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How Can I Prove Hardship When Pursuing Cancellation of Removal?

 Posted on January 19, 2023 in Immigration

Illinois removal defense lawyersImmigrants who are not U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents face numerous challenges and anxieties. For many people, the possibility of deportation is a constant threat. Cancellation of removal is a form of relief from removal (deportation) and can be granted to immigrants who demonstrate that they have been in the United States for a certain period of time and meet other criteria.

One key factor when applying for cancellation of removal as a non-permanent lawful resident is demonstrating hardship. To demonstrate this, applicants must provide evidence to the immigration judge of the negative effects their removal would have on their family members.

Qualifying for Cancellation of Removal

Individuals living in the United States without legal status have to deal with the stress and fear that comes from knowing that their lives could be uprooted at any moment. For those placed in removal proceedings, the threat of deportation is very real.

Immigrants may qualify for cancellation of removal if:

  • They have been a lawful permanent resident for at least five years, do not have a criminal conviction for an aggravated felony, and have lived in the U.S. for at least seven years.
  • They are not lawful permanent residents, but they have lived in the U.S. for at least 10 years, have no criminal convictions for crimes involving moral turpitude, can demonstrate good character, and can demonstrate that that removal would cause hardship for at least one family member who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.

Defending Against Deportation as a Non-Permanent Resident

An individual facing deportation may be able to stay in the United States and avoid removal if he or she can show proof that deportation would cause extreme hardship to them or their family. This is often the hardest element to prove when requesting cancellation of removal.

American law does not list the specific types of hardships that may qualify a person for cancellation of removal. However, the law does specify that the hardship must be "exceptional and unusual." Hardship can include significant economic, physical, or psychological distress that would be caused by the individual’s removal from the United States.

Serious health conditions for which there is little treatment available in the person's native country may potentially qualify as a hardship for the purposes of cancellation of removal. Psychological conditions or a history of severe trauma may also be used to argue for cancellation of removal. Detailed medical records and statements from medical professionals are important pieces of evidence when proving medical hardship.

If an immigrant is the only caretaker of a child or dependent adult, the immigrant's removal would likely be devastating to the person he or she is caring for. A situation like this may also qualify someone for cancellation of removal. Evidence of the adversity that would be caused to the child or dependent adult in such a situation is critical when petitioning for cancellation of removal.

It is important to note that proof of hardships must be clear and convincing evidence. Immigrants should gather any relevant documents and evidence before appearing before an immigration judge in order to make the strongest case possible. An experienced immigration attorney can provide invaluable advice and help collect evidence to support a hardship claim.

Contact an Illinois Immigration Lawyer

If you or a loved one are facing deportation, contact our Illinois deportation defense lawyers for help. We can explain your options and help you take the next steps. Our skilled team is committed to helping immigrants stay in the United States and keeping families together. Call 630-932-9100 for a free consultation.




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