As an undocumented individual, you may feel that your options have been severely limited by your situation. While your situation may seem bleak as an undocumented immigrant (an immigrant with no immigration status in the United States), you do have options.
Your first course of action is to contact a lawyer. A lawyer who specializes in deportation defense has most likely dealt with 100’s of immigrants and knows the pros and cons of each defense.
Removal Proceedings are Incorrect
As long as you have documentations and reasons under the law for why you should not be removed, you can make a claim that you are not legally removal. For instance, if you demonstrated that the U.S government was incorrect in including you in removal proceedings because of a technicality or another reason, you can make a claim in immigration court. At court, you will be asked (or your lawyer will be asked) whether the claims against you for removal are correct or incorrect. If you deny the allegations in favor of removability, the Department of Homeland Security must demonstrate that you are actually removable.
Relief from Removal
Requesting relief from removal means that while you have been placed in proceedings for deportation, you may qualify to stay in the United States under certain circumstances.
Depending your situation, some circumstances can include:
- A request for asylum. Asylum is a form of protection which allows a person to stay in the United States if they have a legitimate reason for fearing persecution in their own home country.
- A request for an adjustment of status under s. 245 under the Immigration and Nationality Act. An adjustment of status occurs when a person has entered the U.S legally. (Examples of this includes when a person has over-stayed their visa, or have stayed in the country longer than they should have).
- A request for an adjustment of status under s. 249 under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
This method allows a person to get a green card if they have entered the United States prior to January 1st 1972, and have met other requirements including residency requirements, admissibility, and good moral character.