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.