What Do I Do If The U.S. Government Has Placed Me In Removal Proceedings?

So, you have been placed in deportation or removal proceedings.  This means the U.S. government will attempt to remove you in the near future from the country based on a violation of INA 212 or INA 237.  The first thing you should do is hire an attorney.

Do not do this by yourself.  Immigration law is very complex and is always changing. Your status in the U.S. is too important to you and your family.  Here are some of the forms of relief you may be eligible for:

Cancellation of Removal

If you are are a legal permanent resident with a green card, you are eligible for cancellation of removal if 1) you have had your green card for not less than five years, 2) you have lived continuously in the U.S. for a period of seven years after being admitted for any status, and 3) you have not been convicted of an aggravated felony.

If you are undocumented, you are eligible for cancellation of removal if 1) you have been continuously present in the U.S. for a period of not less than ten years, 2) you have had good moral character during this time period, 3) you have not been convicted of a crime under INA 212(a)(2), INA 237(a)(2), or INA 237(a)(3), and 4) removal would result in an “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” to your spouse, parent, or child who is either a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident.

If you are granted relief based on the reasons above, the U.S. government will cancel removal proceedings.  In addition, if you are an undocumented alien, your status will be elevated to legal permanent resident and you will receive a green card.

Therefore, this is an excellent type of relief for undocumented aliens.


One of the most common types of waivers in deportation proceedings is the 212(h) waiver.  This form of relief is beneficial because it results in a waiver of your inadmissibility that would generally occur for convictions of certain crimes.  To be granted this relief, you must prove one of three theories.

 First, you can be eligible for a 212(h) waiver if 1) the crime you committed that renders you inadmissible was committed over fifteen years from the date of your application for a visa, admission, or adjustment of status, 2) your admission to the U.S. would not be contrary to the national welfare, safety, or security of the United States, and 3) you have been rehabilitated.

Second, if you have a spouse, parent, son, or daughter that is either a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident, then you can qualify for this relief upon a showing that a denial of your admission would result in an “extreme hardship” to your qualifying relative.

Third, you can show you are a VAWA self-petitioner.

If you are granted relief, the U.S. government may waive inadmissibility, consent to your visa application, or consent to your adjustment of status.

Asylum, Withholding of Removal, and the Convention Against Torture

You can apply for Asylum, Withholding of Removal, and the Convention Against Torture, if you have a well founded fear in you home country.  Asylum is for applicants that have faced past persecution or have a well founded fear of future persecution based on their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership to a particular social class. Withholding of Removal is for petitioners that can show that their life or freedom will be threatened based on one of the grounds for Asylum.  Relief under the Convention Against Torture is for persons that can show that they will be tortured if they return to their home country.

Asylum is easiest form of relief to prove.  However, Withholding of Removal and the Convention Against Torture provide the greatest benefits.  Asylum allows for the possibility of you remaining in the United States.  Withholding of Removal and the Convention against Torture mandates that you remain in the United States.

Adjustment of Status

In some cases, you can adjust your status to prevent deportation.  For example, if you are a legal permanent resident in removal proceedings, you can adjust your status to a United States citizen if eligible to avoid deportation.


Please note that by reading this blog you are not entering into an attorney-client relationship with Hubbs Law, P.A. This blog only provides general legal information. Every case is unique and you should request a consultation to ensure that you are getting the correct legal advice for your specific case.

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