What is Relief from Removal?                              

 Seeking relief from removal is a way to avoid deportation.

Relief may be sought through some different ways that may apply to the situation of a potential deportee. These include: 

     Adjustment of status

     Asylum

     Withholding of removal or CAT

     Cancellation of removal

     Cancellation under VAWA

     Deferred action (the government puts the case on hold)

     Opting for voluntary departure 

Some of these methods we have already discussed, but we will learn about the others now.

 

What is Voluntary Departure?

 Voluntary Departure is an alternative for some people facing deportation. This allows someone to leave the U.S. within a certain time instead of being forced to follow a removal order. Voluntary departure gives people the dignity of traveling on their own without being removed under the control of immigration officials. A person may request a voluntary departure from immigration officers or an Immigration Judge before or after removal proceedings. The grant of voluntary departure is entirely up to the discretion of the judge or official.

 Another benefit of voluntary departure is that it does not lead to inadmissibility based on a previous order of deportation. But this becomes rather meaningless if one has already spent a year or more unlawfully in the United States, in which case a person is inadmissible on different grounds, barring entry for ten years.

 

What is Cancellation of Removal?

 People who have been living in the U.S. illegally for a long time may be eligible for cancellation of removal. A cancellation is a great option because it can lead to a green card for someone who has previously been unlawfully present in the country. There are four main requirements to be considered for cancellation of removal. These are: 

1.      Living continuously and physically in the U.S. for at least ten years

2.   Being removed would cause “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” to a relative or relatives who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents.

3.      Proof of good moral character

4.      No convictions of certain crimes or violations of certain laws 

Even if someone meets these four requirements, an immigration judge still has complete discretion when deciding whether or not to grant cancellation of removal. If a person is successful in getting their removal canceled, they may be able to get a green card to continue their life in the U.S. lawfully.

A note about good moral character

Good moral character is a standard, which is used by immigration judges when making decisions. It can most easily be explained as meaning that the person lacks serious criminal activity and lives up to the standard that is applied to the average U.S. citizen in the community where an immigrant lives, e.g. paying taxes, having permanent employment, pursuing education, etc.