What Are The Potential Defenses Against Deportation?
The prospect of the government suddenly deporting you can be scary. However, you might be able to present one of several defenses to either delay or halt the process. A deportation defense lawyer will usually tell their client to make one of these 5 arguments.
The Government Is Wrong
It is possible the government just plain made a mistake. Maybe a database misclassified a person as living illegally in the U.S. when they were fine. You should collect all the documents attesting to your legal status if this is the case. Make copies and provide them to a deportation defense attorney so they can help you assemble a case to protect your current status.
The government has to have a basis for removing someone, even if they might be in the U.S. illegally. If a police officer wrongfully arrested you, for example, you have the right to fight the criminal charges and the deportation. While it usually isn't hard for the government to prove removability, a deportation defense lawyer will at least want them to explain their case to a judge.
Pending Status Change
Generally, judges are fairly receptive to the argument that a person's legal status is undergoing a pending change. If you were in the U.S. on a work visa and then applied for legal resident status, for example, let the court know what the circumstances are. Once more, you'll have to gather copies of the associated paperwork. However, as long as you didn't overstay or violate the terms of your previous visa, there's a decent chance the judge will hold the deportation process pending the outcome of your current application.
Someone who has entered the U.S. illegally may still have grounds to pursue an asylum request. Typically, the judge will stay the deportation until another court hears the asylum case. However, you should present a credible asylum claim with the appropriate paperwork. Otherwise, a judge may dismiss the request based on the low likelihood of it succeeding.
Protection from Crime, Torture, or Reprisals
A similar approach is to tell the court that you would be the victim of some sort of oppression if the government returned you to your homeland. People at risk of being harmed or killed by criminal gangs or governments, for example, may seek to halt deportation proceedings to protect their lives. Similarly, there are rules that prevent deportations of people who might suffer reprisals based on religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, or other common forms of discrimination.