Jesse J. Bañuelos, a Los Angeles Immigration Attorney

DEFENSES AGAINST DEPORTATION/REMOVAL

A foreigner who is in the US illegally is subject to being deported or removed at any time because he has no right to be here. Even though a legal permanent resident [a green card holder] has a right to be, and to live, in the US, he can also be deported or removed for any number of reasons, including conviction of certain crimes, or violations of the immigration laws, such as living outside the US for more than six months at a time, alien smuggling, claiming to be a US citizen, etc. [deportation proceedings are immigration court proceedings that began before April 1, 1997. Therefore, an order of expulsion issued by a court in those proceedings is a deportation order. Removal proceedings are immigration court proceedings that began on or after April 1, 1997. Therefore, an order of expulsion issued by a court in those proceedings is a removal order] That’s why if you’re in deportation/removal proceedings, because they could end with the issuance of a deportation/removal order against you which could mean your permanent banishment from the US, the wisest thing you can do is to retain an immigration attorney to defend you. After that, whether you’re deported/removed from the US will depend, in many cases, on the tenacity and experience of your attorney.

DEFENSES AGAINST DEPORTATION/REMOVAL FOR UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS

1. US CITIZENSHIP. If you’re a US citizen, you can’t be deported/removed from     the US. You could be a US citizen if at the time of your birth at least one of your grandparents or parents was a US citizen;

2. FAMILY-BASED GREEN CARD. If you have a US citizen or green card holder spouse, parent, or US citizen child over 21, you could be eligible for adjustment of status or an immigrant visa which could lead to a green card;

3. GREEN CARD AS A VICTIM OF DOMESTIC ABUSE. If you have been abused by a US citizen/green card holder spouse/parent, you could be eligible for a green card as a victim of domestic abuse;

4. SUSPENSION OF DEPORTATION OR CANCELLATION OF REMOVAL. If you’ve lived illegally and continuously in the US for at least ten years, have minor or no criminal record, have a US citizen/green card holder spouse/parent /child, and if your removal/deportation would result in extreme hardship to that relative, you could be eligible for cancellation of deportation/removal, which, if granted, would lead to a green card;

5. U-VISA. If you’ve been the victim of a crime in the US, suffered physical or emotional injury as a result of that crime, and are willing to cooperate, or have cooperated, with the investigation, or prosecution of that crime, you could be eligible for a U-Visa, which, if granted, could lead to a green card;

6. T-VISA. If you’ve been the victim of alien trafficking by force, fraud, or deception, OR, if you are under 18 and were the victim of alien trafficking for sexual purposes, you could be eligible for a T Visa, which, if granted, could lead to a green card;

7. GREEN CARD AS A SPECIAL JUVENILE IMMIGRANT. If you’re under 18, and have been the victim of parental abuse in the US or in another country, you could be eligible to apply for a green card as a special juvenile immigrant;

8. GREEN CARD THROUGH NACARA. If you’re a citizen of a certain country, like El Salvador, Guatemala, or a few other countries, have lived in the US for seven years, and have minor or no criminal record, you could be eligible for suspension of deportation under NACARA, which, if granted, could lead to a green card;

9. GREEN CARD THROUGH REGISTRY. If you’ve lived continuously and illegally in the US since at least Jan. 1, 1972, and have minor or no criminal record, you could be eligible for registry, which, if granted, would lead to a green card; or

10. DACA. If you came to the US before you were 16 years old, have lived in the US since June 15, 2007, were under 31 years old as of June 15, 2012, and have minor or no criminal record, you could be eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which, if granted, would protect you from deportation/removal for two years.

DEFENSES AGAINST DEPORTATION/REMOVAL FOR GREEN CARD HOLDERS

1. US CITIZENSHIP. If you’re a US citizen, you can’t be deported/removed from the US. If you and if at least one of your parents at one time had a green card, and you received yours before you were 18, you could be a US citizen if the green card holder parent became a US citizen before you were 18;

2. CANCELLATION OF REMOVAL. If you are placed in deportation/removal proceedings because you were convicted of certain crimes [that are not aggravated felonies under immigration law], or because of violations of immigration laws (such as living outside the US for more than six months at a time, alien smuggling, etc.), if you have lived continuously in the US as a green card holder for at least seven years, you could be eligible for cancellation of removal;

3. If you’ve been abused by a US citizen or green card holder spouse or parent, you could be eligible for cancellation of removal as a victim of domestic abuse; or

4. FAMILY-BASED GREEN CARD. If you’re placed in deportation/removal proceedings because you were convicted of certain crimes, and if you have a US citizen/green card holder spouse/parent/US citizen child over 21, you could be eligible to reapply for adjustment of status [a green card], which would also allow you to apply for a waiver of those crimes that you would need.

These are just a few of the many defenses that may be used against deportation/removal proceedings. Therefore, it’s possible that none of these defenses would apply to your case. It’s also very possible that a tenacious and experienced immigration attorney will find another defense that’s not listed here but that will apply to your case. That’s why if you’re in deportation/removal proceedings, because those proceedings could end with the issuance of an expulsion order against you which could result in permanent banishment from the US, your best hope of staying in the US legally is with the help of an experienced immigration attorney, such as Mr. Bañuelos. Because he is hardworking and tenacious, Mr. Bañuelos has been successfully resolving difficult immigration problems, and has been winning difficult deportation and removal cases for over 20 years.