It can feel like your life in the U.S. is over if immigration authorities are trying to get you deported. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and (USCIS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are powerful federal agencies that get thousands of immigrants deported each year. You might be feeling powerless, and like there is nothing you can do to fight for yourself or your family.

You can get deported, or removed, from the U.S. for a number of reasons, including:

  • Being in the country without legal status
  • Conviction for certain crimes
  • Terminated a conditional permanent resident status, such as by quitting a job

Whatever the reason ICE starts removal proceedings against you, it does not automatically end in your leaving the country. There is a legal process that includes a hearing before an immigration judge and the right to appeal if the judge rules against you.

Deportation relief options

Part of the process is your right to ask the judge for deportation relief. The forms of relief you may be eligible for include:

  • Asylum, or the reasonable fear that you would be subject to persecution or torture if forced to return to your country of origin
  • Adjustment of status that extends your ability to remain in the U.S.
  • Cancellation of removal if you qualify, based on how long you have lived in the U.S. and other factors
  • Voluntary departs, which can let you apply for re-entry sooner than if you are deported involuntarily

To know your rights, and make sure everything gets filed correctly, you need an immigration attorney’s support. A lawyer who knows immigration law will make sure you understand your rights and the best way to proceed.