For green card holders and those with no legal status, deportation is a very scary possibility. If faced with a possible deportation, it’s not the end of the world, there are steps that can be taken to stop the deportation process. Even if you have been in the US for decades, there is no guarantee that you won’t be sent back to your home country, but there are various forms of relief that can eliminate your deportation if you qualify. One of the most common forms of relief is called Cancellation of Removal. The qualifications for receiving a Cancellation of Removal waiver are tough, and many people will not be eligible. However, if one is successful, the reward is a second chance to remain in the US and possibly gain additional immigration benefits. And ultimately one day, become a US citizen.

There are two types of cancellation of removal, one for legal permanent residents or green card holders (LPR’s), and one for those with no legal status. Under immigration law, an LPR who is placed in removal proceedings is eligible for cancellation if they meet the following criteria:

1. has been an LPR for at least 5 years;
2. has resided in the US continuously for 7 years after being admitted in any status;
3. has not been convicted of an aggravated felony; and
4. merits favorable exercise of discretion.

One of the greatest barrier to cancellation of removal relief for most LPRs is the 7 years of continuous residence requirement. This is because of the “time stop” rule. The continuity of time stops when the foreign national commits certain crimes (multiple crimes, aggravated felonies), or when the foreign national is served with the removal papers. Aggravated felonies also drastically limit many LPR’s in removal proceedings from qualifying for relief. Many crimes, even those that may appear minor or even be misdemeanors, fall into the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) definition of aggravated felony. And since most LPRs who are in removal proceedings are there because they committed a crime, the time stop rule can be an issue. The last qualification – discretionary factors, encompasses things such as family ties in the US, employment history, service in the armed forces, hardship to family in the US if deported, value and service to the community, and other evidence of good moral character.

Cancellation of Removal for non-legal permanent residents is more difficult than that for LPRs. To qualify for cancellation of removal, the person must establish the following:

1. continuous physical presence in the United States for 10 years immediately preceding the application for relief;
2. good moral character during the 10-year period;
3. have not been convicted of an offense that would make them inadmissible or deportable; and
4. their removal would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to a spouse, parent or child.

Factors that meet the exceptional and extremely unusual hardship standard, No. 4 above, include a serious illness to a child for which treatment would not be available if the child was forced to accompany his or her parent back to their country of origin. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the process. Since there are many other forms of relief other than the Cancellation or Removal, an immigration attorney, abogado in Spanish, will be able to evaluate your case and determine what relief, if any, is available to you, and construct a defense that will be successful in immigration court.  YaSabe has a large list of qualified abogados that are experienced in the immigration/deportation field. Visit us at or for your convenience, YaSabe now has mobile apps for your Android and iPhone devices that are free to download and will provide the same help and assistance as that of your PC. You can also follow us on Twitter at @yasabe or visit us on FaceBook – J. Rodriguez