27 May 2006


This week an Immigration Judge Granted a Syrian man Cancellation of removal after nearly 20 years of unlawful presence in the United States.

Cancellation of Removal is a defense to a charge of being removeable, in which the alien can be granted Lawful Permanent Resident Status by an Immigration Judge (I.J.), if he or she can show that he or she is a person of good moral character, has resided continuously in the United States for at least ten years, and that his or her removal would cause his LPR or her USC spouse, parent or child exceptional and extremely unusal hardship.

In the case at hand, the alien, a citizen and native of Syria, entered the US twenty years ago as a visitor and never left. His wife arrived shorlty thereafter and also never left. During his time in the United States, the couple had five children, purchased a home, owned and operated several dry cleaning/tailor business, had never been arrested, and had paid taxes for the last 13 years, since they received social security numbers.

As a result of the special registration program that required adult males from most Islamic countries and North Korea to report to CIS to be processed, the alien was charged with being removable. His wife was not charged.

After a hearing on the case two years ago, the I.J. in Newark, denied the application indicating that he did not see the requisite level of hardship to the USC children should their father be removed to Syria. Respondent argued that he had met all of the requirements for the case to be granted and that, based upon the lower standard of living in Syria, anti-American sentiments, the fact that none of the children could read or write Arabic, loss of the family home and businesses, the amount of time in the US, and the fact that several of the children were preparing for college in the US, that the alien had more than met his burden.

An appeal was filed with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). Consel was then able to have the wife placed into removal proceedings, during which she filed her own Cancellation of Removal application based upon the exact same facts as the husband had.

After a full hearing on her case before a different Immigration Judge, the case was granted.

Immediately, respondent through counsel filed a Motion to the BIA to Remand the case on the basis of the case of the wife having been granted. Specifcally, counsel argued that, now that the case of the wife had been granted, it was possible for the family to remain in the US without their father, which completely changed the nature of the hardhsip claim in the case of the husband in that in his case, as the wife had no legal basis to remain in the US, the children would have to leave with the father and mother to Syria. Now that the mother could stay legally in the US, the harship would result from loss of the family of their father.

The BIA agreed that the case of the mother having been granted constituted significant new evidence justifying the case of the father being sent back to the I.J. for a new hearing, and remanded the husband’s case back to the Immigration Court for further proceedings.

Once the case was again before the Court, the Trial Attorney for Homeland Security, and the Immigration Judge agreed to grant the application.

Now, the man is a lawful permanent resident, and his wife and their five children can continue to live together in the United States, legally.

CELLA & ASSOCIATES represented the husband and wife through both cases and the appeal.

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