S F Bay Immigration Collage
We are not accepting new Deportation Defense cases at this time.
There has been an enormous increase in the numbers of people put into removal proceedings. This does not just apply to those who come into contact with the police. Anyone present in the U.S. without status may find themselves facing removal before an immigration court judge. Once proceedings commence with the “master” hearing it is necessary to state a response to the removal charges and to inform the Immigration Judge (IJ) what form of relief you will be seeking. This presumes that there is some form of relief for which you are eligible, and that is in fact helpful to you. It is very much worth finding this out before you agree to spend your hard earned money hiring an attorney to represent you. There are times when your money is better spent on other immediate needs, if your attorney cannot adequately explain his or her legal strategy. The more you can educate yourself about immigration law, the better you will be at asking your attorney exactly what it is that they are planning on doing for you.
Voluntary Departure
Voluntary departure is a limited form of relief which allows the applicant to depart at his or her own expense instead of having a removal order on their record.  But, failure to depart within this period of time granted by the IJ carries severe consequences which often outweigh the possible benefits. The voluntary departure order converts into a removal order and the person cannot return for a period of 10 years, nor is he or she eligible for most forms of relief for that same period. There are two types of voluntary departure--voluntary departure prior to completion of proceedings and voluntary departure at the conclusion of proceedings. The two types of voluntary departure have different requirements and provide different benefits.

Voluntary Departure Prior to Completion of Proceedings is usually sought by itself when there will be neither other relief sought, nor any other contested issues.

The requirements are that the applicant is not deportable as an aggravated felon; not deportable as a terrorist; able to leave at his or her own expense; concedes removability; waives all appeal issues; and makes no additional request for relief. Arriving aliens are not eligible for voluntary departure.

The maximum period allowed for this type of voluntary departure is 120 days.

The applicant must present a travel document to prove he or she will be permitted entry into the country of departure unless the country does not require it.

The AG (and DHS) may require the posting of a voluntary departure bond to be surrendered upon proof that the person deported the United States.

The request for this form of voluntary departure must be made prior to or at the master calendar hearing at which the case is initially calendared for a hearing on the merits. The applicant must abandon all challenges and appeals of any issue, and accept the voluntary departure decision of the judge.

Voluntary Departure at the Conclusion of Proceedings is generally sought as an alternative form of relief if other forms of relief are denied. It is requested from the IJ at the master calendar hearing along with whatever other primary forms of relief are sought. Seeking this form of voluntary departure does not mean that one must abandon any contested issues or appeals.

The requirements are physical presence in the United States for one year immediately proceeding the service of the NTA; the alien is and has been a person of good moral character for a period of five years immediately preceding his or her application for voluntary departure; the alien is not deportable based on aggravated felony or security-related grounds; the alien has the financial means to depart the United States and has established this by clear and convincing evidence; and the alien has established that he or she intends to depart the United States.

The requirements to show good moral character and the means to depart apply only to those who seek voluntary departure at the conclusion of proceedings.

The grant of voluntary departure at the conclusion of proceedings shall not exceed 60 days.

If an alien is granted voluntary departure and fails to depart voluntarily, he or she is subject to a civil penalty of not less than $1,000 or more than $5,000. In addition, he or she is ineligible for the following relief for a period of 10 years: cancellation of removal; adjustment of status; change of nonimmigrant status; and registry under.

ICE officials, including district directors, assistant directors in inspections and examinations, certain officers in charge, chief patrol agents, and directors and assistant directors for examinations at service centers may grant voluntary departure.

Adjustment of status can be granted by the IJ, based on a family or employment based petition or a self-petition approved by USCIS.

Cancellation of Removal for non-lawful permanent residents
This is a benefit that allows the IJ to grant permanent resident status on the basis of the exceptional and extremely unusual hardship a removal would cause to the parent, child, or spouse of a permanent resident or U.S. citizen. It requires that the applicant have resided in the U.S. for ten years and be a person of good moral character. This is a benefit that can be the saving grace for a family with a sick child who must continue receiving treatment in the U.S. Unfortunately, it has been used to lure non-citizens into paying large sums of money on the false promise that they will receive their residence simply because they have been in the U.S. for ten years. Nothing could be farther from the truth! Unless a very high level of hardship to the qualifying relative can be well documented, the application will be denied relief and instead, the IJ will issue a removal order or an order of voluntary departure. If that happens, you will have spent a great deal of money, that could have been used to help you in much more important ways. Don't let yourself become a victim of this scam. This process is very document intensive. Proof of continuous residence and of medical, mental health, or special education needs must be presented, along with expert testimony whenever possible. This is a very important immigration benefit, and it is also the basis for cheating people in need out of their money.
VAWA Cancellation of removal
VAWA Cancellation of Removal for battered spouses and children of U.S. citizens or LPRs provides for cancellation of removal by the Immigration Judge for immigrant victims of domestic violence and extreme mental cruelty.

This is different from VAWA "self-petitioning" that enables the victim to adjust status before USCIS without a USC or LPR petitioner.

The applicant for VAWA cancellation must establish the appropriate relationship to a U.S. citizen or LPR; battery or extreme cruelty at the hands of the U.S. citizen or LPR; physical presence in the United States of not less than three years immediately preceding the date of application; good moral character during the three-year period; not inadmissible under INA 212 (a)(2) or (3) and not deportable under INA 237(1)(1)(G) or 237 (a)(2)-(4) and extreme hardship to the alien, the alien’s child, or the alien’s parent if the alien is removed. The applicant must prove that he or she is deserving of this relief.

The regulations define "battery or extreme cruelty" to include the following:
Any "credible evidence" relevant to the application "shall" be considered by the IJ.

NACARA cancellation of removal is for individuals from El Salvador , Guatemala , and the countries of the former Soviet Union . These individuals be eligible to seek relief under the standards of the former suspension of deportation rather than the more strict cancellation of removal standards. The standards are different for each country.

El Salvadorans must show entry into the United States on or before September 19, 1990;  registration for Temporary Protected Status (TPS); registration as a class member in the American Baptist Churches (ABC) class action on or before October 31, 1991; or filing an application for asylum prior to April 1, 1990; and not apprehended at the time of entry after Dec. 19, 1990.

Guatemalans must show entry into the United States on or before October 1, 1990; and registration as an ABC class member on or before December 31, 199; or filing for asylum prior to April 1, 1990.

Eastern Europeans must show entry into the United States on or before December 31, 1990; filing of an application for asylum on or before December 31, 1991; proof of citizenship in the former Soviet Union or Eastern bloc countries under the control of the Soviet Union at the time of filing.

An applicant for NACARA cancellation of removal must prove to the asylum officer or IJ that he or she meets the requirement of seven years physical presence in the United States.

There is a rebuttable presumption of extreme hardship.

An alien who is a spouse or child of a principal alien granted NACARA cancellation of removal also may be eligible for cancellation without having to meet the individual requirement that the principal had to prove. In addition, unmarried sons and daughters (children 21 years of age or older) of the eligible principal aliens may be eligible for cancellation of removal if they can prove that they entered the United States on or before October 1, 1990.

Cancellation of Removal for Permanent Residents
Cancellation of removal is also possible for permanent residents in removal proceedings. You must prove lawful admission for permanent residence for five years or more; continuous residence in the United States for seven years after having been admitted in any status; lack of convictions for any aggravated felony. This form of relief is a balancing of the positive and negative factors, and allows the permanent resident a second chance.
An applicant must meet the following requirements in order to establish eligibility:
A few of the most common waivers are: