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DEPORTATION AND REMOVAL PROCEEDINGS

Deportation and Removal Proceedings Including:

Asylum, Withholding of Removal, Protection Under the United Nations Convention Against Torture, and Cancellation of Removal; Bond and Parole

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ASYLUM, WITHHOLDING OF REMOVAL, AND PROTECTION UNDER THE UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE

People fleeing persecution in their home countries may be eligible to apply for asylum in the United States, as well as two related forms of relief - withholding of removal, and protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture.  In addition, some immigrants who have been in the United States over 10 years that face removal proceedings may qualify for another remedy called Cancellation of Removal.  Many immigrants apply for these forms of relief but are unrepresented by counsel, seriously impeding their ability to win their cases.  

Applicants for asylum must establish that they have suffered persecution in the past in their county of nationality, and/or have a “well-founded” fear of persecution in the future.  The persecutor must either be from the government, or someone that government is unwilling or unable to control. One central reason for the persecution must be the applicant’s race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Asylum applicants must generally file for asylum within one year of arrival in the United States.

If more than one year has passed since your entry into the United States, the immigration court can grant an exception to the one-year deadline for an asylum application for extraordinary or changed circumstances.  Extraordinary circumstances generally involve events beyond the applicant’s control that prevented the applicant from filing within one year’s time. Changed circumstances generally involve changes in the person’s home country that occurred after the person was already in the United States that make it difficult for the person to return to their country of origin. The one-year asylum application deadline does not apply to people brought to the United States as minors.  There are other exceptions to  the one year deadline, which our firm can provide advice on.

The one-year deadline also does not apply to receiving withholding of removal or relief under the United Nations Convention Against Torture.  These remedies provide protection from removal, but do not provide a path to lawful permanent resident status (Green Card) or citizenship and involve somewhat higher standards of proof of potential harm.  A grant of asylum also provides the same benefits to their spouse and children, whereas receipt of withholding of removal and relief under the United Nations Convention Against Torture do not.  

The asylum process involves filing an I-589 application and detailed documentation and evidence to support the claim with the immigration court. The application can include a spouse and children in the asylum request.  An immigration judge will conduct a hearing to determine if the applicant merits asylum.  Typically, if the judge finds the applicant does not merit asylum, the judge will consider the remedies of withholding of removal or protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture.  Asylum hearings generally last several hours and include detailed testimony from the applicant and sometimes other witnesses.

CANCELLATION OF REMOVAL

If an immigrant without a valid Green Card is already in removal proceedings and has been in the United States over 10 years before receiving a valid Notice to Appear (NTA)(the document that starts removal proceedings), an additional remedy to consider is cancellation of removal.  To obtain such relief, the immigrant must not have been outside the country for more than 90 days during that time (with certain exceptions) and must be able to show that they have shown good moral character for 10 years.  They also must not have convictions of certain offenses.  They must further show that removal (deportation) of the immigrant would cause exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to the lawful permanent resident’s or United States citizen’s spouse, child or parent. 

If an immigrant has held a Green Card for over 5 years is in removal proceedings and has been in the United States over 7 years, they should consider filing for cancellation of removal by discussing their situation with their attorneys.

FOR DETAINED IMMIGRANTS - RECEIVING BOND OR PAROLE

If an immigrant or asylum seeker is detained, the immigrant may be released on parole or bond.  Any detention is carried out by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE officers have the discretion to release an immigrant on parole, and may require certain conditions as part of the release.  In addition, an immigration judge may consider releasing them based on bond (a payment that is eventually returned if the immigrant appears in court as required) or parole.  

Our attorneys stand ready to handle your asylum, deportation or removal proceeding, as well as any related bond or parole.  Should you already have a deportation order or denial of an asylum claim, we stand ready to assist and advise you of your options.