Eligibility for Cancellation of Removal for Non-Permanent Residents

The three primary eligibility requirements for non-permanent residents are a continuous presence in the US of 10 or more years, good moral character, and hardship on family members if you are deported. Below is more information on what each of these requirements means, according to one of our DC cancellation of removal lawyers.

Continuous Presence: 10+ Years in the US

The continuous presence can be difficult to prove because technically it starts when you enter the United States and began living here. But, many times when people are undocumented and they entered without inspection, they don’t have, for example, a visa stamp or some sort of legal document like an airline ticket to show the date that they entered the United States. Also, they often don’t have much of a paper trail especially going back ten years because maybe they worked but were only paid in cash or, didn’t have their name on a lease, didn’t have any medical insurance or utilities in their names, etc.

So, in many cases establishing a paper trail, even for someone who has been here for more than ten years, can be difficult.

Good Moral Character: What Does This Mean?

Good moral character is defined in the Immigration and Nationality Act, but it remains frustratingly vague. There is a broad body of evidence that you can submit to prove good moral character such as letters or written statements from family members or co-workers, bosses that can attest that you’re a responsible person, church members, neighbors, teachers, etc., who can attest to the fact that you’re a good member of your community. You can show tax records to show that you pay taxes and you also need to show that you have not been convicted of a crime that will prevent you legally from establishing good moral character.

There’s a certain list of crimes that actually legally prohibit an individual from establishing good moral character, and some of them are kind of unexpected things like if you’re a habitual drunkard, for instance, you can be deemed to not have good moral character. Also, if you’ve been involved in illicit gambling or prostitution you can be prohibited from finding good moral character even without a criminal conviction. So, it’s something that you have to litigate in front of the court. Sometimes you can be statutorily barred from proving good character, and sometimes it’s a discretionary decision by the immigration judge.

Exceptional or Extremely Unusual Hardship for Family

Proving exceptional and extremely unusual hardship is also a discretionary decision, which is different in every case. You argue this by presenting your arguments in front of the court. The body of evidence that will be submitted is different in every case because the type of hardship will be different in every case. If your qualifying relative has some sort of medical condition that would cause them to be put at risk if you are deported, you have to submit documentation of that.

What You Need to Prove

One additional important thing to know is that you need to demonstrate to the court a two-pronged exceptional and extremely unusual hardship situation. The first thing you need to prove is that your family – your qualifying family member – will be subjected to exceptional and extremely unusual hardship if they go with you to your home country and have to leave the U.S. Second, you need to prove that they’ll also be subjected to this hardship if you are deported and they remain here in the United States without you.

Necessary Documentation

To prove this, you can submit things like medical reports, letters from doctors or from therapists that will show the hardship on the individual. If your qualifying relative is a child, you will definitely want to submit letters from teachers and maybe guidance counselors that would show the impact of your absence on their life. Aside from that it’s really a case specific type of thing. You can also submit letters from people in your community who can attest to your relationship with your family members and how it would affect them. So, it’s a complicated argument that’s different for every individual.

DC Cancellation of Removal Proceedings For Non-Permanent Residents

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