| Read Time: 3 minutes | Immigration Law
defenses to deportation

Deportation is perhaps the most feared word for anyone residing in the U.S. without papers.

You must take it seriously if you receive notice of removal proceedings from the U.S. immigration authorities.

You are undoubtedly scared and uncertain of your future, but there are many defenses to deportation and even justifications for stopping deportation.

If you are wondering how to fight deportation, contact our experienced immigration and deportation defense lawyers at EMP Law to learn more about your options.

Fill out our online form or call (336) 724-2828 today to get started.


If you are eligible for asylum, you may remain in the United States. Asylum is an option for undocumented immigrants who have faced, or will likely face, persecution if returned to their home country.

You can apply for asylum affirmatively or defensively. In other words, you can proactively use it, or you can raise it as a defense to deportation or removal proceedings

Like many other defenses to deportation, asylum is considered discretionary relief and is not guaranteed. 

If it is available to you, seeking asylum could be a favorable option because it could make you eligible for the following:

  • The right to work here,
  • A green card,
  • Citizenship, and
  • Freedom to travel.

These benefits will also apply to your spouse or children in the U.S.

To qualify for asylum, it is your burden to prove that you have been or will be persecuted by your home nation based on the following: 

  • Race,
  • Religion,
  • Nationality,
  • Political affiliation, or
  • Social status (e.g., being gay).

Usually, you must apply for asylum within one year of entering the U.S., so time is essential. If you have been residing here for many years, you might not be eligible for asylum.

Cancellation of Removal

There are two forms of cancellation of removal—one for non-lawful permanent residents and one for lawful permanent residents. 

While certain factors apply to non-lawful residents and lawful residents, to qualify for cancellation of removal, you generally must:

  • Be physically present in the U.S. for a required number of years,
  • Be of good moral character, and
  • Have not been convicted of any disqualifying crimes (i.e., aggravated felonies).

If you reside here without papers (i.e., non-lawful permanent resident), you must demonstrate that your U.S. citizen spouse, dependent child, or parent would suffer exceptional and extreme hardship if you are deported from the U.S.

Contact EMP Law to learn more about the specific requirements for cancellation of removal. We are happy to answer any questions you may have and can help you avoid deportation. 

Further Reading: Tips to Find the Best Immigration Lawyer

U Visa

If you are a victim of a crime, you may be eligible for a U visa. Expressly, immigrant victims who have suffered abuse and have aided or been helpful to a law enforcement agency may qualify for this visa.

However, a U visa does not apply to all crimes, and you must meet specific requirements.

To qualify, you must:

  • Be the victim of serious crime that occurred in the United States or its territories;
  • Have information about the crime that is or will be helpful to police, prosecutors, or another investigative agency; and
  • Have suffered from significant physical or mental abuse. 

The U visa can also include your family members, spouse, and children.

Voluntary Departure

While voluntary departure is not necessarily a defense, it is an option to preserve your ability to return to the U.S. However, voluntary departure is typically a worst-case scenario option.

If you do not have any other applicable defense or chance of success, you can request to leave the country voluntarily. By selecting this option, you will avoid having deportation or removal on your record. It may be easier for you to return to the United States in the future or avoid harsh penalties should you return illegally.

Not Properly Served with Notice of Removal Proceedings

In a few instances, the immigration authorities might not have adequately served the Notice to Appear for removal proceedings. It is a defense to these proceedings to assert that the notice was defective or that you were not adequately served.

How to Stop a Deportation Order

If you have been ordered deported or removed from the United States, you have options. While it may not be easy to stop deportation, an experienced immigration attorney can assist you and give you the best chance possible to succeed

If you believe a removal defense applies to you, contact us online or call (336) 724-2828 immediately to get started on your case. At EMP Law, our team is ready to fight for you!

Author Photo

Helen believes in providing caring, thoughtful and thorough representation for each and every person. In particular, Helen focuses on helping individuals navigate the maze of rules, procedures and processes created by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and those facing criminal charges or deportation.