Relief From Removal
A person who is found inadmissible or deportable may have several forms of relief available to him or her. These forms of relief include cancellation of removal for certain lawful permanent residents, including relief under former INA § 212(c), cancellation of removal or suspension of deportation for certain non-permanent resident aliens, cancellation of removal under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA), adjustment of status, political asylum and/or withholding of removal, nunc pro tunc permission to reapply for admission after removal, deferred action, certain waivers of inadmissibility, and private legislation.
Under INA § 240A(a) [8 U.S.C.A. § 1229b(a)], a lawful permanent resident who is inadmissible or deportable is eligible for relief from removal if he or she has been an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence for not less than five years, has resided in the United States continuously for seven years after having been admitted in any status, and has not been convicted of an aggravated felony.
Under INA § 240A(b) [8 U.S.C.A. § 1229b(b)], an alien who is inadmissible or deportable from the United States can apply for cancellation of removal if she has been physically present in the United States for a continuous period of not less than 10 years immediately preceding the date of such application, has been a person of good moral character during such period, has not been convicted of certain criminal offenses and establishes that removal would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to the alien’s spouse, parent, or child, who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
NACARA guaranteed continued relief from deportation under former INA § 244(a), in effect before the enactment date of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, for certain Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Eastern Europeans and persons who were applicants for suspension of deportation prior to April 1, 1997, and who were not served with an order to show cause or committed certain crimes prior to being physically present in the United States for a period of seven or 10 years.
Under INA § 240B [8 U.S.C.A. § 1229b], certain aliens who are not deportable as aggravated felons or terrorists are eligible to leave the United States voluntarily at their own expense in lieu of being subject to removal proceedings depending upon certain circumstances.
The burden of proof to establish eligibility for relief from removal is on the applicant. Persons applying for voluntary departure and for cancellation of removal for non-lawful permanent residents must also show good moral character for the requisite period of time required for the relief requested.