Immigrant Rights: 4 Defenses and Ways to a Green Card

Whether you or your loved one has a green card or still need one, it is crucial that you understand the law and immigrant rights.

1. To apply for green card if eligible – examples of immigrant rights include:

a. lawful entrants who overstay visas and then marry United States Citizens (including same sex marriages )
b. border crossers who marry United States Citizens who are then allowed to file the 601A waiver

2. To waivers of a host of crimes, fraud, and other grounds of “inadmissibility” – merely being eligible does not mean you will win the waiver. Conditions must be met – which I have written about in other blog posts – but a thoroughly prepared waiver is often granted as a precursor to immigrant rights such as a green card.

3. To a hearing before an Immigration Judge (unless entrant under Electronic System for Travel Authorization – formerly known as visa waiver – who are subject to expedited removal by Customs and Border Protection but may certainly apply for green card as noted in 1a above).

In this instance immigrant rights include:

a. Political Asylum
b. Withholding Of Removal
c. Convention Against Torture
d. Cancelation of Removal  for nonpermanent residents (which replaced the old suspension of deportation)
e. Cancelation of Removal  for permanent residents (which replaced the old 212(c) waiver)
f. 212(h) waivers

NOTE: 3a, b, and c are fear-based developments of immigrant rights having to do with persecution and/or torture in one’s homeland.  3d, e, and f require a balancing of equities by the Immigration Court and/or extreme hardship to a qualifying relative such as a spouse, parent or child.

4. To reasonable fear review (even if caught with final order of removal or deportation) – this exercise of immigrant rights generally has to do with people who are caught in the United States after having been previously deported.  They may seek protection by demonstrating similar criteria as mentioned above in 3a, b, and c.


This is the moment at which you must:

SEEK the advice of a team of experienced lawyers with exclusive practice dedicated to immigrant rights.


Written by: Harlan York

Immigration Attorney Harlan York is Former Chair, Immigration Section, NJ State Bar Association and Former Co-Chair, NY State Bar Association CFLS Immigration Committee. Mr. York appeared on National Television on CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose and Primer Impacto on Univision, as well as Telemundo, NBC, and PBS. He was honored as First Ever Immigration Lawyer of The Year in NJ by Best Lawyers.

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