CASE: Cancellation of Removal for Permanent Residents
CLIENT: Peruvian (Green card holder / detained)
LOCATION: Cleveland Immigration Court in Ohio
Our client came to the United States in 1992 when he was a child. Through INA Section 245i, he got his green card in 2001. He has been in the US ever since. His brother and mother are both US Citizens.
Unfortunately he was convicted of certain crimes over the past decade. He had domestic violence, theft, DUI, and violation of protection order convictions. Because of these the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) picked him up and detained him in August of this year. He was not eligible for a bond due to his criminal convictions. He was also removable on three grounds due to those convictions.
Our client’s friends and family members contacted our office in late August for legal representation. We were retained on August 27, 2012. The case at the onset was tough. He was not married to a US Citizen. He had US Citizen kids but they don’t live with him. He had family in the US, a US citizen brother and mother, but they both reside in New Jersey. His grounds for removability were also based on three grounds. His only relief was Cancellation of Removal. It was going to be a tough case. We knew it and he knew it.
Prior to his hearing, we visited our client twice in jail. Over the course of the entire representation, our firm’s attorneys visited our client more than five times. Our client appeared at his master calendar hearing at the Cleveland Immigration Court in Ohio via televideo from the detention facility and Attorney Sung Hee (Glen) Yu represented him at the hearing and sought cancellation of removal relief for permanent residents.
Under INA Section 240A(a), for a permanent resident to be eligible for Cancellation of Removal, the alien must prove that s/he:
• Has been an LPR (green card holder) for at least five years;
• Has resided in the United States continuously for seven years after having been admitted in any status;
• Has not been convicted of an aggravated felony; and
• Merits a favorable exercise of discretion.
The criteria for favorable exercise of discretion was explained in Matter of C-V-T-, 22 I&N Dec. 7 (BIA 1998). The BIA in C-V-T stated that the factors that the immigration judge must consider when deciding whether to grant cancellation of removal to a lawful permanent resident are as follows:
The positive factors are:
• family ties in the United States, particularly ties to lawful permanent residents or U.S. citizens;
• residence of long duration in the U.S. (particularly when the inception of residence occurred at a young age);
• evidence of hardship to the Respondent and his family if deportation occurs;
• service in the U.S. armed forces;
• a history of employment;
• existence of property or business ties;
• evidence of value and service to the community;
• proof of genuine rehabilitation if a criminal record exists;
• other evidence attesting to a Respondent’s good character.
Adverse factors include:
• nature and underlying circumstances of the grounds of removal;
• the presence of additional significant violations of the Immigration Laws;
• the nature, recency, and seriousness of criminal records; and
• the presence of other evidence has been indicative of a respondent’s bad character or undesirability as a permanent resident of the U.S.
Generally, the immigration judge must weigh the positive factors against the negative factors in exercising her discretion.
After the Master Calendar Hearing, the Court scheduled the individual hearing date on October 17, 2012.
Our firm worked with our client and his friends and family members for the application and supplemental documents. We contacted his family members in other states for supporting documents and letters of support for our client’s case.
In preparing our client for the Individual Hearing, Attorney Yu visited our client multiple times at the Bedford Heights detention facility, meeting for several hours each time. Obviously the central issue in this case would be whether or not our client’s positive factors outweigh the negative factors. Our firm eventually was able to gather supporting documents and prepared supplemental evidence with multiple exhibits, and arranged them pursuant to the specific elements of Cancellation of Removal eligibility.
At the Individual Hearing on October 17, 2012, Attorney Yu represented our client at the Cleveland Immigration Court. Testimony then followed and we questioned our client extensively on the positive factors of his case. Attorney Yu questioned him regarding his length of residence in the U.S., employment history, educational history, family issues and hardships to him and his family members if he was to be deported to Peru. Our client was prepared, was very consistent, and was honest in his answers. The extensive questioning and detailed testimony of our client took so much time that the hearing had to be continued.
On November 2, 2012, our client’s Individual Hearing was resumed. The government counsel did extensive cross-examination regarding our client’s criminal history and other issues. Also, some of our client’s family members and friends testified as witnesses.
During the closing argument, Attorney Yu argued why our client merits a favorable exercise of discretion according to the C-V-T- factors. The government of course focused on the negative factors in his case, those issues which we mentioned at the start of this success story.
In the end, the Cleveland Immigration Court granted our client’s cancellation of removal relief. It was a tough call and our firm was very happy for our client. He has been here since 1992 but had a few bumps along the way. He has reformed, will finish his studies, and will continue supporting his kids. It was obviously an emotional moment as his mom, aunt, grandmother, and friends were in Court.
He soon will be released, and he will get back his green card.
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