Can I apply for adjustment of status if I’m in deportation proceedings?

A recent USCIS memo provides guidance regarding the handling of removal proceedings of people with pending or approved applications or petitions with USCIS. The memo discusses two key items: (1) expedited adjudication of applications or petitions of those in removal proceedings and (2) dismissal without prejudice of certain cases in removal proceedings.

Expedited Adjudication. According to the memo, USCIS will try to complete the adjudication of all applications and petitions referred by ICE within 30 days for people who are detained and 45 days for those who are not detained. This should help address one of the causes of delays in removal proceedings because many cases are continued pending the outcome of USCIS decisions on petitions. If decisions are reached more quickly on those petitions, the removal proceedings can move forward in a more timely manner.

Dismissal of Certain Cases. In addition, the policy also indicates that in some cases the government will move to dismiss the removal proceedings without prejudice. Not all cases will be considered for dismissal. In order for your case to be considered for dismissal:

    • You must have an application or petition filed with USCIS with a current priority date for adjustment of status;
    • You must appear to be eligible for relief as a matter of law and in the exercise of discretion;
    • You must present a completed Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, if required; and
    • You must be statutorily eligible for adjustment of status or a waiver must be available for any ground of inadmissibility.

Based on the memo, not everyone with a pending application or petition will be eligible to have their removal case dismissed. Some of the factors that may weigh against dismissal include: criminal convictions, evidence of fraud or other criminal misconduct, and national security and public safety considerations.

Are you facing removal or deportation proceedings and are interested learning more about whether you can adjust status to become a permanent resident? I strongly recommend that you contact your immigration lawyer to learn more about the options available to you.

About Kimberley Schaefer

Kimberley Schaefer is an immigration lawyer with offices in Boise, ID and Rexburg, Idaho. She helps future Americans become citizens by assisting them with immigrant visas, fiance visas, adjustment of status and green card applications, applying for immigration waivers, fighting deportation and applying for asylum. To contact her, you can call (208) 918-0852 or send Kimberley an email now.

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