Suspension of Deportation

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What Is ?Suspension of Deportation??

You may have heard the term “suspension of deportation” or “suspension of removal”.  Suspension of deportation (removal) was a type of immigration procedure that applied to persons facing deportation or removal. 

Persons who would be facing “extreme hardship” if deported to their home country would be eligible for this type of relief from deportation.  They needed to meet certain other eligibility requirements, such as living continuously in the U.S. for at least 7 years. 

Suspension of deportation was commonly applied in cases where the person was already involved in a different legal proceeding, or was involved in an ongoing immigration case. 

Is Suspension of Deportation Still in Effect?

No- U.S. immigration authorities have discontinued suspension of deportation in the year of 1997 with the passage of certain immigration acts and policies.  In particular, suspension of deportation was phased out with the introduction of “cancellation of removal”, which is a more permanent form of relief from deportation.  Also, in later years, the term “deportation” was replaced by the term “removal”. 

What is Cancellation of Removal?

Cancellation of removal has replaced suspension of deportation.  It allows a person to be relieved from the removal process.  Cancellation of removal is available for lawful permanent residents (LPR).  They must meet certain requirements, such as: having LPR status for at least 5 years; residing in the U.S. for at least 7 years; and being free from criminal convictions that involved an aggravated felony.

In some cases, cancellation of removal is also available to non-citizens who don’t have LPR status.  They must also meet a specific set of requirements, which is stricter than the set of requirements for persons with LPR status.  For instance, they must prove residency in the U.S. for at least 10 years, demonstrate extreme hardship if returned to their country, and other requirements. 

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Removal or Deportation Issues?

Any type of immigration issue will generally require the assistance of a qualified immigration attorney.  This is especially true for cases involving removal or deportation issues.  You may wish to hire an experienced lawyer in your area if you or your loved ones need assistance with any immigration matters.  Your attorney can provide you with the legal advice and guidance that may be needed for your particular situation.  Also, your lawyer can represent you in court if you need to make an appearance before an immigration judge. 

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Last Modified: 12-10-2014 10:53 AM PST

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