Connie Kaplan
Connie Kaplan

What You Need to Know About Removal Defense

Aliens or those whom have made a life illegally in the Unites States for decades, both have much to fear when it comes to deportation.  Aliens fear being caught for illegal entry into the United States and the latter fears for their family’s future. Either way, it is important to know your rights and the removal defenses that fall under your favor. Immigration cases are treated as civil law, not criminal law. Even so, you have the right to present your defense to the court, thus you have the right to an immigration attorney.

Do you need an attorney?

Unlike criminals, the US government will not appoint any legal aid for you. You need to find and appoint one to defend you in court and guide you through all the paperwork and procedures of removal defense. An attorney will represent you in court and protect your rights. The majority of removal defense cases are hard to fight. If you or your loved one is facing a deportation charge, then you need to talk to a professional. The immigration law can be a bit too tricky to handle all by yourself, much less removal defense.

What is Removal Defense?

Removal defense is the process of deportation, it is also referred to as “removal proceedings”. Removal Defense are the facts you present to an immigration judge. Your defense will be against the charges brought by the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), a government agency that handles all immigration cases in the states.

The judge will rule for one of the following:

  • Termination of charge.
  • Relief from deportation.
  • Removal.

Your Removal Defense Options

Immigration law is complex. For example, if you have a visa violation, and wish to continue living in the United States then you need to know about removal defenses against this charge. Here are the most common removal defense options or otherwise known as as “requested relief” presented in court.

Adjustment of Status

You are eligible for a green card. You can apply to be a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) in spite of the removal proceedings. For more information on citizenship, read our guide here.

Cancellation of Removal

This relief is possible under conditions that:

  • You have lived in the country for a decade or more
  • Are without any criminal records
  • Diligently paying taxes
  • Have a relative who is either the citizen of the United States or holding a green card.

Having a relative in the states is critical. This relative stands to suffer serious repercussions as a consequence of your deportation. Needless to say, even LPRs can face removal charges if they violate the law in any manner. This relief is possible for special cases as well; such as victims of domestic violence. This is also called as VAWA Cancellation of Removal.

Asylum and Withholding of Removal

Asylum relief is offered to the people or person who may be persecuted by their home country. Persecution for reasons such as race, religion, political stand, or member of any social groups, etc. During these removal defense procedures you offer your testimony and other evidence that can help you get the immigration judge ruling in your favor. According to many studies, aliens who are represented by an attorney’s fair better.


A waiver on removal is possible as a removal defense to aliens who may have violated the law; whether criminal, federal or immigration law. Waivers can also be requested as a relief for misrepresentation.

Voluntary Departure

As the name suggests, you may volunteer to leave the United States if you have been charged with an immigration law violation. By  using this defense as a requesting relief, you essentially agree to the charge of staying in the country without permission and that you have no other defenses you can use for your aid. Additionally, the expenses for a voluntary departure are covered by you.

You may question if a voluntary departure used as a removal defense is a true relief, or not? Using this removal defense can help you lawfully return to the United States in the future. Although, this must be your only defense after you fail to qualify for other removal defenses. There are several removal defenses such as class action settlements, cases from NACARA, and HRIFA etc.

It is imperative that you seek an attorney to understand and be aware of all removal defenses. You need help to present the best defense in court.


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