Diligent and Aggressive Representation in Tampa
Being involuntarily removed from the United States is unthinkable, especially if you have spent years building a life in the country. Many individuals placed in removal proceedings are eligible for relief, even if they currently lack valid status or have broken some element of immigration law.
Hiring experienced legal representation can help you secure a favorable outcome in removal proceedings. At DLA Immigration Services, we strive to help immigrant individuals and families placed in impossibly difficult situations. Our Orlando removal defense lawyer has over 25 years of legal experience and is prepared to fight to protect your life in the United States.
If you have received a Notice to Appear or have been detained, do not wait to call (407) 537-6565 or contact us online to discuss your defense options. We offer our legal services in English and Spanish.
A Notice to Appear (NTA) is an official court summons that requires you to appear in court. If you receive this document, you have been placed in removal proceedings. You must read its contents very carefully, as it will explain the grounds for removal and when and where your hearing will take place.
No matter what, you must attend the hearing described in your NTA. Failing to appear will preclude you from pursuing many removal relief options. It can also result in a speedy removal from the country.
At your initial hearing, the court will review the grounds for removal and assess the allegations. You and your legal representation may argue you are eligible for at least one form of removal relief or that the allegations are unfounded. The court may schedule subsequent hearings to further evaluate these claims before making a final decision.
Immediately seek legal guidance if you receive an NTA. Our firm’s team can promptly review the document and help you understand the grounds for removal. Our Orlando removal defense attorney can then immediately begin work on building your defense. Note that while you do have a right to legal representation in removal proceedings, the court is not obligated to provide a free lawyer. You must proactively seek legal representation yourself.
Grounds for Removal
United States immigration law is complex and constantly changing. It is also aggressively enforced, and even a minor violation can lead to your being placed in removal proceedings.
Any noncitizen can potentially be removed from the country. Generally, individuals will be targeted for removal if they fail to maintain valid status.
Grounds for removal from the United States include:
- Unlawful presence. When a noncitizen lacks a valid visa or status, they can be targeted for removal. This applies to situations where a noncitizen deliberately enters the country without valid status as well as scenarios where a noncitizen overstays an expiring visa. An individual also accumulates “unlawful presence” whenever they are physically located inside the United States without valid status. If they accrue too much unlawful presence, they can be rendered “inadmissible” to the United States and will have significant difficulty securing immigration benefits in the future. Inadmissibility can sometimes be overcome via waivers.
- Criminal convictions. All noncitizens, including lawful permanent residents, are required to demonstrate “good moral character” as a condition of their presence and privileges in the United States. Consequently, being convicted of serious or violent crimes can trigger removal proceedings. In some cases, multiple misdemeanors can be enough to warrant removal.
- Rejection of an Adjustment of Status petitions. Many noncitizens will seek to “adjust their status” while already in the United States on another visa (or, in some cases, without any valid status). When an Adjustment of Status petition is successful, the petitioner becomes a lawful permanent resident and can consequently remain in the United States. If United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denies the petition, the petitioner may be left without valid status. Consequently, USCIS may alert Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and target the petitioner for removal.
- Improperly seeking a green card. Certain types of temporary, nonimmigrant visas allow beneficiaries to seek green cards. Other nonimmigrant visas require that recipients confirm they have no intentions of pursuing permanent residency while in the country on a temporary basis. Efforts to circumvent this requirement constitute fraud in the eyes of USCIS and will often result in removal proceedings.
ExperiencedWe have over 25 years of experience fighting for cases just like yours.
EmpatheticAttorney Lugo-Auffant is very familiar with the immigrant experience and understands the challenges of coming to a new country.
AttentiveWe prioritize our client's unique needs and Attorney Lugo-Auffant has a hand in every single case we handle.
Every situation is different, and your unique circumstances will determine how we approach your case. Our team at DLA Immigration Services is well-versed in numerous types of relief strategies and can help you understand your options.
Our Orlando removal defense lawyer can help you explore many potential relief strategies, including:
- Cancellation of Removal. Longtime lawful permanent residents can potentially qualify for this form of relief if they meet certain requirements. Individuals that have been lawful permanent residents for at least 5 years and have been present in the country for at least 7 years may be eligible for a single “cancellation of removal.” Lawful permanent residents targeted for removal as a result of an aggravated felony conviction are not eligible for cancellations of removal. Noncitizens without green cards can sometimes become lawful permanent residents through cancellations of removal. To qualify, an individual must have been continuously present in the U.S. for a minimum of 10 years, exhibit “good moral character,” and have an existing citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse, child, or parent that would suffer “extreme hardship” in the event of removal.
- Adjustment of Status. Some individuals placed in removal proceedings qualify for one or more immigration benefits that would allow them to legally remain in the United States. If an individual has already accumulated too much unlawful presence, they may be ruled inadmissible. Fortunately, inadmissibility can sometimes be overcome through waivers.
- Asylum. If an individual has been persecuted in the past or fears future persecution in their home country on the basis of their race, nationality, religion, political opinions, or membership in a particular social group, they may be able to defensively seek asylum when placed in removal proceedings. Asylees can live and work in the U.S. and become eligible for green cards after 1 year of receiving their status.
- U Visas. If a noncitizen is the victim of a serious crime and can meaningfully assist law enforcement in investigating that crime, they may qualify to remain in the United States on a U visa. U visa beneficiaries that meet certain requirements can also potentially secure green cards after 3 years of receiving their status.
- Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Noncitizen subject to “extreme cruelty” by their U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent can be eligible for green cards or cancellation of removal. To qualify, an individual must exhibit good moral character, have been physically present in the country for at least 3 years, and establish they would suffer “extreme hardship” if removed.