What is cancellation of removal?

Once removal proceedings are initiated, the immigrant may be detained while awaiting a hearing.  The immigrant may request a cancellation of removal hearing to present the reasons why he should not be removed from the United States.  An immigrant is NOT entitled to free legal representation if he cannot afford an attorney, as a U.S. citizen would.  Even an immigrant faced with criminal charges will have to pay for legal representation or attend the hearing without a lawyer. Depending on the reason for the removal of the immigrant from the United States, the immigrant will not be allowed back into the United States for a number of years.  Some crimes will make an immigrant inadmissible at any time in the future.

Many aliens are not eligible for cancellation of removal.

Some examples of people who cannot apply for cancellation of removal are as follows:

  • Anyone suspected in participating in espionage, activities to overthrow the U.S. government, and in terrorism
  • Anyone who has participated in persecution of others
  • Anyone convicted of morally bad crimes such as drug offenses
  • Anyone convicted of certain immigration offenses including document fraud
  • Anyone convicted of an aggravated felony

In order to qualify for cancellation of removal, an alien must show:

  1. He has been a person of good moral character for at least the last ten years.  If he has committed any serious crime in the U.S., it must have been more than ten years prior to the application for cancellation of removal.  Some serious crimes will make an alien ineligible for cancellation of removal regardless of time.
  2. He must also prove he has remained in the U.S. for the past ten years. A copy of the passport and the I-94 that was attached to it when he first arrived in the United States will serve as proof as his time spent in the U.S.  He can also submit paystubs, housing payments, bills to your address, etc. as proof of residence for ten years.
  3. He must prove that if he were removed he would suffer hardship.  The decision to cancel removal is entirely up to an immigration judge.  The alien and his attorney will have to prove to the judge that the hardship is too great for the alien to be faced with removal.

Even if an immigration judge rules in your favor and cancels removal, you could still face a delay.  Only 4,000 people each year are granted formal cancellation of removal.  Similar to all other green card processes with numerical caps, if the cap of 4,000 people has been reached, you will have to wait until your visa number is reached before lawful permanent residency will be granted.

For more information about your case, please contact Gopal & Pedigo, PC and one of our experienced attorneys will assist you in all your immigration matters. We are conveniently located in Nashville, TN off of Briely Pkwy. near I-24 or I-40 exit.