Suspension of removal or suspension of deportation was a type of immigration relief for persons facing removal or deportation hearings.  It was eligible to certain aliens under immigration laws, in particular person who: had continuous presence in the U.S. for at least 7 years; demonstrated good moral character, and faced “extreme hardship” if faced with removal.

Is Suspension Different From Cancellation of Removal?

Suspension of deportation was replaced by a different form of relief called “Cancellation of Removal”.  This occurred due to the passage of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA).  This Act replaced suspension of removal with cancellation of removal.

Cancellation of removal is available for any lawful permanent resident who:

  • Has held LPR status for at least 5 years;
  • Has resided in the U.S. for at least seven years (may be under any type of immigration status); and
  • Does not have any convictions involving aggravated felonies

For non-permanent residents, the requirements for cancellation of removal are:

  • Continuous U.S. residence for at least 10 years;
  • Good moral character during these 10 years;
  • Is not subject to criminal bars related to a criminal conviction as outlined in immigration statutes; and
  • Ability to establish that removal from the U.S. would result in “extreme hardship”

Thus, cancellation of removal is a more permanent form of relief than suspension of deportation was.  However, cancellation may be associated with stricter requirements than the previous form of relief. 

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With Suspension of Removal?

Relief from removal or deportation can be very helpful for a non-citizen resident of the U.S.  However, most removal hearings will require the assistance of a qualified immigration lawyer.  You may need to hire an immigration lawyer if you or a loved one of yours is facing removal.  An experienced attorney can provide the legal advice and representation needed for obtaining the relief.