Any non-citizen and their family can be affected by the U.S. immigration laws. A criminal arrest, even a minor crime, or a notario who filed immigration paperwork incorrectly, can lead to the risk of removal from the United States. Individuals who are in removal (deportation) proceedings need a strong legal defense to avoid detention and removal, to be reunited with their families.
Do You Need a Lawyer?
Unlike criminal proceedings, if you do not have an attorney to represent you in Immigration Court, the government will not appoint you a lawyer. Contact the Law Office of Nita Kundanmal as soon as you can when you receive any notice or threat of removal. With a skilled immigration attorney by your side, you will benefit from Nita Kundanmal's legal training and Immigration Court experience to get the best outcome for you and your family.
Notice to Appear
Deportation or removal proceedings begin with a Notice to Appear (NTA), to appear for immigration court on a certain date. The NTA is issued to someone suspected of entering or remaining in the United States without lawful status, or to a Permanent Resident who has committed certain crimes which are removable offenses.
During the Immigration Court proceeding, the individual can be represented by his or her immigration attorney. The attorney will advise their client of the charges against them, and the individual will have to answer to the charges. If the individual does not appear for the removal hearing, the Immigration Judge will generally enter an Order of removal in absentia.
The individual facing removal will also be able to apply for any form of relief from removal. An Immigration Judge will schedule the Merits Hearing or Individual Hearing to determine whether the application for relief from removal is approved or denied. There are a number of possible removal defenses to individuals facing deportation. Some removal defenses include:
- Withholding of Removal
- Relief Under the Convention Against Torture
- Cancellation of Removal for Lawful Permanent Residents and Certain Nonpermanent Residents
- Adjustment of Status
- Motion to Reopen Removal Proceedings
- Motion to Terminate Removal Proceedings
- Victim of a Crime who can offer support to Law Enforcement
- Victim of Human Trafficking to the United States
- Prosecutorial Discretion/Deferred Action
Some individuals facing removal fear they will suffer harm upon returning to their country of birth. Asylum allows an eligible individual to remain in the United States if they have suffered past persecution or fear future persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. An Immigration Judge has the discretion to grant or deny one's application for Asylum based on the degree of past or future persecution and credibility.
An individual may seek Affirmative Asylum by filing for asylum with the government prior to being. The individual may also seek Defensive Asylum before the Immigration Judge.
Withholding of Removal
Individuals who are not eligible for Asylum may apply for Withholding of Removal, where they must prove that they will more likely than not face future persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Unlike asylum, an Immigration Judge must mandatorily grant the application for Withholding of Removal if the credible evidence proves the feared persecution.
Relief Under the Convention Against Torture (CAT)
To qualify for protection under CAT, the individual must show that it is more likely than not that one would be tortured if removed to that country. Unlike Withholding of Removal, however, one must also show that the feared harm meets the definition of “torture” under the CAT (which is any intentional unlawful infliction of severe -- physical or mental -- suffering or pain, with consent of a public official, for purposes such as punishment, obtaining a confession, intimidation, or discrimination).
Cancellation of Removal for Lawful Permanent Residents
Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) can benefit from “Cancellation of Removal, to avoid losing their LPR status. To qualify, an applicant must establish:
- Permanent resident for at least five (5) years;
- Prior to service of the Notice to Appear, or prior to committing certain criminal offenses, at least seven (7) years continuous residence in the United States after having been lawfully admitted in any status; and
- Not been convicted of an aggravated felony.
Cancellation of Removal for Certain Nonpermanent Residents
Some nonpermanent residents can benefit from a “Cancellation of Removal, to obtain Lawful Permanent Resident status. To qualify, an applicant must establish:
- Prior to service of the Notice to Appear, physical presence in the U.S. for at least 10 years;
- Good moral character for the past 10 years; and
- A U.S. Citizen or LPR child, spouse, or parent will suffer exceptional and extremely unusual hardship if the individual cannot remain in the United States
- Deserving of a favorable exercise of discretion on your application
Victim of a Crime
Victims of certain types of crime may be eligible for special visas. Victims of domestic abuse can apply for relief under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Additionally, victims of crimes who cooperate with law enforcement in investigation or prosecution of a crime may be eligible for a U-Visa or a T-Visa.
If you have a loved one facing deportation or awaiting removal hearings, contact the Law Office of Nita Kundanmal today. Nita Kundanmal has represented clients facing removal hearings and will fight for you and your family in Immigration Court throughout New York and New Jersey and other States. Individuals facing removal proceedings need a strong legal defense to avoid deportation.