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There are some cases in which people who are in the United States unlawfully and find themselves in removal (also called deportation) proceedings can cancel or waive removal. Unfortunately for Tapia Avelar, Silvia Suarez Avelar and Laura Rangel Avelar, the young Utah mothers who were brought to the U.S. from Mexico when they were children and overstayed their visas, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has decided they have exhausted nearly all options for relief from removal available. At this point, the sisters’ only hope is for ICE to exercise prosecutorial discretion and not move forward with final deportation orders.

three young Utah mothers have lived in the U.S. since they were children. Now that they have children of their own, they face deportation to Mexico, a country they have never known as home.

What to Do if You’re Served With a Notice to Appear in Removal Proceedings

Receiving a Notice to Appear in Removal Proceedings is a stressful experience. The most important thing for someone in this situation to do is act quickly — find a qualified immigration to help you navigate the removal process and advise you regarding your options.

In certain cases, a person in removal may be eligible for voluntary removal — a process in which the immigrant voluntarily leaves the country (and pays for his or her own transportation, which can pose a financial hardship). Voluntary removal can be beneficial for those who do not qualify for any waivers or cancellations of removal or asylum, as they will not be subject to any future bar from entering the U.S. through official means. Often this is the best option for those who know that deportation is inevitable and need only go back to their country of origin to take care of expired visas or file other types of immigration petitions. Because there is a fairly short window of availability of this type of relief, you must act quickly to see if this option is right for you.

Other people in removal proceedings may qualify for waivers of removal in certain circumstances. The most difficult type of waiver to obtain is the extreme hardship waiver. Immigration court case law on the topic has evolved from a near-rubber stamp to a searching inquiry into the nature of the hardship that is imposed upon the immigrant and his/her lawfully present (or U.S. Citizen) dependent family members.

Another route to cancel or avoid removal is the apply for asylum. Asylum is a humanitarian-based immigration designation that allows foreign nationals to obtain lawful status in the U.S. if they have a reasonable fear of persecution in their country of origin based upon their membership in a certain racial or ethnic group, religion, political affiliation, gender, or have been victims of systematic rape, violence, genital mutilation, et cetera. An immigrant looking to utilize asylum as a grounds for cancellation of removal must carefully prepare his/her narrative and description of the current conditions of their country of origin which brought about their fear of persecution in order to establish the reasonableness of that fear.

Regardless, receiving a Notice to Appear in removal proceedings is a very serious matter. Seek the assistance of a qualified immigration attorney to assist you in the removal process as soon as possible.

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