Individuals in California and elsewhere who are subject to deportation may ask for a cancellation of removal. Generally speaking, this request is made during an immigration hearing, and it adjusts a person’s status to lawfully admitted for permanent residence. This type of relief is available both to lawful permanent residents as well as those who do not have a green card. Victims of domestic abuse may also be eligible to avoid deportation regardless of their current residency status.

The criteria for obtaining a cancellation of removal depends on whether a person is a permanent resident or not. For example, permanent residents must have lived in the United States for at least seven years after being admitted to qualify. They must also be able to show that they have been lawful permanent residents for at least five years and have not been convicted of an aggravated felony.

Those who are not permanent residents may qualify if they have lived in the United States for at least 10 years and are considered to be of high moral character. Individuals who haven’t been convicted of murder, possession of drugs or other felonies generally meet that description. A person who lacks permanent resident status may also need to show that his or her removal would cause a hardship for a spouse, child or other immediate family members.

Those who believe that they may be subject to deportation/removal from the United States may ask for relief from a judge. An attorney may able to help a person show that he or she has a clean criminal record and that being asked to leave may impose an undue burden on family members. This may be enough to convince a judge to grant a request to adjust a foreign national’s immigration status.