Forms of Relief for Avoiding Removal

Multiple forms of relief are available to foreign nationals in the United States who are facing removal. These forms are classified as either “discretionary” or “administrative/judicial.” Discretionary relief is available after removal proceedings have begun. Administrative or judicial relief is available after hearings have ended.

Discretionary Relief

Discretionary relief requires the individual to prove they are eligible for relief under immigration law. The individual must also show they deserve relief as an exercise of the Immigration Judge’s discretion.

Forms of discretionary relief include:

  • Adjustment of status: This form of relief changes the person’s status from a non-immigrant to a lawful permanent resident. To apply for this type of relief, several conditions must be met including eligibility for permanent residence and the availability of an immigrant visa at the time of application.
  • Asylum: The Attorney General has the discretion to grant those who qualify as “refugees” asylum status. Generally, individuals are considered for asylum if they are unable to return to their home country because of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political beliefs, or membership in a particular social group.
  • Cancellation of removal: Lawful permanent residents and qualifying non-permanent residents who meet certain guidelines may apply for this form of relief from removal. The criteria vary for both but generally require individuals to have been present in the United States for a specific number of years and to not have been convicted of any offense or crime that would deem them “removable.”
  • Voluntary departure: Granted by both Immigration Judges and the Department of Homeland Security, voluntary departure allows individuals to return to their home country (or another country permitting entry) of their own volition and at their own expense. Individuals who choose this form of relief avoid the stigma of mandated removal.

Administrative / Judicial Relief

Administrative or judicial forms of relief are similar to appeals in that they are used to challenge or change an Immigration Judge’s removal order.

Forms of administrative / judicial relief include:

  • Administrative appeal: The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) has the authority to dismiss or sustain an appeal of an Immigration Judge decision. The BIA may also remand the case back to the Judge or up to the Attorney General in rare cases.
  • Judicial review: Federal courts have some discretion over certain BIA appeals. Eligibility and procedures for applying for a judicial review are complex and varied and benefit from the assistance of a Philadelphia immigration lawyer.
  • Motions to reopen or reconsider: Individuals can file a motion to reopen a case based on new evidence or reconsider a removal decision based on alleged misapplication of immigration law. A removal decision will continue as expected unless a stay is granted.
  • Stay of removal: A stay of removal prevents the Department of Homeland Security from executing an order of exclusion, deportation, or removal. Stays are granted during the period a person can file an appeal, while an appeal is pending before the BIA, or before the BIA due to certification.

Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Assist Clients in Pursuing Relief From Removal

To learn about the most appropriate form of relief for your situation and get the application process started right away, enlist the assistance of an experienced Philadelphia immigration lawyer at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Delays or inaccuracies in applications or appeals may reduce your chances of remaining in the United States. We consider every aspect of your case and provide smart and timely legal counsel to ensure the best possible outcome. Call 215-925-4435 or contact us online to get the process started. Our office is conveniently located in Philadelphia and serves clients throughout Pennsylvania.