Today, there are almost half a million immigrants in the country who have been threatened with deportation and are awaiting a final ruling to determine their future. These people have been given deportation orders for any number of reasons — a criminal record, unpaid parking tickets, drunk driving, other traffic violations, immigration violations, illegal entry and older crimes for which the records may not necessarily reflect their current abilities and contributions to their communities.
According to statistics in recent years, less than half of all immigrants who have been deported were actually convicted or charged with felonies and misdemeanor crimes.
Deportation remains a very real threat for those who have come to America without legal papers or documentation. For those who have built lives and families here, the loss is more than simply a country -- it’s a career, children, a spouse, friends, neighbors, a community — all of which is at stake. Below are a few tips for stopping a deportation order and extending your time in the United States so that you can build your case.
Political Asylum: You may be able to seek political asylum to protect your place in the country. Over the last several years, asylum grants have become more popular as a way to thwart a deportation order. To obtain asylum, you must demonstrate persecution in your former country for your race, religion, political affiliations, social standing or nationality.
Waivers and Exceptions: There are several options to apply for waivers and exceptions to avoid being deported. The list below outlines the most popular documents and what they require:
- Waiver of removal/212(c) pardon – This is for green card holders who have committed certain crimes. To qualify, you must demonstrate that the good you’ve done while in the country outweighs your criminal acts.
- Cancellation of removal – For nonpermanent residents, a cancellation of removal petition can be sought by asking an immigration judge to grant a green card. Petitioners must demonstrate that they have been in the United States for 10 years or more and that they have exhibited moral character and behavior during that time. This can also be granted due to exceptional hardship, usually in situations involving children born in the country.
- U Visa – Immigrant victims of violent crimes can apply for a U Visa and agree to cooperate with law enforcement officials. This will prevent a victim from being deported and may allow him or her to obtain a green card.
Volunteer to Leave: If the rest of your options fail, many immigration specialists recommend volunteering to leave instead of being forced out. If you leave the country without being deported, it is typically easier to apply for re-entry later on. Additionally, if you have family members still in the country, visiting them in the future may be easier if you are not officially deported.
At Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman, PA, we represent anyone who may be facing deportation. For more information on deportation and your options to avoid it, contact a New Jersey deportation attorney at our firm today.