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Avoiding Deportation

The definition of deportation as given by the United States Citizenship and Immigrations Services (USCIS formerly INS) is - the formal removal of an alien from the United States when the alien has been found removable for violating the immigration laws. (Though the correct term is now “removal,” I will continue to use the term “deportation” as that is the term most of the public is most familiar with.) In the case where an illegal alien or permanent resident finds himself/herself in removal/deportation proceeding there are several available forms of relief that one may use to remain in the United States. These are the most common:

  1. Cancellation of Removal for Permanent Residences;
  2. Cancellation of Removal for Non-Permanent Residences;
  3. Waivers of Excludability and Deportability;
  4. Adjustment of Status to Permanent Resident;
  5. Asylum and Withholding of Removal;

(Aliens must meet certain requirements to meet each type of relief)


Waivers are used when an alien who is otherwise removal from the U.S. can show that there will be a hardship to himself or a close family member if he was to be deported.

Cancellation of Removal for Permanent Residents

In order to be eligible for a claim of cancellation of removal, one must show:

  1. Been a legal permanent resident for 5 years;
  2. Has resided continuously in the U.S., in any status, for 7 years; and
  3. Has not been convicted of an aggravated felony.
Cancellation of Removal for Non-Permanent Residents

In order to be eligible for a claim of cancellation of removal if one is not a permanent resident, one must show:

  1. They have been physically present in the U.S. for 10 years.
  2. Has been a person of good moral character;
  3. Has not been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude; and
  4. If alien is removed a U.S. citizen will suffer an exceptional and extremely unusual hardship.
Adjustment of Status

Under certain circumstances, parents, spouses, widow or children of U.S. citizens who find themselves in deportation proceedings may be eligible to adjust their status.

Asylum and Withholding of Removal (Deportation)

Individuals who have a fear of being persecuted if they return to their country of origin, may apply for asylum. One must show that their fear is based on political opinion, nationality, race, religious belief, or membership in a particular social group. If granted, an asylum seeker can apply for adjustment of status. Withholding of removal is essentially the same as asylum except for two important differences. First, the alien is not eligible for adjustment of status if granted. Second, withholding only prohibits the USCIS from deporting an alien to a particular country.

If you need more information on this or other immigration matters please contact the Carabin Shaw 800-862-1260 - toll free

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