DC Cancellation of Removal for Battered Spouses or Children

Cancellation of removal proceedings can be taxing for any individual. The amount of evidence needed to support a successful claim by both lawful and non-lawful permanent residents is extreme and is only made more difficult for battered spouses or children. The eligibility requirements for battered spouses or children when applying for cancellation of removal are extremely detailed, and should only be handled with the assistance of an experienced cancellation of removal lawyer in DC.

Battered Spouses or Children

Battered spouses or children can certainly apply for cancellation of removal through a process called VAWA cancellation. VAWA stands for Violence Against Women Act, which is a big piece of legislation initially instituted in 1994. It contains protections for battered women, spouses, and children, but also strong protections for immigrants who have been in abusive relationships.

Differences from Non-Permanent Residents

Applying for cancellation of removal as a non-lawful permanent resident (non-LPR), is different than applying for cancellation of removal as a battered spouse or child. The physical steps of the process are not different, but there is a difference in the timeline and physical presence requirements. This needs to be addressed at the initial master calendar hearing. The process, however, is still the same and an individual or group will still apply in front of an immigration judge.

Eligibility Requirements

For battered spouses or children, they will first need to prove that they have been subjected to battery or extreme cruelty by a U.S. citizen, a lawful permanent resident spouse, LPR, or U.S. citizen parent. They will also need to prove that they have been physically present in the U.S. continuously for three years prior to the date that the Notice to Appear (NTA) was issued.

Anyone applying for cancellation of removal will need to show that they have been a good person of good moral character for that three-year period. They will also need to show that their removal will cause extreme hardship to a lawful individual, their children, or their parents. The person applying will also need to show that they are not inadmissible for other reasons such as being criminally barred from applying as a result of an aggravated felony.

Evidence of Abuse

Evidence is a highly discretionary aspect of VAWA cancellation. There may not be much hard evidence. For example, an abusive spouse has kept the immigrant spouse isolated or has been very controlling, and there is now a big circle of people or support system who knew of the abuse. Also, some people may have not called the police or felt they had extensive enough physical injuries to go to a hospital. Some of the eligibility requirements for battered spouses or children can be difficult to get, such as evidence of abuse.

In a situation like this, the applicant will need to build a strong case showing the emotional impact the abuse has had. This can be done through expert testimonial, such as from a psychologist or therapist that the individual has seen in the past. Documentation from a battered shelter the individual may have visited can also classify as evidence.

Also, affidavits from anyone who the applicant possibly confided in regarding the abuse such as family members, co-workers, friends, or someone from a religious organization can be documented as evidence.

Hard evidence such as 911 calls, police reports or hospital records are definitely important to submit as well, but it is possible to successfully argue one of these cases without any hard evidence. Sometimes, a child or someone else in the family who witnessed the abuse can testify.

Benefits of an Immigration Attorney

It is incredibly important to have an immigration attorney in these types of cases, because there are many exercises of discretion throughout the process. The eligibility requirements for battered spouses or children is extensive. Between good moral character, extreme hardships inflicted upon the individual, abuse evidence requirements, and more, there are countless matters that should be handled by an experienced immigration attorney. There are many elements of discussion at play in any cancellation of removal case, and it is important to have a lawyer to prepare a strong case and present it effectively to a judge.

DC Cancellation of Removal for Battered Spouses or Children