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Defending Yourself Against Deportation

On January 25th, 2017, Mr. Trump signed two executive orders pertaining to immigration: one on border security and the other focused on security within the United States. This second order included language instructing DHS and State officials to strictly comply with and enforce U.S. immigration laws, and added new enforcement priorities for the removal of “criminal” aliens. It is important for both legal and undocumented people to know that if they find themselves in deportation proceedings, there are several remedies that they may seek and qualify for through the decision of an immigration judge. Here, we discuss one: Cancellation of Removal.

There are two types of Cancellation of Removal in Immigration Court. One is used to “cancel” the removal of someone who is not a legal permanent resident (LPR) of the United States. It is used to waive a limited number of the grounds of inadmissibility or removability. To qualify, you must prove:

  • You have been physically present in the United States for a continuous period of at least 10 years,
  • You are a person of good moral character (as defined by statute),
  • You have not been convicted of a serious offense,
  • That your removal would result in “exceptional and extremely unusual” hardship to your spouse, parent or child who is a citizen of the United States or an LPR.

The other type of Cancellation of Removal is for those who are LPR’s of the United States. This application is used to waive grounds of removability when you can show you meet the following criteria:

  • You have been a lawful permanent resident for at least five years,
  • You have resided in the United States continuously for 7 years after having been admitted in any status, and
  • You have not been convicted of an aggravated felony.

This is one of the most often used applications in removal proceedings for legal permanent residents. The Immigration Courts evaluate each case weighing the positive factors against the negative factors to determine if the application should be granted as a matter of discretion. The types of factors they consider are things like:

Positive factors include:

Family ties

Evidence of hardship if removal occurs

Service in the Armed Forces

History of employment

Service to the community

Negative factors considered:

Additional violations of immigration laws

Existence of criminal record

Any evidence of bad character

As always, the best defense is to always be prepared and stay informed about your rights and changes in the law that affect you and your family. Do not take anything for granted and make sure to carefully store items that may help you in the future, such as tax returns, education documents, awards, and civil documents.

FIND OUT WHERE YOU STAND! You may already qualify for a benefit that you are not aware of yet. If you have never talked to an immigration attorney about your situation before, now is the best time to do so – before the new administration starts making changes that may affect you and your family. Contact an experienced, licensed attorney to find out what YOU can do to help your situation.

If you would like our assistance, contact our office today at 210-932-3600 to set up a consultation.

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