Removal and Deportation Defense

“We aggressively defend those in removal/deportation proceedings with all available forms of relief. The Immigration and Nationality Act (I.N.A.) does provide relief from removal and deportation. An Immigration Judge may grant such relief. An experienced immigration/criminal defense attorney can make the difference.”

Such forms of available relief include, but are not limited to:

  • Post Conviction Relief to eliminate the criminal convictions that provide the basis for deportation and removal proceedings. Various remedies may be available including motions to vacate the convictions. Click here to see our Post Conviction Relief and Motions

  • Cancellation of Removal is an important legal remedy for both permanent and non-permanent residents who are in immigration court removal (deportation) proceedings. This important form of relief is available for aliens who have resided continuously in the U.S. for at least five (5) years as lawful permanent residents and have resided continuously in the U.S. in any lawful status for at least seven (7) years. In addition, a lawful permanent resident must not have been convicted of an aggravated felony. 

  • If you do not qualify as a permanent resident, then cancellation of removal as a non-permanent resident may still be available to you even if you are a permanent resident. In order to qualify, an alien must have resided in the U.S. continuously for ten (10) years in any capacity even though the person may have entered the U.S. illegally. You must establish good moral character which includes a strong work history in the U.S. during those years. You must also demonstrate that your removal would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to your qualifying relatives residing in the U.S. While these hardship requirements are very substantial, aliens who have U.S.C. spouses, children, grand children, and parents residing in the U.S. may be eligible for this form of relief. 

  • Suspension of Deportation (See waivers discussion below).

  • Use of waivers against excludability, inadmissibility, and deportability such as the recently revived waiver under section 212(c) of the I.N.A. for relief even from aggravated felony convictions which occurred before April, 1996. This all important waiver is available to eliminate deportation for even aggravated felony conviction(s) if: 1) The conviction(s) was sustained (plea of guilty or no contest) before April 24, 1996 2) You were a lawful permanent resident at the time of the guilty or nolo plea 3) You did not serve more than five (5) years in state prison for any one conviction, and 4) You have at least seven (7) years of continuous lawful residence in the U.S. from the date the removal proceedings commenced (receipt of the Notice to Appear in immigration court).

  • Also available are the 212(i) and 212(h) extreme hardship waivers for those who may have committed fraud or made material misrepresentations in an immigration application process or may have committed crimes involving moral turpitude.

  • Filing for adjustment of status to permanent residence. Adjustment can be used in immigration removal proceedings to avoid deportation, if you have not sustained an aggravated felony conviction after April 24, 1996. Click here to see adjustment of status page. 

  • Filing applications for asylum and withholding of deportation. These important forms of relief are available if you have a well founded fear of persecution by the government in your home country. Click here to see the asylum relief page. [See Removal Defense]

  • Seeking protections under the recently adopted Convention Against Torture (C.A.T.) can provide relief from removal, even if you have sustained an aggravated felony conviction. However, the standard of proof required to obtain this form of relief is considerably more difficult than any of the others. To obtain C.A.T. relief, you must demonstrate that it is more likely than not that you will be tortured, killed or sustain great bodily injury if you are returned to your home country; and, where none of these remedies are available, do not forget:

  • Voluntary Departure. This form of relief, if granted by the immigration judge, will avoid a removal order and thereby allow you to return to the U.S. without a mandatory five (5) year bar of reentry which would otherwise result from a removal or deportation order. 

  • Final orders of removal (deportation) made by an Immigration Judge may be appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals (B.I.A.) and to the appropriate U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals where constitutional violations may be raised and stays of deportation pending appeal may be obtained.

  • We emphasize the filing of Motions to Reopen as part of our exclusive immigration and criminal defense practice. The motions are critically important because they prevent immediate deportation. They also, when granted, reopen the immigration court case so that our clients can then put on defense(s) that they were not able to do in their first case when they were deported.

  • Motions to Terminate Immigration Removal Proceedings:
    A Motion to Terminate asks an immigration court to “terminate” (i.e., dismiss) your immigration court case because the government’s underlying charges are defective. Although the government can sometimes amend their case after a Motion to Terminate is granted, there are many instances where the government will not be able to do so because its sole charge is legally deficient. This is particularly true when a Motion to Terminate is based upon the successful vacation of the underlying criminal conviction(s) in the criminal courts.

    Motions to Terminate may also be particularly helpful for an individual who does not have strong defenses to deportation or removal because motions to terminate often deal with purely legal issues relating to the NTA. A Motion to Terminate can provide significant strategic advantages, particularly for immigrants with criminal convictions, and creates rare opportunities to hold the government to its burden of proof.

    We first file Motions to Vacate our clients’ conviction(s) in the criminal courts. We then file Motions to Terminate (Dismiss) their Removal (Deportation) Proceedings in the Immigration Court. We then file for our clients’ Naturalization(s) with USCIS because they are no longer ineligible to apply. [See Reviews and Ratings on our Website for actual case examples.]

    We file Motions to Terminate as often as possible for our clients at the beginning of most Immigration Court Removal cases because they are a very effective defense that results in immediate closing (dismissal) of the removal (deportation) proceedings at the beginning of the case and also results in substantial savings for our clients who do not have to pay for additional legal services to be defended at an Individual Hearing (trial) in the Immigration Courts which can be very costly.


E-mail: Stephen Eckdish, Esq. – seckdish@sfatty.com
Benjamin Hall, Esq. – bhall@sfatty.com

649 Mission Street, 5th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105
Telephone: (415) 776-1633
Facsimile: (415) 974-6745
Click here for Map and Directions to the Office