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Stop Deportation

Deportation Attorney in Georgia

Immigrants in the United States who do not have legal status and even some who have lawful permanent residence status may face deportation.

Because many non-citizens fear deportation due to criminal charge or ongoing criminal accusations, deportation procedures - also known as "removal proceedings" - need a specialist understanding of immigration and criminal law.

We at The Law Office of Jeffrey B. Kelly handle both immigration and criminal issues so you can be confident that you're getting the best legal advice and representation available.

Our deportation defense lawyer will work tirelessly to ensure that our clients understand the implications of a criminal conviction on their immigration status. We also work diligently to lessen or dismiss criminal charges so that your immigration status is not jeopardized.

If you are a non-US citizen and have been charged with a crime, consult with our expert attorneys, familiar with both immigration and criminal law in Georgia. We can offer you the legal counsel you require to handle your current situation.

Our firm has years of combined experience, and we are delighted to use our expertise and resources to assist you in remaining in the US.

What is Deportation?

deportation attorneyAlthough the formal phrase for deportation is "removal," many individuals, including attorneys, immigration agents, and immigration courts, use the two terms interchangeably.

To understand the deportation procedure, let's start by distinguishing between being placed in deportation proceedings, being ordered to be deported, and being deported.

When you are placed in deportation proceedings, the government begins a procedure that might result in a removal order. If you've been ordered to be deported, an immigration court or officer has ruled that you're not allowed to be in the country and has ordered your departure.

Finally, getting deported means leaving the United States, either on your own or after receiving a "bag and baggage" letter from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) indicating when and where you must appear for transportation.

What Are the Different Grounds for Removal?

In 1996, the United States Congress merged the formerly distinct exclusion and deportation hearings into one removal proceeding. If non-US nationals, including lawful permanent residents (LPRs), violate the Immigration and Nationality Act, they may be deported.

If you are found to be inadmissible or deportable, you may be subject to removal procedures. There are various grounds for removal, including:

  • Inadmissibility at the time of entry or adjustment of status
  • Failure to maintain the status
  • Termination of conditional residence status
  • Marriage fraud
  • Assisting in illegal entry into the US
  • Crimes involving moral turpitude
  • Aggravated felonies
  • Drug-related crimes
  • Domestic violence
  • Theft or burglary
  • Child pornography
  • Prostitution
  • Obstruction of justice
  • Firearm violations
  • Falsifying immigration documents
  • Falsely claiming US citizenship
  • Security and political-related violations (such as engaging in terrorist activities, activities that endanger the public and national security, or activities that have potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the US)
  • Conspiracy or attempt to commit any of the above

What Are the Different Ways to Be Deported?

As mentioned earlier, there are various procedures prior to one's deportation. This may depend on your immigration history and how you come to the notice of US immigration officials.

Removal Proceedings

The most typical procedure for someone to be deported is to be placed in "removal proceedings." When ICE accuses a non-citizen of being removable, removal procedures begin.

When the government determines that a person is in the country without legal documents, has broken the conditions of their visa or other status, or has committed a violation that forbids them from remaining in the country, they can be deported.

If you are facing deportation, you will be required to appear before an immigration court, which will decide whether or not you should be deported.

Expedited Removal

The so-called "expedited removal" procedure is another way to be deported. Certain persons without paperwork or who have misrepresented material facts to gain entrance to the country face accelerated removal procedures.

If you are at a port of entry or entered the US illegally and cannot establish you have been in the country for at least two years, you will be placed in accelerated removal proceedings.

You will not encounter an immigration judge during accelerated removal procedures. An immigration official will instead determine whether or not you should be deported. Without a court hearing, you will be compelled to leave. This is a relatively short process.

Reinstatement of Removal

Another way to be deported is through "reinstatement of removal." Only persons who have been ordered deported in the past and returned to the US without authorization are subject to this procedure.

You will not see an immigration court, as with expedited removal. An immigration officer may order your deportation on this basis.

What Are the Steps in Deportation?

The procedures in expedited removal and reinstatement of removal include being approached by an immigration officer, being questioned, and the immigration official deciding whether you should be removed and, if so, taking final measures to arrange it.

Removal proceedings are more complex and time-consuming.

  • A Notice to Appear will be filed with the immigration court by the government where a hearing date and place may be specified on the document. Usually, you'll also get a second document in the mail with a date and location for your initial hearing.
  • Afterward, your first hearing, known as a "master calendar hearing," will occur. You will debate whether the accusations against you are valid and if you are entitled to ask for relief from removal with the immigration judge and the government counsel. At the master calendar hearing, if you do not have a reasonable basis for claiming relief, you may be ordered to be deported. Alternatively, depending on the facts of your case, you may be scheduled for succeeding master calendar hearings.
  • The immigration court will set a deadline for you to file any petitions and documentation if you are potentially eligible for relief from removal. Your case will also be scheduled for an "individual hearing" by the immigration court.
  • The immigration judge will study your material, listen to your testimony, and determine whether to approve your application during the "individual hearing." You will be deported if the judge rejects your application.
  • You have the option of appealing or accepting the immigration judge's ruling. If you advise the immigration court that you wish to appeal, you must file the required documentation with the Board of Immigration Appeals by the immigration judge's deadline. You will not be deported while your appeal is underway as long as you file it on time. If you notify the immigration judge you don't wish to challenge the removal order, it becomes final, and ICE will start the deportation process.

What Are the Possible Deportation Defense of an Undocumented Alien?

Receiving a Notice to Appear (NTA) is typically the initial step in discovering you require defense assistance.

If you get an NTA saying that you may be deported from the US, don't panic. You have the right to contest the deportation cause, and our experienced immigration lawyer can assist you in preparing the strongest possible deportation defense.

When the Department of Homeland Security wishes to deport an immigrant, it usually does so for an egregious felony or a moral turpitude offense.

Our Georgia lawyers can assist in contesting your deportation case by claiming that the crime the person is accused of committing isn't a removable offense.

Among the strategies to challenge the NTA claims are as follows:

Argue That You Are Not Removable as Charged

First, demonstrate that the US government was wrong to place you in removal proceedings because you are not removable (deportable). The Immigration Judge (IJ) will ask you to acknowledge or deny factual accusations and concede (admit) or contest (deny) any charges of removability as specified on the NTA at one of your initial sessions in immigration court.

Denying the claims and contesting any removability charges is typically a sound approach. As long as you refuse to admit to being removable, the DHS' duty or responsibility is to offer sufficient evidence to establish that you are.

You are presumably removable if you are undocumented. It's conceivable, though, that the DHS charged you with removal for the wrong reasons. It's also possible that DHS won't be able to produce paperwork proving your removal.

You can ask the IJ to close the case if DHS fails to fulfill its burden of proving that you are removable. Even if they have provided proof and the IJ found you to be removable as charged, you can still opt for relief from removal as indicated in the next section.

Never try to persuade an immigration court that you are not deportable. If you mention something false, you will most likely forfeit whatever rights you had to petition for relief from deportation, such as asylum. Even though you can still bring an application for relief from removal, the IJ is unlikely to trust whatever you say because of your previous lie. The IJ might dismiss your application on that basis.

While honesty is essential, you must also know information detrimental to your cause. If that's the case, speak with our expert lawyers to assess whether you need to submit the unfavorable information to the court.

Request Relief From Removal

It is usually the IJ's job to inform someone facing removal proceedings what sorts of relief from removal they appear to be eligible for. We, on the other hand, delve deeper to provide a more detailed explanation of what sorts of relief are genuinely possible for your case.

If an attorney does not represent you, it is good to ask the court what form of relief you could be eligible for a while on the record. This will inform the IJ that you are aware that it is their job to advise you on every feasible remedy and encourage the judge to evaluate your case thoroughly.

Naturally, the IJ cannot determine what relief you may be eligible for until you supply information about different elements of your life, such as the length of your stay and the presence of relatives with legal status.

Prepare to provide the court with all the information they need to determine what relief you are eligible for. Undocumented immigrants in immigration court may consider the following basis for relief from deportation:

Family-Based Adjustment of Status

This is a method of converting from non-immigrant to immigrant status to get legal status in the US through a family member who is most likely a citizen. To be eligible for adjustment, you must have entered the US legally, among other criteria. However, there are several exceptions to the legal-entry criterion.

Asylum

This is a type of protection for persons who have escaped persecution in their native country or fear persecution in the future. Asylum gives you legal status in the US, a work permit, and a green card.

Withholding of Removal

Although withholding is similar to asylum in many respects, it is more difficult to acquire because you must prove the threat of being persecuted in your home country should you return. It also offers lesser perks than asylum because recipients are generally ineligible to seek permanent residency or travel outside the US. 

However, if you are subject to specific asylum restrictions, it may be your only alternative. Withholding allows a person to remain in the States and get a work permit.

Protection Under the Convention Against Torture (CAT)

This case is only attainable if it is "more probable than not" that the applicant's home country's government or another group outside the government's control will torture them. 

The reason for the torture would not make a difference as simply knowing this possibility is enough. This is different from an asylum case where you must prove that threats are well-founded based on certain grounds.

CAT is similar to withholding of removal where those who receive it cannot obtain permanent residency in the US or travel worldwide. However, most CAT recipients are granted authorization to stay and work in America.

Cancellation of Removal for Non-Lawful Permanent Residents

Suppose you have ten years of physical presence in the US and can establish that your removal would cause "extraordinary and highly unusual hardship" to your "qualifying relative" who is a US citizen or permanent resident. In that case, you may be eligible for a green card.

Cancellation Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

An application for VAWA cancellation must establish that they have been "battered or subjected to extreme cruelty" by a "qualifying relative" and satisfy other standards, such as three years of physical presence in the United States and high moral character.

Voluntary Departure

If all else fails, this is a means to depart the US without a previous order of removal tarnishing your immigration record (which can make returning to the US even harder). Discuss with us if voluntary departure will benefit you based on your immigration background and how you entered the country.

Deferred Action

The United States government has agreed to put your case on hold (neither give you legal status nor deport you). It's used on a case-by-case basis and has become considerably more challenging to get since Trump's election.

Prosecutorial Discretion

This is a decision by the government agency attempting to deport you to halt the process. You may be able to apply for work permits if you obtain prosecutorial discretion, but you will not be eligible for additional advantages such as the freedom to travel. 

Those whose cases are dismissed due to prosecutorial discretion usually do not have a criminal record. Still, there are no hard and fast criteria concerning who is eligible for this benefit. Prosecutorial discretion, like postponed action, is more difficult to obtain than ever before.

Private Bills

The United States Congress can help an immigrant avoid deportation by passing laws. This happens relatively seldom and only when the facts are highly sympathetic. Private bills are generally only considered if no other options are available.

How Our Skilled Lawyers Can Help You Present a Defense in Immigration Court

Before the removal hearing, our competent deportation lawyer will investigate if the DHS allegations against you are accurate and whether any unique circumstances in your life necessitate fighting your deportation.

These alternatives may not be evident to you, even after reading up on immigration law issues, due to the intricacies of US immigration rules. BUt our deportation attorneys will:

  • Assert that the charge leveled against you is untrue (for example, that the crime you were convicted of does not match any of the grounds of removability found in US immigration laws);
  • Demonstrate that you are a citizen because of a US citizen parent or grandparent;
  • Argue that you are eligible for asylum because you have faced or are reasonably afraid of persecution if you return to your native country;
  • Request a green card from a judge because you are a US citizen's direct relative or a "preference relative" with a current priority date and available visa number;
  • Assist you in applying for cancellation of removal, which allows aliens of high moral character who have lived in the country for a long time and have strong links to the country to apply for a green card; or
  • Request prosecutorial discretion, saying that, because of your good character, familial ties, and other relationships, the DHS should terminate your case and focuses on persons who pose a severe threat to US society, even though you have no legal entitlement to a green card

If you feel you may be eligible for one of these defenses or applications, our deportation lawyer can assist you in making the best case possible. We will fill out any necessary papers, assist with preparing evidence (documents that back up your statements), produce legal briefs summarizing the key facts and arguing the case, and prepare you and any witnesses for the court hearing.

If the IJ rejects your case, having a substantial quantity of evidence on the record will significantly increase your chances of a favorable result on appeal. This is your only opportunity to offer your testimony and legal arguments in their entirety.

Appeals do not provide you a fresh look at your case, and you will not be present; instead, the appeal boards and courts focus on whether the immigration judge reached the correct judgment based on the evidence presented.

Unfortunately, the government does not provide free legal assistance to immigrants. At the initial deportation court, which is essentially a scheduling hearing, there are opportunities to speak with a volunteer counsel. Nonetheless, it is preferable for immigrants to engage a professional attorney to defend them at future hearings.

Contact Our Georgia Attorney for Help Today

The prospect of being deported from the US might be frightening. If you face a deportation hearing or an administrative removability review, it may be beneficial to contact our expert lawyers to help out with your deportation defense.

Contacting our Georgia deportation attorney might be the first step in ending your dread of being deported and addressing any immigration matter.

Local counsel will be able to establish if you are eligible for a waiver or any other form of relief from deportation. To book a consultation and explore your risks of forced removal, contact The Law Office of Jeffrey B. Kelly now.

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Are you losing sleep because of your legal status? Worry no more! Our experienced immigration attorneys at The Law Office of Jeffrey B. Kelly can help you break free from your immigration problems. We will help you find the best possible way to live and work in the U.S. legally. Schedule an appointment with an experienced immigration lawyer in Georgia today!