Deportation proceedings, or removal proceedings, are initiated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for an array of different reasons. Those reasons can include criminal issues, prior fraud or misrepresentations, or just being out of lawful status in the U.S. In any event, the proceedings start once an individual is served with a Notice to Appear. Once that happens, the Immigration Court will schedule that individual for a future hearing. It is recommended that you always have an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to accompany you to the hearing. It is important to understand the nature of the proceedings and to explore all possible options for relief from deportation.
Just because you are in removal proceedings does not mean that you will automatically be removed from the U.S. The contrary, there may be different remedies available to you. One popular form of relief is called Cancellation of Removal. This form of relief is available to certain Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs), and even non-LPRs. Although they both have different eligibility requirements, they both can be excellent forms of relief. To be eligible for Cancellation of Removal for LPRs, one must have, 1) lived continuously in the U.S. for seven years preceding the initiation of removal proceedings, 2) have been a LPR for five years, 3) not have been convicted of an aggravated felony, and 4) not inadmissible to the U.S. for any security reasons.
To be eligible for Cancellation of Removal for non-LPRS, you must have been 1) physically present in the U.S. for the ten years immediately preceding the start of your removal proceedings, 2) have been a person of good moral character during those ten years, 3) are not inadmissible for certain criminal grounds, and 4) removal would results in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship for a U.S. citizen or LPR spouse, parent or child. Each of these requirements must be met to be eligible for this form of relief. If you are eligible for this form of relief, you may even be able to obtain a valid work permit during the pendency of your case.
Applying for Cancellation of Removal is a difficult process, and is more than just filling out a form. Also, you may have other forms of relief available to you that you may ot know of. For this reason, you should always speak to an experienced attorney if you are in removal proceedings and believe that you may have relief available to you.