As a Miami immigration lawyer, some clients retain me when they’re already in removal (i.e. deportation) proceedings. If this applies to you, I can empathize. Being placed in removal proceedings means that there is a significant risk that you will have to return to your country of origin. This scenario may prove difficult to many who  have already spent a good number of years living and building a life in the United States. Fortunately, you can speak with a Miami immigration lawyer to discuss your options. I will touch upon some of these options below.

What recourse do I have if I am already in removal proceedings?

The first thing any experienced immigration attorney will do for you is to review the charges of removability or inadmissibility to determine if such charges can be contested. Sometimes, your immigration attorney can get proceedings terminated based on these efforts. If not, you will have to focus on pursuing relief in immigration court.  If you are eligible, you can apply for one or more forms of relief to avoid deportation from the United States. There are two broad categories for relief – discretionary relief and judicial relief.

What is discretionary relief?

If you are currently under removal proceedings, you can request a form of discretionary relief. You will have the burden of proving that you are eligible to receive the requested form of relief under the applicable immigration statutes. When requesting discretionary relief, you are asking that a hearing officer or Immigration Judge exercise his/her discretion to grant the requested relief. There are different forms of discretionary relief.

  • Cancellation of Removal –  This is available to both lawful permanent residents and non permanent aliens. If relief is granted, the removal order will be nullified, and you will henceforth be a lawful permanent resident. You and/or your Miami immigration lawyer will apply for cancellation of removal, and the immigration judge will make his/her decision during a hearing. Be aware that the requirements for lawful permanent residents and non-permanent aliens are substantially different. If you have any questions – do not guess. You are encourage to speak with a Miami immigration lawyer to discuss your options.
  • Asylum – If you have a well founded fear of persecution should you return to your country of origin, you may be eligible for asylum. In order to qualify for relief under asylum, you must demonstrate that you will be persecuted if you return to your country of origin based on your membership in a particular social group. This means – you must possess a personal characteristic that is unchangeable. This includes: your gender, sexual orientation, your political views, your religion, or having a birth defect. Your Miami immigration attorney will probably have some good insight as to the merits of your asylum claim.
  • Adjustment of Status – This form of discretionary relief is when you request to change your immigration status from a non immigrant to a lawful permanent resident.  If you qualify for adjustment of status, oftentimes your spouse, your employer, or another family members petitions on your behalf. Note – this form of relief may not available to you if you have a criminal history, fail to attend court proceedings, or if you were under previous removal orders. Speak with a Miami immigration lawyer to determine if you are eligible for this form of relief.
  • Voluntary Departure – I am touching upon this last, because this is often viewed as a relief of last resort. This allows you to voluntarily leave the United States, however, it does not have a bar to seek admission at a port-of-entry at any time. If you fail to depart the United States within the time granted, you will receive a fine, and a 10-year bar to several forms of relief from deportation. Before deciding on this course of action, I highly recommend that you speak with a Miami immigration lawyer to discuss your options.

What is Administrative/Judicial Relief?

If you need to overturn or challenge an order issued by an immigration judge, you may be eligible to seek administrative and judicial forms of relief. This type of relief is similar to the appeals process in other courts of law. Typically, this involves a fair amount of heavy legal writing and legal reasoning. As such, I usually recommend that an individual who seeks administrative or judicial relief retain a Miami immigration lawyer for the appeal process.

If you would like more information on different form of relief from deportation, please contact Miami immigration lawyer Michael G. Murray, Esq. at (305) 895-2500 or visit our website at

Coronavirus update: We are safely open for business! USCIS is still accepting new filings for all applications. Our office is offering virtual consultations for new clients so that you don't have to come to our office in person. Call us to schedule your virtual meeting today.
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