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When a Texas Resident May Apply for Cancellation of Removal in Immigration Court

Immigration law folder

When a Texas Resident May Apply for Cancellation of Removal in Immigration Court

This is the next post in our series discussing what Texas residents need to know about applying for  Cancellation of Removal. Our last post explained what an immigrant can expect from their biometrics appointment. In this post we will discuss why someone may be served a Notice to Appear and when it may be appropriate for  that person to apply for a Cancellation of Removal..  There are two kinds of Cancellation of Removal.  One kind is for lawful permanent residents who already have green cards, but are facing deportation.  Another kind is for those who have never had legal status.

Texas Lawful Permanent Residents may be deported if they do not strictly abide by US law

While obtaining a green card is often a huge relief for an immigrant, it does not make one immune from deportation. The only way to truly ensure that one will be given all of the rights and privileges of a US citizen is to complete the road to citizenship. Until then, there are several offenses that will be considered grounds for deportation if committed by a green card holder. For example, any type of offense that is considered a risk to national security or a terrorist act is a deportable offense. Likewise, any aggravated felony is a deportable offense, and this could include crimes committed with a deadly weapon, sexual offenses, drug trafficking crimes and crimes of violence If someone has a conviction for an aggravated felony, they are not eligible for Cancellation of Removal.  However, they may be eligible for other relief depending on when they were convicted.  The law surrounding aggravated felonies changes frequently so it is really important to have a qualified attorney help you with this process.  It’s important to understand that even a misdemeanor offense could be found to be an aggravated felony under immigration laws.

In order to be eligible for cancellation of removal, a  permanent resident must have been a permanent resident for at least 5 years and must have resided continuously in the United States for at least 7 years.  If someone meets these requirements and does not have an aggravated felony on their record, they will then have to convince an immigration judge that they deserve to win their case.  Winning a cancellation of removal case means that the permanent resident gets to keep their green card and can never be charged with deportation again for those past crimes.  The judge will look at several factors, including how the immigrant would suffer if they returned to their native country, their family ties in the U.S., and whether they have sufficiently rehabilitated after their criminal convictions.

Undocumented Texas Residents May Apply for a Green Card in Immigration Court

Even those who have never had legal status in the U.S. may seek a green card in immigration court by applying for Cancellation of Removal.  The requirements they must satisfy are different than those for green card holders.  Undocumented applicants must show that they have been in the U.S. for at least ten years, that they have good moral character and that they have a parent, child or spouse with U.S. citizenship or a green card.  Then, they must prove to the judge that their family member would suffer exceptional and extremely unusual hardship.  This means, in general, that the immigrant must prove that their family member would suffer more than other family members in the same situation.  This is a very difficult standard to meet.  But if an applicant wins their case, they will be given permanent residency and a green card.

Many types of convictions can make someone ineligible for this kind of cancellation of removal.  Also, being caught at the border while trying to cross into the U.S. can cause eligibility problems depending on when it happened.  It is important to know that these kinds of cases are currently taking a very long time to complete in immigration court because Congress said that only 4,000 cases per year can be granted.  So many people who have applied for Cancellation of Removal are waiting for their court hearings which continue to be postponed.  The good news is that anyone who has applied for Cancellation of Removal can also apply for a work permit and renew it throughout the process.

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