Cancellation of Removal for Non-Permanent Residents

You may have heard rumors about a way to get a green card if you’ve been in the United States for 10 years and you have a child who is sick or having trouble in school. The good news is that this is in part true, the bad news is that it’s not quite that simple. Cancellation of removal for individuals who are not lawful permanent residents (commonly referred to as “non-LPR cancellation”) is a form of relief that can protect individuals who are in immigration court and who are not green card holders from being deported. It is important to understand that if you are not in immigration court, you can’t apply for this type of relief. And, even if you are already in immigration court, it is not an easy type of case to win.

Individuals who find themselves in immigration court and who do not have a legal immigration status may be eligible for non-LPR cancellation if they have been in the United States for 10 years or more, have not been convicted of certain crimes, have otherwise been a person of “good moral character,” and have a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, child, or parent who would suffer an incredible amount of hardship if the applicant could not remain here in the United States.

Unfortunately, many people who apply for this type of relief do not win their cases in immigration court. This is often because the hardship requirement is so hard to satisfy. It is also because non-LPR cancellation has a discretionary component to it. This means that even if you satisfy all of the eligibility requirements, it is still up to the immigration judge to decide whether to use his or her discretion to approve your application or not. If you or a relative find yourself in immigration court and think you might be eligible for non-LPR cancellation, contact the Law Offices of Joshua L. Goldstein, P.C. today. It is important that you work with an experienced Los Angeles immigration attorney if you decide to seek cancellation of removal.

Seeking Cancellation of Removal as a Non-Permanent Resident

Individuals in immigration court who do not have a green card and who meet the following requirements may qualify for this type of relief from deportation:

  • Ten years of continuous residence in the United States;
    • This is measured from the date you arrived in the United States up to the date that your Notice to Appear in immigration court was issued.
  • No disqualifying criminal convictions;
    • If you were convicted of a crime that makes you inadmissible or deportable, you cannot qualify for this type of relief.
  • Good moral character during the 10 year statutory period;
    • This is measured counting backwards ten years from the date of the final decision in court; and
  • Proof that your deportation would cause your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse, child, or parent to suffer exceptional and extremely unusual hardship.
    • This is the hardest element to satisfy. Unfortunately, it is not enough to show that your deportation would cause economic hardship and that your family in the United States would be heartbroken without you. The hardship for these types of cases must go far above and beyond what an immigration judge considers to be the typical hardships a person would suffer upon being deported to a less developed country.
    • Classic examples of situations that would meet this very high hardship standard are having a U.S. citizen child with a degenerative or very serious medical condition; or having a U.S. citizen child with a very serious educational disability who requires an Individualized Education Plan and/or other educational support.

The Steps Involved in this Type of Case

Once a person receives a Notice to Appear, they must go to their first hearing in immigration court. If you are scheduled for a hearing in Los Angeles, the immigration court is located at 606 S. Olive Street #1500 in Los Angeles, California. At this preliminary or “master hearing,” if you do not have an attorney, the court will usually give you a continuance so that you have time to find an attorney. At your next master hearing, the immigration judge will expect you to have an attorney and will want that attorney to submit a notice of appearance as your legal representative, and usually, to submit pleadings to the court indicating what type of applications you plan on filing.

You and your attorney most likely be given another master hearing date when you can file Form EOIR-42B, the application for non-LPR cancellation. You will also need to pay a filing fee and a biometrics fee so that the government can take your photograph and fingerprints and run a background check on you.

After you file the application, you will then be given a final hearing date, which is also known as an “individual hearing” date. Prior to this hearing, you will need to submit extensive supportive documentation to the immigration court. On the date of your individual hearing, you will be expected to testify on your own behalf, present your witnesses, and argue your case.

If you are successful on your individual hearing date, this is wonderful news. However, the judge may not be able to approve you on that particular day. This is because there is an annual limit on the number of non-LPR cancellation visas available across the United States. Only 4,000 non-LPR cancellation visas may be given out all across the country each year. Therefore, you may be placed in a line of people waiting for more visas to become available so that a judge can approve your case. The good news is that when a visa number does  become available, you will get to return to court, have your case approved, and you will become a permanent resident.

Work with an Experienced Los Angeles Immigration Lawyer

If you are a non-permanent resident of the United States and you find yourself facing removal from the country, you might not think you have any right to fight the removal and remain here. This is not true – you do have the right to fight the government’s efforts to remove you, but this can be a difficult and confusing process. Working with an experienced immigration lawyer can mean the difference between having to leave the United States and being able to remain here. To learn more, schedule an initial consultation with Joshua L. Goldstein of The Law Offices of Joshua L. Goldstein, P.C. today. Mr. Goldstein can help answer your questions, address your concerns, and determine the best strategy to keep you in the United States.