Cancellation of Removal for Certain Permanent Residents
Cancellation of removal provides a way for permanent residents, i.e., those with “green cards” to show that they deserve relief from deportation.
Cancellation of Removal – Background
You can seek cancellation of removal only if you are in removal or deportation proceedings and have a hearing in Immigration Court before an Immigration Judge. You must have a green card, i.e., you must be a lawful permanent resident. To apply for cancellation of cancellation, submit Form EOIR-42B to the Immigration Judge, along with extensive supporting documentation to show that you meet all of the eligibility requirements and that you deserve the Immigration Judge’s favorable discretion.
Cancellation of Removal – Eligibility Requirements
To qualify for cancellation of removal, you must show that:
- 5 years of green card status: You have had your green card for at least five years;
- 7 years continuous presence in the U.S.: You have lived in the United States continuously for seven years after being admitted in any status; and
- No aggravated felony convictions: You have no criminal convictions, which can be classified as “aggravated felonies”
Cancellation of Removal – Common Issues
- Fraud: If you acquired your green card through fraud or misrepresentation, you aren’t considered to have been “lawfully admitted for permanent residency” and therefore, don’t qualify for cancellation of removal;
- “Time Stop” Rule: continuous presence is considered to have ended when either the government serves a Notice to Appear, the charging document that starts deportation or removal proceedings, or the green card holder commits certain criminal offenses;
- The five-years period of permanent residency may include time after a deportable criminal offense and after the government has issued a Notice to Appear, initiating deportation proceedings, and while the green card holder is waiting for a merits hearing in Immigration Court.
Cancellation of Removal – Discretionary Factors
To win a case for cancellation of removal, you must persuade an Immigration Judge that your positive equities outweigh any adverse factors. According to the Board of Immigration Appeals, common positive and negative equities include:
Positive Equities for Cancellation of Removal
- Family ties in the United States
- Residence of long duration in the United States, especially when begun at an early age
- Evidence of hardship to the applicant and family if deportation occurs
- Proof of rehabilitation if a criminal record exists
- Evidence of good moral character
- Service in the U.S. military
- Employment history
- Business ties or property
- Community service
Negative Equities for Cancellation of Removal Cases
- Nature of the grounds of removal
- Presence of additional significant violations of immigration laws
- Existence of a criminal record and, if so, its nature, seriousness, and recency
- Evidence of bad character
Cancellation of Removal – Tips on Preparation for Immigration Court
In my experience as an immigration lawyer glossing over what you’ve done wrong is a mistake. Instead, I generally provide the Immigration Judge with detailed affidavits from my client and others, explaining in detail what happened. If the incident is criminal or involved the police, I provide police reports and court-certified dispositions. Often, the best approach is to accept responsibility for what you’ve done wrong and show how you’ve changed. I try to create a record of proceedings that fully reflect my client’s flaws and mistakes and then to show compelling positive equities, which outweigh any negative factors.