In my previous discussions about bond in immigration law,  I mentioned that getting a bond from an immigration judge is easier if a person has any defenses in immigration court.  I would like to talk a little more today about what I mean by “defenses.”

By “defenses” I mean legal arguments that a person can make in immigration court to stop his or her deportation and to earn legal status in the United States.

There are not that many different defenses.  However, I will start today by discussing the most popular and useful defense in immigration court.  It is called “cancellation of removal.”  This defense is exactly what it sounds like.  It is a way for an individual to convince an immigration court judge that he or she should not be deported, but should be allowed to remain in the country and should be given a green card.

Before I get into the requirements, I must give a WORD OF WARNING: cancellation of removal is ONLY available in immigration court.  So if you are reading this and know someone who might qualify based on the requirements that I write next, remember: that person must be in the process of being deported from the United States in order to apply for it.  That is why this defense is called “cancellation of removal.”  You must be in immediate danger of being ordered deported by an immigration judge in order to qualify.

I have never, NEVER recommended that someone turn themselves in to immigration so that he or she could apply for cancellation of removal.  Winning a cancellation case is very difficult, and should only be done if a person has ALREADY been put in immigration court.

So, with all that being said, here are the requirements for applying for cancellation of removal:

  1. Ten years of continuous presence in the United States;
  2. A wife, parent, or child that is either a US citizen or legal permanent resident;
  3. The person must be able to prove that he or she is a person of good moral character;
  4. That person may not have certain criminal offenses on his or her record (for example, drug crimes or crimes related to fraud or theft).
  5. The person must be able to prove that his wife, parent, or child would suffer “una dificultad extrema, excepcional, y unusual.”

This last requirement is the most difficult part.  Those words are very important.  The law used to say that a person applying for cancellation of removal only had to prove “dificultad extrema.”  Now the law requires una “dificultad extrema, excepcional, y unusual.”  This requires evidence of a tremendous hardship.  Every family—of course—will suffer some kind of dificultad en caso de deportacion.  But it is necessary to prove MORE than the fact that a parent or child or spouse would lose a person’s money and presence in the United States.  Normally, to win a cancellation case, it would be necessary to prove that a family member would suffer some very extreme circumstance, related perhaps to his or her medical condition.  I will discuss this topic further in posts to come.  Thanks for reading.