When may immigrants qualify for cancellation of removal?

Permanent residents and non-permanent residents who face deportation may qualify for cancellation of removal if they meet several distinct criteria.

Removal is a threat that thousands of immigrants across the United States face each year. Just in the 2015 fiscal year, over 69,000 people throughout the U.S. were deported, according to data from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Fortunately, immigrants who reside in San Antonio may be able to qualify for cancellation of removal, which is a form of relief from deportation proceedings, under various circumstances.

Non-permanent residents

Non-permanent residents who have resided continuously in the United States for at least a decade might be eligible for cancellation of removal. However, they must meet several requirements. During his or her residency, a person must not have been convicted of an aggravated felony, and he or she must have exhibited good moral character. Several factors may be weighed to evaluate a person’s moral character, including the following:

  • Personal background. Among other factors, a person’s education, community involvement, family ties and law-abiding behavior may be taken into account.
  • Criminal activity. Even if a person has never been formally charged or convicted, an admission of crimes involving controlled substances or moral turpitude may prevent a person from establishing good moral character.
  • Certain convictions. People who have been convicted of certain offenses, including murder and aggravated felonies, cannot under any circumstances establish good moral character.

Besides meeting the above criteria, a non-permanent resident who is seeking cancellation of removal must show that the removal would cause severe hardship to the resident’s parent, child or spouse. Furthermore, the dependent who would experience the hardship must be a citizen or lawful permanent resident.

Domestic violence victims

Non-permanent residents who have suffered battery or severe cruelty at the hands of a parent or spouse may be able to qualify for cancellation of removal by meeting less stringent criteria. These individuals must have established good moral character while living in the U.S. continuously for at least three years. They must not have committed an aggravated felony or any other offense that would provide grounds for deportation. Furthermore, they must show that removal would cause themselves, their parent or their child extreme hardship.

Permanent residents

Although permanent residents face fewer eligibility requirements for cancellation of removal, they still must meet multiple criteria. These residents must have lived for at least seven years in the United States after being lawfully admitted, and their status as permanent residents must extend back at least five years. An aggravated felony conviction prevents a permanent resident from qualifying for cancellation of removal.

Challenging removal proceedings

Securing relief from deportation through cancellation of removal or other avenues may be challenging for many people, given the specific criteria that must be met and the complexity of immigration proceedings. As a result, people who face the prospect of removal should consider protecting their rights by seeking the advice and assistance of an attorney.