• Joseph Caraccio

Cancellation of Removal Precedent Case Law


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Matter of Mendoza-Sandino, 22 I&N Dec. 1236 (BIA 2000)


Pursuant to section 240A(d)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(d)(1) (Supp. II 1996), an alien may not accrue the requisite 7 years of continuous physical presence for suspension of deportation after the service of the Order to Show Cause and Notice of Hearing (Form I-221), as service of the Order to Show Cause ends continuous physical presence.


Matter of Campos-Torres, 22 I&N Dec. 1289 (BIA 2000)


(1) Pursuant to section 240A(d)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. §1229b(d)(1) (Supp. II 1996), an offense must be one “referred to in section 212(a)(2)” of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2) (1994 & Supp. II 1996), to terminate the period of continuous residence or continuous physical presence required for cancellation of removal.


(2) A firearms offense that renders an alien removable under section 237(a)(2)(C) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(C) (Supp. II 1996), is not one “referred to in section 212(a)(2)” and thus does not stop the further accrual of continuous residence or continuous physical presence for purposes of establishing eligibility for cancellation of removal.


Matter of Romalez, 23 I&N Dec. 423 (BIA 2002)


For purposes of determining eligibility for cancellation of removal pursuant to section 240A(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8U.S.C. §1229b(b) (Supp. IV 1998), continuous physical presence is deemed to end at the time an alien is compelled to depart the United States under threat of the institution ofdeportation or removal proceedings.


Matter of Cisneros, 23 I&N Dec. 668 (BIA 2004)


Pursuant to section 240A(d)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(d)(1) (2000), an alien’s period of continuous physical presence in the United States is deemed to end when the alien is served with the charging document that is the basis for the current proceeding.


Service of a charging document in a prior proceeding does not serve to end the alien’s period of continuous physical presence with respect to an application for cancellation of removal filed in the current proceeding. Matter of Mendoza-Sandino, 22 I&NDec. 1236 (BIA 2000), distinguished.


Matter of Avilez, 23 I&N Dec. 799 (BIA 2005)


(1) Where an alien departed the United States for a period less than that specified in section 240A(d)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. §§ 1229b(d)(2)(2000), and unsuccessfully attempted reentry at a land border port of entry before actually reentering, physical presence continued to accrue for purposes of cancellation of removal under section 240A(b)(1)(A) unless, during that attempted reentry, the alien was formally excluded or made subject to an order of expedited removal, was offered and accepted the opportunity to withdraw an application for admission, or was subjected to some other formal, documented process pursuant to which the alien was determined to be inadmissible to theUnited States.


(2) The respondent’s 2-week absence from the United States did not break her continuous physical presence where she was refused admission by an immigration official at a port of entry, returned to Mexico without any threat of the institution of exclusion proceedings, and subsequently reentered without inspection.


Matter of Bautista-Gomez, 23 I&N Dec. 893 (BIA 2006)


The provision in 8 C.F.R. § 1003.23(b)(3) (2005) that an applicant for cancellation of removal under section 240A(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(b) (2000), must demonstrate statutory eligibility for that relief prior to the service of a notice to appear applies only to the continuous physical presence requirement and has no bearing on the issues of qualifying relatives, hardship, or goodmoral character.


Matter of Ramirez-Vargas, 24 I&N Dec. 599 (BIA 2008)


A parent’s period of residence in the United States cannot be imputed to a child for purposes of calculating the 7 years of continuous residence required to establish eligibility for cancellation of removal under section 240A(a)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(a)(2)(2006).


Matter of Reza-Murillo, 25 I&N Dec. 296 (BIA 2010)


A grant of Family Unity Program benefits does not constitute an “admission” to the United States under section 101(a)(13)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(13)(A) (2006), for purposes of establishing that an alien has accrued the requisite 7-year period of continuous residence after having been “admitted in any status” to be eligible for cancellation of removal under section 240A(a)(2) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(a)(2) (2006).


Matter of Velasquez-Cruz, 26 I&N Dec. 458 (BIA 2014)


An alien's departure from the United States following a criminal conviction for illegal entry under section 275(a)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1325(a)(1) (2012), interrupts the 10-year period of continuous physical presence required to establish eligibility for cancellation of removal under section 240A(b)(1) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(b)(1) (2012).


Matter of Fajardo-Espinoza, 26 I&N Dec. 603 (BIA 2015)


A grant of Family Unity Program benefits does not constitute an “admission” to the United States under section 101(a)(13)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(13)(A) (2012), for purposes of establishing that an alien has accrued the requisite 7 years of continuous residence after having been “admitted in any status” to be eligible for cancellation of removal under section 240A(a)(2) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(a)(2) (2012). Matter of Reza, 25 I&N Dec. 296 (BIA 2010), reaffirmed. Garcia-Quintero v. Gonzales, 455 F.3d 1006 (9th Cir. 2006), not followed.


Matter of Ordaz, 26 I&N Dec. 637 (BIA 2015)


A notice to appear that was served on an alien but never resulted in the commencement of removal proceedings does not have “stop-time” effect for purposes of establishing eligibility for cancellation of removal pursuant to section 240A(d)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(d)(1) (2012).


Matter of Castrejon-Colino, 26 I&N Dec. 667 (BIA 2015)


(1) Where an alien has the right to a hearing before an Immigration Judge, a voluntary departure or return does not break the alien’s continuous physical presence for purposes of cancellation of removal under section 240A(b)(1)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(b)(1)(A) (2012), in the absence of evidence that he or she was informed of and waived the right to such a hearing. Matter of Avilez, 23 I&N Dec. 799 (BIA 2005), clarified.


(2) Evidence that an alien who had the right to a hearing before an Immigration Judge was fingerprinted and/or photographed before being allowed to voluntarily depart is not enough, in itself, to demonstrate a waiver of the right to a hearing or to show a process of sufficient formality to break continuous physical presence.


Matter of Garcia-Ramirez, 26 I&N Dec. 674 (BIA 2015)


(1) Where an alien has the right to a hearing before an Immigration Judge, a voluntary departure or return does not break the alien’s continuous physical presence for purposes of cancellation of removal under section 240A(b)(1)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(b)(1)(A) (2012), in the absence of evidence that he or she was informed of and waived the right to such a hearing, regardless of whether the encounter occurred at or near the border. Matter of Avilez, 23 I&N Dec. 799 (BIA 2005), clarified.


(2) Evidence that an alien who had the right to a hearing before an Immigration Judge was fingerprinted and/or photographed before being allowed to voluntarily depart is not enough, in itself, to demonstrate a waiver of the right to a hearing or to show a process of sufficient formality to break continuous physical presence. Matter of Castrejon-Colino, 26 I&N Dec. 667 (BIA 2015), followed.


 


CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS


Matter of Garcia-Hernandez, 23 I&N Dec. 590 (BIA 2002)


(1) An alien who has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude that falls within the “petty offense” exception in section 212(a)(2)(A)(ii)(II) of the Immigration andNationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2)(A)(ii)(II) (1994), is not ineligible for cancellation of removal under section 240A(b)(1)(C) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(b)(1)(C) (Supp. IV1998), because he “has not been convicted of an offense under section 212(a)(2)” of the Act.


(2) An alien who has committed a crime involving moral turpitude that falls within the“petty offense” exception is not ineligible for cancellation of removal under section 240A(b)(1)(B) of the Act, because commission of a petty offense does not bar the offender from establishing good moral character under section 101(f)(3) of the Act, 8 U.S.C.§ 1101(f)(3) (Supp. IV 1998).


(3) An alien who has committed more than one petty offense is not ineligible for the “petty offense” exception if “only one crime” is a crime involving moral turpitude.


(4) The respondent, who was convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude that qualifies as a petty offense, was not rendered ineligible for cancellation of removal under section 240A(b)(1) of Act by either his conviction or his commission of another offense that is not a crime involving moral turpitude.



Matter of Gonzalez-Silva, 24 I&N Dec. 218 (BIA 2007)


An alien whose conviction precedes the effective date of section 237(a)(2)(E) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(E) (2000), is not “convicted of an offense under” that section and therefore is not barred from establishing eligibility for cancellation of removal by section 240A(b)(1)(C) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(b)(1)(C) (2000).



Matter of Almanza-Arenas, 24 I&N Dec. 771 (BIA 2009)


(1) An alien whose application for relief from removal was filed after the May 11, 2005, effective date of the REAL ID Act of 2005, Division B of Pub. L. No. 109-13, 119 Stat. 231 (“REAL ID Act”), has the burden to prove that he satisfies the applicable eligibility requirements and merits a favorable exercise of discretion under section 240(c)(4)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229a(c)(4)(A) (2006), and must provide corroborating evidence requested by the Immigration Judge pursuant to section 240(c)(4)(B), unless it cannot be reasonably obtained.


(2) An alien whose application for cancellation of removal under section 240A(b)(1) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(b)(1) (2006), is governed by the provisions of the REAL ID Act, and who has been convicted of an offense under a divisible criminal statute, has the burden to establish that the conviction was not pursuant to any part of the statute that reaches conduct involving moral turpitude, including the burden to produce corroborating conviction documents, such as a transcript of the criminal proceedings, as reasonably requested by the Immigration Judge. Sandoval-Lua v. Gonzales, 499 F.3d 1121 (9th Cir. 2007),distinguished.


(3) An alien who has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude has been “convicted of an offense under” section 237(a)(2) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2) (2006), and is therefore ineligible for cancellation of removal under section 240A(b)(1)(C), regardless of his status as an arriving alien or his eligibility for a petty offense exception under section 212(a)(2)(A)(ii)(II) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. §1182(a)(2)(A)(ii)(II) (2006).


Matter of Cortez, 25 I&N Dec. 301 (BIA 2010)


(1) An alien who has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude for which a sentence of a year or longer may be imposed has been convicted of an offense “described under” section 237(a)(2) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2) (2006), and is therefore ineligible for cancellation of removal under section 240A(b)(1)(C) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(b)(1)(C) (2006), regardless of the alien’s eligibility for the petty offense exception under section 212(a)(2)(A)(ii)(II) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2)(A)(ii)(II) (2006).Matter of Almanza, 24 I&N Dec. 771 (BIA 2009), clarified. Matter of Gonzalez-Zoquiapan, 24 I&N Dec. 549 (BIA 2008); Matter of Gonzalez-Silva, 24 I&N Dec. 218 (BIA 2007); and Matter of Garcia-Hernandez, 23 I&N Dec. 590 (BIA 2003), explained.


(2) In determining which offenses are “described under” sections 212(a)(2), 237(a)(2), and 237(a)(3) of the Act for purposes of section 240A(b)(1)(C) of the Act, only language specifically pertaining to the criminal offense, such as the offense itself and the sentence imposed or potentially imposed, should be considered.


(3) The respondent’s misdemeanor conviction for welfare fraud in violation of section 10980(c)(2) of the California Welfare and Institutions Code rendered her ineligible for cancellation of removal under section 240A(b)(1)(C) of the Act, because it was for a crime involving moral turpitude for which she could have been sentenced to a year in county jail and was therefore for an offense “described under” section 237(a)(2) of the Act.


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