Removal Defense

The Immigration and Nationality Act provides for the removal of certain individuals from the United States. There are numerous grounds for which an individual can be charged with removability and placed in removal proceedings. These charges range from simply overstaying the time one was authorized to remain in the United States, all the way to illicit trafficking in a controlled substance.

An individual is put on notice that he or she is in Removal Proceedings upon being served a Notice to Appear, or NTA. The NTA details the reasons why the government believes one is removable, and the place and time one is scheduled to appear before an Immigration Judge. (IJ) At the Removal Hearing, one can inform the IJ if he or she is entitled to any form of relief, on the basis of which the Removal Proceedings can be terminated. If the IJ believes there is available relief, then the individual must provide evidence to that effect. If no relief is available, the IJ either orders Removal or grants Voluntary Departure.

As a simple example, let’s assume that one enters the United States on a tourist visa, and he remains beyond the expiration date. One year later, while still present in the country illegally, he meets, falls in love with, and subsequently marries a United States Citizen. If he is placed into removal proceedings, he can request that the IJ terminate them, since he is eligible to become a Lawful Permanent Resident if sponsored by his United States Citizen wife.

Whenever one is placed into Removal Proceedings, it is imperative that a qualified immigration lawyer be retained. The experienced immigration lawyer will be able to determine whether any form of relief is available, and the means of being granted that form of relief and termination of removal proceedings.

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