5 Potential Legal Defenses Against Deportation

Posted on: 21 June 2022

If you're planning to speak with a deportation defense attorney, you will probably want to know the potential arguments in your favor. While no deportation defense lawyer can guarantee a particular result, they can suggest some argument options. These 5 defenses are among the more common ones.

Adjustment of Status

One of the simplest defenses is that your status has already changed or that you're awaiting a decision. If the status you're moving to doesn't require you to leave the country before re-entering, there's a good chance the court will allow you to stay. However, if the pending decision on the status change goes against you, there is a risk that you'll be back in a deportation proceeding if you don't leave voluntarily.

Still, a judge entering an order does buy you time to await the decision. If you're awaiting refugee status, for example, that could take a while. Also, if you achieve a more durable status, such as permanent residency, then you'll usually be able to stop a deportation proceeding in its tracks.

The Government Is Wrong

Another simple argument is that the government's case is just legally or factually wrong in a way that materially changes the matter. Perhaps the database flagged the wrong person, leading to a mess and an eventual deportation case. Similarly, the government's records could be wrong. The government might have the wrong date, and a deportation defense lawyer might argue that you're still within the limits of your visa.


Some proceedings follow from claims of past criminal conduct or bad-faith reporting on the initial visa application. This can happen if your country of origin forwards information to the U.S. that reflects poorly on your past. Some governments may even do this to interfere with a person's life. In these cases, petitioners may need to seek a waiver to avoid deportation. The court may allow a delay in the deportation process while you await the waiver decision.

Fear of Persecution or Torture

Anyone who can credibly present an argument that they would face persecution or torture if they return home has grounds for fighting deportation. This is a possible defense even if your previous visa application made no mention of such concerns. For example, the political or social situation in your country of origin may have changed in the intervening months or years.

Deferred Action

Some people are eligible for deferred action. This predominantly applies to people who arrived in the US as children because their parents brought them to the country illegally. Deferred action pushes deportation procedures off indefinitely, but it may be subject to changes in America's political winds.

For more information, contact a deportation defense attorney in your area.