Receiving notice of a violation of immigration laws that will result in facing an immigration judge in court puts an immigrant in a potentially stressful situation.
However, there are removal defenses and reliefs and protections available.
Possible defenses for removal
The burden of proof lies with the Department of Homeland Security. The DHS must present sufficient evidence and documentation to prove that an immigrant is eligible for removal.
A possible defense in removal proceedings could be that the DHS failed in its duty to prove eligibility, that it charged the immigrant as removable for the wrong reasons or that the immigrant was not actually eligible for removal.
The judge determines if someone was eligible for removal and if DHS met the task of proving removal was appropriate.
Possible reliefs and protections from removal
If an immigrant is removable, several types of protection or relief from removal may be available. Proof of a threat to life and safety in the country of origin due to religion, race, political views, etc., may indicate eligibility for asylum.
Cancellation of removal may be an option for immigrants who have resided in the U.S. for at least seven years and meet a host of other requirements. An adjustment of status during a removal proceeding is an option to explore for immigrants with an established qualifying relationship with a U.S. citizen.
Voluntary departure allows an immigrant to leave the U.S. within a given timeframe. Immigrants must meet several requirements for consideration for voluntary departure, but leaving voluntarily allows them to avoid the consequences of a removal order and return to the United States at a later date.