Cancellation of Removal for Non-Lawful Permanent Residents

Cancellation of Removal for Non-Lawful Permanent Residents

For an immigrant who is not a lawful permanent resident and who has been placed in removal proceedings, cancellation of removal may be an option. Cancellation of removal is available only to immigrants in removal proceedings, and if an immigration judge grants cancellation of removal, then the immigrant will receive a green card.

To qualify for cancellation of removal, the immigrant must meet the following requirements:

  1. He must have been physically present in the United States continuously for at ten years prior to the service of the Notice to Appear (the document which begins the removal proceedings);
  2. He must demonstrate that he has had good moral character for ten years;
  3. He must not have been convicted of an offense under INA §§ 212(a)(2), 237(a)(2), or 237(a)(3); and
  4. He must demonstrate that removing him from the United States would cause exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to his lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen spouse, child, or parent.

The requirement of ten years’ physical presence is straightforward, as is the requirement that an immigrant not have been convicted of an offense under INA §§ 212(a)(2), 237(a)(2), or 237(a)(3). Examples of crimes that fall within these subsections of the Immigration and Nationality Act are crimes involving moral turpitude, controlled substance violations, two or more convictions that resulted in a sentence of five years or more, firearms offenses, crimes of Domestic Violence, child abuse, falsely claiming to be a U.S. Citizen, and so forth.

The requirement that an immigrant demonstrate good moral character is a bit less straightforward. First of all, some criminal convictions will automatically bar an immigrant from being adjudged to have good moral character, including, for example, murder, prostitution, or conviction of a drug offense other than possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana for personal use. Even if an immigrant has not been convicted of a crime, commission of certain crimes within the last ten years may also result in a finding that he does not have good moral character, such as illegal gambling or polygamy convictions. Even some non-criminal conduct may result in a finding that an immigrant does not have good moral character. Though it is not a crime, having been a “habitual drunkard” (i.e. an alcoholic) within the past ten years will also prevent an immigrant from being granted cancellation of removal. The immigration judge will determine whether an immigrant has good moral character based on the individual facts and circumstances of each case.

Often, the most difficult requirement to prove is the requirement that an immigrant demonstrate that his lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen spouse, child, or parent will suffer exceptional or extremely unusual hardship if he is removed. There are many types of evidence that may be acceptable to demonstrate that this requirement is met. Medical records, mental health treatment records, financial documentation, affidavits from friends and family members, and many other types of evidence may help support an immigrant’s case and illustrate to the immigration judge why he deserves to be granted cancellation of removal.

Even if the immigrant meets all of the requirements detailed above, cancellation of removal is granted or denied at the discretion of the immigration judge. The immigration judge will determine whether or not to grant cancellation of removal based on the individual facts and circumstances of each case.

The attorneys at Tanner Law Offices can assist you or your loved ones in your removal proceedings and can advise you as to your options, including whether you may qualify for cancellation of removal. We are experienced in representing clients facing removal proceedings. Please contact our office at 717-731-8114 to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.

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