Written by attorney Nikki Mehrpoo Jacobson

Cancellation Of Removal: Disabled Family Members May Assist Immigrants with Relief From Deportation


When 42 year-old Maria Sanchez* and her family consulted with Attorney Nikki Mehrpoo Jacobson in 2008, she was too distraught to believe that there was hope for her and her husband, Miguel, to obtain legal status in the United States and not be deported. Maria and Miguel came to the United States in 1997 as newlyweds from Guatemala to pursue a better life for themselves. They were blessed with three children in the United States. Unfortunately, not all three were healthy.

Their first child, Michael, 10, was diagnosed as an infant with Cerebral Palsy, a neurological disorder, and was severely weakened on the left side of his body and was unable to use his left hand and was unable to walk. Michael could not lead a normal day-to-day life and required care and assistance. With no other family in the United States, Maria and Miguel were desperate to obtain legal status (green card) in the United States and sought advice from the Immigration Lawyers at The Jacobson Law Firm, APC. Maria and Miguel were surprised to learn that Michael's condition would assist them in their pursuit to obtain legal status in the United States.

Maria and Miguel were eligible for Cancellation of Removal. Cancellation of Removal is an immigration remedy where someone would have to appear before an immigration judge to apply for permanent residence if certain requirements are met. There are three major requirements to win cancellation of removal. First, the applicant must have been present in the United States for at least ten continuous years. Second, the applicant must be a person of good moral character and have not been convicted of certain crimes. Finally, the applicant must have a U.S. citizen or legal resident spouse, parent or child who would suffer exceptional and extremely unusual hardship if the applicant were deported.

Typically, the the most difficult obstacle to obtaining cancellation of removal is proving exceptional and extremely unusual hardship. This is defined as hardship that is substantially beyond that which would ordinarily be expected to result from an alien's deportation and hardship to the applicant is irrelevant. Some factors considered in determining exceptional and extremely unusual hardship include, but are not limited to:

  • Age of the qualifying U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident relative, particularly if elderly or young children;
  • Health of the qualifying relative, especially very serious health issues;
  • Circumstances of the qualifying relative. For example, a U.S. citizen child with special needs in school;
  • If the qualifying relative is a child, whether he or she can speak, read, or write in the alien's native language.

Like many out of status families who migrate to the U.S. in search of better jobs, education or physical and financial security, Maria and Miguel also needed to remain in the United States, primarily to seek continued medical treatment for Michael. After careful analysis and creation of a theory of the case to establish the very difficult standard of hardship needed to satisfy the Immigration Judge in this matter, Maria and Miguel were granted Cancellation of Removal and were able to remain in the United States and become lawful permanent residents (obtain their green cards).

Additional resources provided by the author

NIKKI MEHRPOO JACOBSON Attorney at Law Workers' Compensation | Immigration Call or Text (310) 277-2266 Free Work Injury Consultation Attorney at Law | Professor of Law | Certified Specialist | Expert Witness | Legal Analyst | Author

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