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Cancellation of Removal

Trusted Deportation Defense Lawyer in San Diego

If you are a legal permanent resident (LPR, or a green card holder) and plead guilty to a crime, ICE may start removal proceedings. If this happens, you might be able to apply for cancellation of removal under section 204A of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This form of relief may be available to some lawful permanent residents (LPR) and even some aliens living unlawfully in the United States.

With the proper evidence and careful preparation of your case, an experienced attorney can increase the chances of convincing the judge to give you a second chance. If the judge agrees, he/she will cancel your deportation and allow you to stay in the United States.

To learn more about cancellation of removal, contact the experienced San Diego deportation defense attorney at Rodriguez Law Firm.

Cancellation of Removal for Legal Permanent Residents

A lawful permanent resident or green card holder can become deportable or inadmissible and unable to apply for U.S. citizen if he/she gets arrested and convicted for certain crimes. Cancellation of Removal is an option for the LPR that is detained by ICE or receives a notice to appear before an immigration judge for removal proceedings.

The immigration code under INA § 240A(a) & 8 U.S.C. § 1229b states that an immigration judge has the authority to cancel the removal of an LPR who is inadmissible or deportable from the United States if the person:

  • Has 5 years or more of being a legal permanent residence
  • Has 7 years or more of continuous residence after admission
  • Has not been convicted of an aggravated felony
  • Warrants relief as a matter of discretion
  • Has previously been granted cancellation of removal or suspension of deportation

Cancellation of Removal for Non-Permanent Residents

A person that is not a legal resident may be eligible for non-LPR cancellation of removal if she/he shows the court that:

  • They’ve been physically present in the United States for at least 10 years
  • They’ve been a person of good moral character for at least 10 years
  • They haven’t been convicted of certain criminal offenses
  • Their U.S. citizen or LPR spouse, child, or parent will suffer “exceptional and extremely unusual” hardship if the non-LPR is removed

Unfortunately, INA § 240A(c), prohibits non-LPR cancellation of removal to the following persons:

  • Persons that previously received cancellation of removal, suspension of deportation, or INA § 212(c) relief
  • Persons who have persecuted others or are inadmissible or deportable under the anti-terrorist grounds
  • Crewmen who entered the United States after June 30, 1964, and certain “J” visa exchange visitors

Disqualifying Crimes to Non-LPR Cancellation

The following convictions under INA § 212(a)(2), 237(a)(2), or 237(a)(3) will disqualify a non-LPR applicant from seeking relief under cancellation of removal. Disqualifying convictions include:

  • Crime involving moral turpitude
  • Controlled substances offenses
  • Two or more offenses with an imposed sentence of five or more years
  • Engaging in prostitution
  • Any aggravated felony
  • Evading or high-speed flight from an immigration checkpoint
  • A firearms offense
  • A conviction for domestic violence, stalking, or child abuse, or violation of a domestic violence protection order (only for convictions on or after September 30, 1996)
  • A false claim to U.S. citizenship

Petty Offense Exception

A single conviction is considered a crime of moral turpitude (CIMT) and will disqualify you from being able to apply for non-LPR cancellation of removal. However, there is an exception to this rule. The exception applies if the person can show they (a) only have one CIMT, (b) the sentence imposed was six months or less, and (c) the offense was a misdemeanor or carries a sentence of less than one year.

Aggravated felonies are bars to cancellation of removal under INA § 101(a)(43):

  • Murder, rape, or sexual abuse of a minor
  • Trafficking in a controlled substance
  • Money laundering
  • Crimes of violence with a sentence of one year or more
  • Theft or burglary offense with a sentence of one year or more

Burden of Proof in a Cancellation of Removal Hearing

The government has the burden to prove your conviction is an aggravated felony by clear and convincing evidence under 8 U.S.C. § 1229a(c)(3)(A). On the other hand, the respondent has the burden to prove that he/she is eligible and deserving for LPR Cancellation of Removal.

Establishing Exceptional & Extremely Unusual Hardship

To receive cancellation of removal you will have to prove that your qualifying relative will suffer exceptional and extreme hardship if you’re deported and separated from your family. It will require careful preparation of your case and collection of supporting evidence. During the hearing, the judge will focus his attention evidence that helps prove how your qualifying relative will suffer from exceptional and extreme hardship.

Evidence that may help show exception and unusual hardship to the qualifying relative includes:

  • The age of the qualifying relative
  • Health-related issues
  • Special needs in school
  • The length of residence in the United States
  • Family and community ties in the United States
  • Family and community ties in the home country
  • The country conditions in the home country
  • Changes to the family’s standard of living
  • Languages spoken
  • Work opportunities

Our Experience Can Make Difference in Your Cancellation of Removal

Call us today at (619) 332-1703 and schedule a free consultation so that you can benefit from the knowledge of an experienced San Diego deportation defense lawyer. No case is too big or too complicated. We have over 20 years of experience in immigration law and over time, have made a difference to so many of our clients who were facing deportation proceedings.

They've Been Where You're At

Past Clients Share Their Experience
  • I could not have received a better outcome in my case!

    - S. K.
  • This process took over a year because of the court's backlog but through it, all John stayed positive, kept us on track, and my family and I couldn't be more grateful and thankful for all of his hard work.

    - Kristen S.
  • They answered all my questions!

    - Chen D.
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    John R. Rodriguez

    Founding Attorney

    John R. Rodriguez is a San Diego trial attorney with the experience that will make a difference in your criminal or immigration case. His combined experience as a trial lawyer, former police officer, and private investigator has culminated into a successful legal career with a proven track record that his clients can rely on. He began his legal career as a criminal defense attorney defending Latino immigrants arrested in communities throughout Napa, Solano, and Contra Costa Counties for 15 years ...
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