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Cancellation of removal is a potential defense available to both lawful permanent residents (“LPR”) and non-permanent resident respondents in removal proceedings. However, permanent resident and non-permanent resident respondents must satisfy different eligibility requirements. Cancellation of removal is an attractive form of relief for respondents because a respondent becomes eligible for permanent residency if granted.
Cancellation of removal is highly selective and only a few thousand cases in the entire country are allowed this option every year. As a result, cancellation of removal cases can take many years to resolve. Even though selection is rare, don't let the statistics dissuade you. Contact Skinner Law Firm today to see if your situation is best suited for cancellation.
If you are eligible for cancellation of removal, your lawyer can make the best case for why you deserve this option. At Skinner Law Firm our cancellation of removal lawyers can review your case to determine if you are eligible and help you build the strongest possible argument for cancellation of removal. Call us today at (610) 436-1410 to set up a consultation.
With two locations, we represent clients throughout the Pennsylvania region, including Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Lancaster County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County, and York County. We represent clients before the Philadelphia Immigration Court, York Immigration Court and beyond.
Below is a brief explanation of the eligibility requirements for cancellation of removal; however, it should be noted that there exist several exceptions, which could permit or eliminate eligibility. It is imperative that you consult an experienced attorney at Skinner Law Firm to discuss your unique case.
If a person is currently a lawful permanent resident, he or she may be eligible for cancellation of removal if he or she meets the following:
In order for a lawful permanent resident to establish eligibility for cancellation of removal, the individual must prove lawful permanent residence status for at least five years. This requirement is substantively different from the continuous residence in the United States for seven years. The first requirement means the individual must have been lawfully admitted and inspected by an immigration official before permanent residence was granted. The alien must have retained that status for at least five years before being placed in removal proceedings.
The send requirement means the alien must have resided in the United States continuously in the United States for seven years in any status. Essentially, an alien may have resided in the United States unlawfully for a portion or the entirety of the seven years (and later remedied his or her unlawful status), and still be eligible for cancellation of removal. The continuous residence requirement does permit brief absences and other periods of non-residence under certain circumstances. As a result, calculating continuous residence can be difficult and an experienced immigration attorney should be consulted to determine eligibility.
A lawful permanent resident will be considered ineligible for cancellation of removal and put into removal proceedings if he or she commits an aggravated felony at any time after being admitted. Under INA §101(a)(43) some types of aggravated felonies are clearly stated, such as murder, fraud, and illicit drug trafficking. However, some aggravated felonies are not so obvious, and include “crimes of violence.” The term ‘felony’ is sometimes irrelevant. For example, certain crimes of violence are considered misdemeanors in a particular state.
If a person is not a lawful permanent resident, including people without any legal status, he or she may be eligible for cancellation of removal if he or she meets the following:
Certain victims of domestic violence are also eligible for cancellation of removal. Be sure to consult with an immigration attorney to explore your best options to remain in the United States.
Good moral character is a subjective concept, which is made by the immigration judge. Good moral character is determined based on a non-exhaustive list of factors, both positive and negative; which include but are not limited to, community service activities, clean criminal record, consistent employment, family ties, and satisfaction of financial obligations. However, the immigration judge is not required to weigh all factors equally. Based on the totality of the circumstances, one negative factor may warrant a determination of a lack of good moral character.
Exceptional and extremely unusual hardship is an incredibly high burden of proof. In order to succeed in court, one must prove to the immigration judge that removal would be more than a financial inconvenience or disruption of the family dynamic. The courts and attorneys, alike, have great difficulty determining what “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” actually means. Exceptional and extremely unusual hardship is a fact-intensive determination, which requires substantial evidence. Case law is consistently expounding upon the meaning of this burden and only the most knowledgeable and experienced attorneys succeed in these cases. Do not attempt this on your own.
The calculation of physical presence is different in every case. For most situations, the time is calculated from the date of the person’s arrival in the United States and the date of the Notice to Appear in immigration court. If removal is based on a criminal conviction, it is calculated from the date the crime was committed.
The period of “physically present” is broken if the person spends a certain amount of time (consecutively or nonconsecutively) outside the United States. Even legitimate reasons for leaving the United States—such as visiting sick relatives or attending to affairs in your home country — count against being continuously present in the U.S.
The requirement of being continuously present does not apply to those individuals who served in the Armed Forces (active duty) for at least 24 months and was honorably discharged. This exception only applies to a very small population of noncitizens.
Cancellation of removal is never automatic. The most important aspect of cancellation of removal cases is its limits. Under immigration law, only 4,000 cancellations of removal can be granted each fiscal year. With such a cap in place, cancellation of removal can be a highly selective process.
A grant of cancellation can take many years before a visa becomes available. Even when a visa becomes available, an immigration judge has wide discretion to deny a case. An experienced immigration attorney will not only assist you throughout this process but help and prepare your case for the best chances of success.
If you face removal proceedings, it is important to explore all options. A skilled immigration lawyer can increase your chances of success and allow you the right to remain in the United States.
Our immigration attorneys are experienced with cancellation of removal cases. With offices in West Chester in Chester County, contact an immigration attorney at Skinner Law Firm to help you fight for the best possible result in your case.
Call Skinner Law Firm today at (610) 436-1410 to set up a consultation.