An immigrant who is placed in removal proceedings before an immigration judge must determine what, if any, immigration relief is available to her. This requires a factual and legal analysis which should be conducted with the assistance of a qualified immigration attorney. Some immigrants may be eligible for a form of relief called cancellation of removal which, if granted, will result in the immigrant being allowed to remain in the United States, and, for undocumented immigrants, will also result in lawful permanent residence. There are two forms of cancellation of removal and the eligibility requirements depend on whether the immigrant is currently a lawful permanent resident, or “green card” holder, or an undocumented immigrant.
As a general matter, an undocumented immigrant is eligible to apply for cancellation of removal before an immigration judge if she has been physically and continuously present in the United States for at least 10 years, has been a person of good moral character for those 10 years, is not considered inadmissible or deportable due to having been convicted of certain crimes, and if the immigrant’s U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse, child or parent will suffer exceptional and extremely unusual hardship if the immigrant is removed. The standard of “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” is not easy to satisfy. As such, the immigrant must work closely with her attorney in order to gather evidence and develop arguments regarding the hardship the qualifying relative will suffer if the immigrant is removed from the United States. An undocumented immigrant who is granted cancellation of removal will be allowed to remain in the United States and will also be granted lawful permanent residence.
In certain circumstances, lawful permanent residents may also find themselves placed in removal proceedings. Indeed, “green card” holders remain subject to the immigration laws of the United States. As such, a lawful permanent resident may also be placed in removal proceedings if she has been convicted of certain crimes. However, the immigrant may be eligible to apply for cancellation of removal for “green card” holders if she has been a lawful permanent resident for at least five years, has resided continuously in the United States for seven years after being admitted in any status, and has not been convicted of a crime considered to be an aggravated felony under immigration law. A “green card” holder who is granted cancellation of removal will be allowed to remain in the United States as a lawful permanent resident.
It is important to note that cancellation of removal is a form of immigration relief that is only available in immigration court. Further, as with most forms of immigration relief, cancellation of removal for both undocumented immigrants and “green card” holders is discretionary. As such, an immigrant who meets the requirements for this form of relief must also convince the immigration judge that she is deserving of cancellation of removal. This too requires that the immigrant provide evidence and arguments establishing that she is, indeed, deserving of cancellation of removal.
An immigrant’s eligibility for cancellation of removal depends on the specific facts of her case. As such, any immigrant who has been placed in removal proceedings should consult with an immigration attorney as soon as possible to determine what relief may be available, and to specifically determine if the immigrant is eligible for cancellation of removal. The attorneys of the Franco Law Group are available to discuss your case. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys.