Articles Posted in Deportation (Removal) Proceedings

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A criminal conviction can make you deportable.  It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in the United States.  It doesn’t matter how good a person you are.  It doesn’t matter if you have never been to the country of which you are a citizen.  The law is cut and dry when it comes to whether you are deportable.  If you have been convicted of certain crimes, you are deportable.  But…there is good news.  Whether you are deportable is only the first part of the analysis.  Once an immigration judge determines that you are deportable, he or she must next determine whether you are eligible for any forms of relief from deportation.  This is where your lack of prior criminal record, how good of a person you are and other factors may come into play.  However, you must meet certain eligibility criteria in order to be eligible for each different form of relief.  Today, I want to focus on one particular, and often used, form of relief: Cancellation of Removal.


What is Cancellation of Removal?


Cancellation of Removal is a form of relief from deportation.  Once the judge has determined that you are deportable, the judge can cancel that removal if you qualify.  It basically wipes the slate clean and you are able to keep your greencard, or you may be able to obtain a greencard, even if you entered without any documents. The bad news is that for several of the requirements, you either are or you are not eligible, and there may be nothing you can do to become eligible if you don’t qualify.

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We’ve had many Cuban clients who had a false sense of security when it came to their immigration status as a Cuban Adjustment Act Lawful Permanent Resident.  They think that if they are convicted of a deportable crime, they will not be deported.  Although historically this has been the case, times are changing and more and more people are and are going to be physically deported to Cuba.


Who can be deported?


If you were convicted of a deportable offense, even if that conviction was decades ago, you would be subject to being placed in removal proceedings at any point in the future.  In other words, there is no statute of limitations for deporting someone based on a criminal conviction.  If you were placed in removal proceedings and ordered removed, but weren’t physically deported to Cuba because of existing relations at the time, you also can be deported based on that prior order at any time in the future.  The only thing standing between you and physical deportation to Cuba is whether Cuba accepts you back and whether U.S. policy to physically deport Cubans becomes more widespread.  So, once relations between Cuba and the United States thaw and certainly if the Cuban government transitions to a democratic government.

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Sometimes, there just is no relief in deportation proceedings that will allow the person to stay here.  Whether it’s because of lack of ties to the United States, lack of hardship to U.S. citizen relatives, criminal history, or other factors, you just may not be eligible under any provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act to remain in the United States.  No cancellation of removal.  No waivers. No asylum or withholding of removal.  Your immigration attorney has looked at your case from every angle and there just is no possible way to keep you here.  In those cases, there is often one last option that may have some very beneficial consequences.  It is called Voluntary Departure.  Florida immigration attorneys often request voluntary departure in the Orlando Immigration Court in both detained and non-detained cases.  So what is Voluntary Departure?


WHAT IS VOLUNTARY DEPARTURE?


Voluntary Departure is a form of relief that allows a person to leave on his or her own rather than under a removal (deportation) order.  Although, the person does have to leave the United States, it can have some really important benefits that help the person lawfully come back into the United States on a later date.