Defending Against Deportation (Removal)

Los Angeles Immigration Attorney David M. Sturnam

Deportation or “removal” takes place when the Federal Government removes an immigrant from the United States for violations of immigration laws. However, before an alien may be deported or removed, the U.S. Government must give him a right to a removal hearing before an Immigration Judge where it must present the charges against him and give him a opportunity to contest the charges and present any defenses.

At the removal hearing the alien has the right to have an attorney and interpreter present, has the right to present witnesses in his behalf, has the right to present any evidence on his behalf and has the right to confront any government witnesses.

A Notice to Appear (NTA), with the reasons for the removal, is issued by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and filed with the Immigration Court. The alien will be asked by the immigration judge to admit or deny the allegations contained in the NTA.

There are a number of reasons why a person can face deportation. The following are the most common:

  • Persons that were inadmissible at the time of entry to the U.S.
  • Visa overstay;
  • Commission of Crimes Involving Moral turpitude (CIMT), drug crimes or serious felonies
  • Fraud or use of false documents to enter U.S. or gain immigration benefit.
  • Violation of immigration status

Removal proceedings take place in the nearest Immigration Court. More than 250 Immigration Judges distributed in 53 Immigration Courts nationwide conduct proceedings and decide individual cases.

Filing for Relief From Removal

If an Immigration Judge determines that you are removable, there is still a chance for you to apply for any form of Relief from Removal, or any other form of discretionary relief.

The available forms of relief include:

  • Adjustment of Status from a non-immigrant to a lawful permanent resident, often petitioned for by a spouse, another family member, or an employer;
  • Cancellation of Removal available to both qualifying lawful permanent residents who have consistently resided in the United States for at least 7 years and qualifying non-permanent residents continuously present for at least 10 years;
  • Cancellation of deportation according to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), for battered non citizen spouse or child of an abusive U.S. citizen or permanent resident;
  • Political Asylum, for the victims of persecution in their country of origin and Withholding of Removal and Protection under the Convention against Torture (CAT);
  • Renewal of Petition to Remove Conditional Residence for those denied that relief.
  • Various waivers seeking to waive violations of immigration law.
  • Voluntary departure at your own personal expense and return to your home country, or another country.
  • Termination of Proceedings or administrative closure of proceedings based upon the government’s favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion. (P.D.)
  • Deferred Action (DACA) for childhood arrivals who are otherwise qualified.

The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) hears appeals of Immigration Judge decisions. The BIA, part of the U.S. Department of Justice, is the highest administrative body, which interprets and applies the immigration laws.

Motions to Reopen or Reconsider and Appeals

Immigration Judge’s decisions can be appealed or reconsidered.

Motions to Reopen or Reconsider can be filed with an Immigration Judge if there is new evidence that was not or could not have been presented or if the judge makes an error in fact or law.

The Board of Immigration Appeals has jurisdiction to hear appeals from decisions of Immigration Judges. The BIA can dismiss or sustain the appeal, remand the case to the Immigration Judge, or refer the case to the Attorney General.

Deportation proceedings are complicated, demanding and are critical to your right to remain in the U.S. lawfully.  It is highly recommended that if you are facing removal from this country that you seek competent legal counsel.

At the Law Office of Los Angeles Immigration Attorney David M. Sturman, we have represented clients before the Immigration Court for over 35 years. We know the law, we have decades of experience defending against deportation and our successful track record is unmatched.  Contact us for a confidential and free consultation at or phone us at 818 714-2226.