Being placed in immigration proceedings can be one of the most stressful times in an individual’s life. The stakes are high as winning or losing is the difference between remaining in the United States or being deported. Being removed or deported has long-term consequences on an individual’s ability to return. Here are the top ten tips for resolving your immigration court case.
1. Get a bond if possible. If you or a loved one is detained, see if bond is possible. The worst thing for someone to fight their immigration court case while in detention where access to legal representation, documentation and evidence, and witnesses is most difficult. Not everyone is eligible for bonds due to immigration violations or criminal convictions.
2. See if you qualify for prosecutorial discretion. Prosecutorial discretion is a type of relief that the government uses to determine whether your case is a priority for the government to pursue. According to an updated memo released on April 4, 2022, the government is generous in offering to dismiss or administratively close proceedings. It’s a vital remedy to seek proactively. Please be sure that your attorney has asked the government to exercise its prosecutorial discretion. To learn more, click here: https://www.ice.gov/about-ice/opla/prosecutorial-discretion
3. Evaluate the defense available ahead of time. Before expending much money on legal Representation: Be sure you know what opportunities to stay in the United States and whether you have a fighting chance. If the best an attorney can buy you time and delay your case, you need to know what you are paying for in advance.
4. Cancellation of Removal for LPR. If you are a lawful permanent resident, see if you qualify for Cancellation of Removal.
5. Cancellation of Removal for non-LPR. If you are not a lawful permanent resident but have ten years living in the United States AND a qualifying relative (a USC/LPR child, parent, or spouse) who would suffer extreme hardship, you may qualify for Cancellation. One crucial point is that undue hardship is the most difficult to prove.
6. U visa. Suppose you were a victim of a violent crime and assisted law enforcement in investigating the crime. You can maybe apply for a U visa and have your court case dismissed or administratively closed. U visas take an extraordinary amount of time to process, but it may help.
7. Adjustment of Status. If you are married to a USC or have a child over 21 who is a USC, and you last entered lawfully, you may file a petition and demonstrate your eligibility for a green card and obtain your permanent residency in court.
8. Asylum, Withholding of Removal or Convention against Torture. If you fear being persecuted in your home country based on your race, religion, nationality, or being a member of a social group and have entered within the last year, you may consider filing for asylum.
9. Voluntary Departure. Voluntary departure is an effective remedy that can be sought at the beginning of your immigration case or if you qualify. It allows you to depart the United States within a time frame given by a judge and at your expense. It is an excellent remedy if you intend to leave. If not, be careful, as failure to depart will cause it to become the equivalent of a removal order.
10. Prosecutorial discretion. Because this remedy is so essential and valuable, please consider pursuing it. If you are receiving work authorization under a pending application, you will no longer be eligible to renew your work authorization if your case is dismissed. It will leave you without status, protection, or work authorization, but it may be better if you do not have a strong chance of avoiding deportation.