Cancellation of Removal
What is Cancellation of Removal?
A person who is facing removal (deportation) from the U.S. may be entitled to cancellation of removal. Cancellation of removal is a form of discretionary relief wherein the person’s removal orders are stopped or cancelled. This is a relatively new form of relief from removal that replaces the older form of deportation relief, “suspension of deportation”.
For example, suppose that a person is facing removal charges because they overstayed their visa. If the immigration judge grants them cancellation of removal, they will no longer be subject to removal from the U.S.
Cancellation of removal is not available for all aliens who face removal. Different standards of eligibility are applied to lawful permanent residents (LPR) as opposed to non-LPR’s. A person who is granted cancellation of removal may often become eligible for permanent residency in the U.S. Cancellation of removal may either be temporary or permanent.
What are the Requirements for Cancellation of Removal?
The requirements for cancellation of removal differ depending on whether the alien is a lawful permanent resident (LPR) or a non-permanent resident. Removal hearings may sometimes be appealed depending on the circumstances.
Lawful permanent residents who face removal are eligible for cancellation of removal if the person:
- Has been an LPR for at least 5 years;
- Has continuously (without break) resided in the U.S. for a minimum of 7 years after their lawful admittance into the country; AND
- Has never been convicted of an “aggravated felony” (the term “aggravated felony” is more broadly defined in immigration law than in normal criminal settings)
For non-permanent residents facing removal, cancellation is only available if the person;
- Has been continuously present in the country for at least 10 years;
- Has demonstrated that they are person of “good moral character” during the 10 years;
- Has never been convicted of a violation that would make them subject to removal; AND
- Is able to demonstrate that removal from the U.S. would result in exceptional or extremely unusual hardship to them or to their immediate family members who are U.S. citizens or LPRs (spouse, parent or child).
Thus, failure to meet any of these eligibility requirements would prevent the person from obtaining relief from removal. For example, if an LPR had initially entered the U.S. in an illegal manner, they may be ineligible for cancellation of removal later on.
Finally, different standards are sometimes used when the alien seeking cancellation is a victim of domestic abuse.
Do I need a Lawyer for Cancellation of Removal hearings?
Immigration laws can sometimes be difficult to understand for many people. As you can see, eligibility for cancellation of removal depends on several different factors. You may wish to consult with an immigration lawyer for advice if you are facing removal. Cancellation of removal can help restore an alien to a more favorable status under immigration laws. Your attorney can help you prepare your defense for a removal hearing.
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Last Modified: 04-10-2013 02:43 PM PDT
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