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Relief from removal decisions in immigration cases

Individuals who have been determined removable aliens in South Carolina may be eligible to avoid leaving the United States by securing one of a few types of relief available. In general, the categories of relief include discretionary and administrative or judicial.

Discretionary relief may be granted during the pendency of removal proceedings. There are a few types of discretionary relief that may be available depending on the particular facts. An individual who qualifies as a refugee may be granted asylum. An individual may also apply for cancellation of removal or adjustment of status, which are judicial processes by which an individual may be adjusted to permanent resident status. Those who have been involved in criminal activity or failed to appear for an ordered proceeding may be ineligible for adjustment of status. The final type of discretionary relief is voluntary departure. The individual is allowed to leave the United States without the immigration judge issuing a formal removal order. The individual may later seek admission at a port-of-entry.

After the conclusion of the removal hearings an individual may be granted administrative or judicial relief. These are similar to appeals in that they ask the Board of Immigration Appeals to overturn a judge's ruling. The BIA must receive the appeal within 30 days of the decision being appealed.

Appeals from BIA rulings are directed to the federal courts. Individuals have 30 days from the entering of the final decision for removal in which to file an appeal to the court. An attorney who has experience in removal defense may be able to help an individual determined removable pursue an application for relief. The attorney can argue on behalf of the client during immigration proceedings or assist with the drafting and filing of necessary legal documents.

Source: FindLaw, "Avoiding Removal", accessed on Feb. 13, 2015

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