Here in Los Angeles, we are a city of immigrants. As a major port of entry to the United States, individuals and families come from around the world to start new lives in Los Angeles, seeking opportunities in this city and beyond. Highlights of our city include Hollywood, Disneyland, Huntington Beach, as well as the arts and entertainment industry.
Many people come to the United States as permanent residents, or green card holders. A green card grants its holder many rights, but unfortunately, it does not protect you from being deported. If you are a permanent resident and you find yourself in immigration court facing deportation from the United States, you may be eligible for cancellation of removal. To find out if you are eligible for this type of relief, contact Joshua L. Goldstein, our experienced Los Angeles deportation defense lawyer for a consultation today.
Who is Eligible for Cancellation of Removal?
Permanent residents, unlike citizens, can be removed from the country if they violate immigration laws or are found guilty of certain criminal offenses.
However, permanent residents who find themselves in immigration court and who meet the following requirements can have their removal orders canceled, allowing them to stay in the country as green card holders:
- Green card holder for at least five years;
- Continuous physical presence in the United States for at least seven years;
- No “aggravated felonies” on his or her record; and
- Deserving of a favorable exercise of discretion on the part of the immigration judge.
The term “aggravated felony” has a very specific meaning under immigration law, and even things that do not seem like large criminal offenses to a person in everyday life can be seen, in the eyes of immigration law, as aggravated felonies. Since the overlapping areas of criminal law and immigration law can be very complicated, and green card holders are often placed in immigration court proceedings due to the criminal convictions on their, it is very important to consult someone who knows how immigration court works, how the government attorneys think, and what pieces of evidence are the most convincing to the court. Joshua L. Goldstein has been practicing in immigration court for over 15 years, he is very knowledgeable and he will fight with everything that he has to keep you here in the United States. Contact our offices today for a consultation to see if you may be eligible for cancellation of removal for permanent residents.
Applying for a Cancellation of Removal
Individuals who meet the requirements above can file form EOIR-42A with their local immigration court to request a cancellation of their removal. Just filing the form will not be enough, though. You must also file extensive supporting documentation to speak to each eligibility requirement and to show the immigration judge that, on balance, you have been and will be a good person. And, if you committed any bad acts in the past, you will need to prove to the judge that you have since changed your ways and are now “rehabilitated.”
Submitting form EOIR-42A and the supporting documentation does not mean that your removal is guaranteed to be canceled. But, submitting these documents are a very important step in the process of proving to the immigration judge why allowing you to remain in the country outweighs any benefit that would come from deportation. After submitting these documents to the court, you and your lawyer will have the chance to present testimony and argue the case in what’s called an individual hearing. At this individual hearing, there will be a government attorney and an immigration judge. In Los Angeles, the immigration court is located at 606 S. Olive Street #1500 in Los Angeles, California, and if you are scheduled for either a preliminary or “master hearing” or your final or “individual hearing” in Los Angeles, then this is where it will take place.
The immigration judge can consider a lot of factors when deciding whether a person deserves the benefit of having his or her removal from the United States cancelled. You have to prove to the judge that the positive factors outweigh the negative factors in your case. Some positive factors include:
- How long the individual has lived in the United States, and the age the person was when he or she first came to this country;
- If the individual has a criminal record, the nature of his or her offenses and whether he or she has been successfully rehabilitated;
- The negative impact that removal would have on the individual’s family, including his or her spouse, children, and dependent parents;
- Access to medical services, mental health services, educational services, and other needs of the individual and his or her family in the United States and their country of origin;
- Any language or cultural barriers that the individual or his or her family would face if returned to their country of origin;
- The individual’s job in the United States and its impact on the community. For example, if the individual is a business owner or otherwise provides an important service to others through his or her job, this would be a positive factor;
- The individual’s ties to clubs and groups in his or her community; and
- Whether the individual has served in the United States military.
Some negative factors include:
- How serious the immigration violations in the case were;
- If the individual has a criminal record, how serious the crimes were, how recently they took place, and what type of crime it was;
- Other evidence that points to bad moral character.
Proving that you and your family would be best served by remaining in the United States requires evidence. It requires detailed affidavits, or sworn declarations, from you and your family members; court certified dispositions for any criminal matters; letters from doctors and mental health professionals who treat you and your family members; proof of filing of taxes; proof of gainful employment; and proof of any additional positive impact you have on your community, such as volunteer activities, involvement in a church, or community outreach events that you regularly participate in. Knowing what to include, what to emphasize, and how to organize all of these documents to highlight the most important elements of the case requires practice and experience. Work with one of our experienced attorneys today.
Work with an Experienced Los Angeles Immigration Lawyer
If you are a lawful permanent resident of the United States and you find yourself facing possible removal from this country, contact experienced Los Angeles immigration lawyer Joshua L. Goldstein of The Law Offices of Joshua L. Goldstein, P.C. today to schedule your initial legal consultation with our firm. During your consultation, you will have the opportunity to discuss your case with Mr. Goldstein and determine the best way to move forward with your case. If you want to remain in the country, invest in your case by working with an experienced lawyer who can help you.