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The criteria for cancellation of removal

When a cancellation of removal is granted, the status of a qualified lawful permanent or non-permanent resident who is labeled deportable is submitted for permanent residency in the United States. In South Carolina and all other states, individuals have to meet certain criteria and apply for this discretionary benefit during a deportation hearing.

Lawful permanent residents might be granted a cancellation of removal if they have held this status for a minimum five years. The individuals must also have resided in the country continuously for a minimum seven years after obtaining this status. Additionally, lawful permanent residents must not have any aggravated felony convictions, including firearms and drug trafficking, rape, sexual abuse involving a minor and murder.

Non-permanent residents may receive a cancellation of removal if they were continuously and physically present in the country for a minimum 10 years and show that deportation would cause extreme or exceptional hardship for immediate family who are either lawful permanent residents or in the United States. Extreme and exceptional hardship is assessed on a per-case basis.

Non-permanent residents must also have no aggravated felony convictions or have committed a robbery or kidnapping. They need to have had good moral nature, which is assessed on a case-by-case basis, during their 10 years of continuous physical presence. This means that they must not have a conviction for murder, drug possession or at least two gambling-related charges; spent a minimum 180 days imprisoned; obtained benefits under immigration law fraudulently; involved in human smuggling or prostitution; or be considered a habitual drunk.

With the differences in criteria, some deportable individuals might become confused about the criteria that they must meet. By talking to immigration attorneys, they could determine whether they qualify for this discretionary benefit.

Source: Findlaw, "Cancellation of Removal", December 31, 2014

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