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Defenses to deportation: part one

Unless a person has gone through the complicated -- and lengthy -- process of becoming a U.S. citizen or securing an appropriate visa, his or her status in this country will likely be of serious concern. People without permission or proper documentation can face swift and harsh penalties should immigration agencies learn of their status and many people will be detained and faced with the possibility of deportation.

However, it is crucial for people to understand that there are possible defenses to deportation that can keep a person in the U.S. and even get on track to becoming a citizen. In this post, we will look at some potential actions people can explore in an effort to stop or avoid removal.

One way to stop deportation is to pursue certain types of visas based on extenuating circumstances. For example, a person can apply for asylum or a U visa.

A person pursuing asylum status can apply even if they are already in the U.S. but they must be able to demonstrate that returning to their home country would put them or their families in danger. Many people pursue this option if they have legitimate fears that they will face persecution based on their religion, social views, nationality, political beliefs or race if they are sent home. In successful cases, the asylum is granted and the person can stay in the U.S.

A U visa can be appropriate for people who may have been brought here against their will or to engage in certain types of criminal activities. Those who are granted U visas must be able to show that they have been victims of a crime themselves and must also agree to work with law enforcement agents to stop similar crimes.

Additionally, if a person is about to lose temporary nonimmigrant status and could be deported, it is possible to seek an adjustment of status with the help of family members, employers or spouses who can file a petition requesting that a person's status be changed to permanent resident.

These are a few ways that people can take action to avoid removal before or during removal proceedings. In our next post, we will look at others that may be more useful if a deportation has already been ordered.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Avoiding Removal," accessed on July 13, 2015

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