an order of removal. You face several consequences if you are ordered removed or in fact are removed from the United States. First, a non-citizen who has been ordered removed is not admissible to the United States for five, ten, or 20 years, or even permanently, depending upon the reason for the deportation.

Voluntary departure has a number of benefits over an order of removal. Most importantly, departing the United States with voluntary departure, as opposed to being removed by an immigration judge, means that you are not automatically inadmissible from the United States for a set number of years.

If you need help determining if you qualify for a Voluntary Departure, contact Chammas Jurado | The Immigration Attorneys today. We have a vast amount of experience in immigration law and we provide advanced and comprehensive support on all immigration issues.

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