Cancellation of Removal
Previously know as "deportation", "removal proceedings" mean that ICE has begun the process of removing you from the United States and returning you to your country of citizenship. Sometimes you can stop the proceedings and remain in the United States, a process known as "cancellation of removal". Cancellation of removal is available to both legal permanent residents and non-permanent residents who meet certain conditions and is also contingent on the reason you are facing removal proceedings.
If you are a permanent resident, you may be eligible for cancellation of removal (EOIR-42a) if you:
- Have lived in the United States for at least 7 years
- Have been a Legal Permanent Resident for at least 5 years
- Have not been convicted of an "aggravated felony"
- Merit favorable exercise of discretion
One of the greatest barriers to cancellation of removal relief for most LPR's is the 7 years of continuous residence requirements. This is because of the "time stop" rule. The continuity of time stops when the foreign national commits certain crimes (crimes of moral turpitude, multiple crimes, aggravated felonies), or when the foreign national is served with removal papers. Aggravated felonies also drastically limit many LPR's in removal proceedings from qualifying for relief. Many crimes, even those that may appear minor or may even be misdemeanors fall into the INS definition of aggravated felony. And since most LPR's who are in Removal Proceedings are there because they committed a crime, the time stop rule can be an issue. The last qualification, discretionary factors, encompasses things such as family ties in the US, employment history, service in the armed forces, hardship to family in the US if deported, value and service to the community, and other evidence of good moral character.
Non-permanent residents must meet more-stringent conditions to be eligible for cancellation of removal (EOIR-42b):
- Must have lived in the U.S. for at least 10 years
- Must have been a person of good moral character for this entire time
- Must not have committed any crimes that would bar you from residing in the U.S.
- Must establish that your removal would result in "exceptional and extremely unusual hardship" for your spouse, children, or parents living in the U.S. as citizens or legal permanent residents
The last criteria, exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to a USC or LPR spouse, parent or child is and extremely hard standard to meet. Lower standards of living or adverse country conditions are generally not enough to meet the standard. Factors that meet the exceptional and extremely unusual hardship standard include a serious illness to a child for which treatment would not be available if the child was forced to accompany his or her parent back to their country of origin.
The removal process begins when one is served with a Notice to Appear (an "NTA") before an immigration judge. The NTA has a date and time to appear in immigration court before an immigration judge for a Master Calendar Hearing. If you receive an NTA for any reason, you should immediately seek to retain an immigration attorney who is experienced in Removal Proceedings. Each case is unique and the law is extremely difficult to apply.
Kalita Law Group knows the ins-and-outs of the complex criteria that determine if you are eligible for cancellation of removal and can help you obtain relief from removal proceedings. You can contact us at: (312) 829-2465 or through our contact form and we can discuss the details of your situation and help you figure out if you might be eligible for cancellation of removal.