Removal Proceedings

A person is in removal proceedings when he or she has been summons by the Department of Homeland Security to appear at the Executive Office of Immigration Review or Immigration court. This person is then called a Respondent. The document which summons the Respondent to court, lists the allegations made against the Respondent and lists the charges accusing the Respondent is called the “Notice to Appear.”

A Respondent that does not appear to his or her court hearing may be ordered removed from the United States by an “in absentia” order. Thus, it is imperative that Respondents appear to their court hearing as designated in the Notice to Appear or Notice of Hearing (usually received subsequently). Moreover, Respondent should always keep the court and the DHS on notice of any address change in order to receive all information pertinent to appearances in court and other court correspondence.

A person seeking relief from removal may be eligible for several forms of relief including: voluntary departure, cancellation of removal, suspension of deportation, adjustment of status, asylum, withholding of removal, protection under the Convention against Torture, certain waivers of removeability or inadmissibility.

Aliens with criminal convictions

Adverse immigration consequences may flow from certain convictions. As such it is imperative that an immigrant consult an attorney as soon as he or she has been arrested in order to ameliorate or avoid severe migratory consequences such as disqualification from certain immigration benefits, confiscation of lawful permanent resident status or orders of removal from the United States.

Detained / INS Holds

Now more than ever aliens that face an arrest (regardless of whether the arrest was unlawful, unfair or results in no charges being filed) are being processed by ICE in order to determine if he or she has ANY former convictions. If the database shows a history of convictions that potentially might trigger inadmissibility or deportability, the person will be “picked up” by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. DHS/ICE will then determine if the client will be expeditedly removed or if they will appear before an Immigration Judge.

Cancellation of Removal

Cancellation of Removal is a type of relief that is ONLY eligible before the Executive Office of Immigration Review or Immigration Court. Clients should NEVER be placed in court proceedings for the sole purpose of applying for this relief because regardless of the strength of the case, there is a risk that the client will be removed from the United States.

Cancellation of Removal is available for Non-Lawful Permanent Resident and Lawful Permanent Residents. The eligibility requirements are as follows:

Cancellation of Removal for Certain Lawful Permanent Resident

  • 5 years
  • 7 years
  • No aggravated felony

Cancellation of Removal for Non Lawful Permanent Residents

  • 10 years in the United States
  • Good moral character
  • Qualifying relative – U.S. or LPR spouse, parent or child


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