VAWA Cancellation of Removal
Victims of domestic violence who are in removal proceedings may be eligible to apply for relief with the Immigration Court in the form of VAWA cancellation of removal. The eligibility requirements to apply for this type of relief are:
- Battery or extreme cruelty - By a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse (also eligible if immigrant in removal proceedings is the parent of a child of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse who has been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident parent)
- Physical presence - Must be physically present in the U.S. for three or more years immediately preceding the date of application for VAWA cancellation or removal. An immigrant in removal proceedings will not be considered to have failed to maintain continuous physical presence by reason of an absence if she demonstrates a connection between the absence and the battering or extreme cruelty perpetrated against her.
- Good moral character - Certain bars to the good moral character requirement may be waived if certain acts or convictions can be connected to the domestic violence suffered by the self-petitioner.
- Not inadmissible or deportable under certain sections of the immigration statutes - These relate to commission of certain crimes, security grounds, and falsification of documents.
- No convictions for aggravated felonies
- Extreme hardship - Removal would result in extreme hardship to the immigrant in proceedings, her child, or her parent
In addition to a battered spouse or child of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, other abused noncitizens who may be eligible to apply for VAWA cancellation of removal include:
- Former spouse or child or U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, regardless of when death, divorce, or termination of parent-child relationship occurred
- Form or current spouse or child of someone who was formerly a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident but has lost that status for any reason
- Person with child in common with former U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, where the child in common was abused by the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
Perhaps the most difficult of the VAWA cancellation removal requirements to show is that of extreme hardship. Evidence that self-petitioners might submit to satisfy this requirement includes
- Need for access to U.S. court system, including criminal justice system and family courts (to support child support, maintenance, and custody agreements)
- Need for medical services not readily available in the home country
- Laws or customs in the home country that would penalize the self-petitioner or her children for being domestic violence victims
- The abuser's ability to follow the victim to home country
- Chance that abusers family or friends could victimize self-petitioner or her child in home country.
The "any credible evidence" standard of proof applicable in adjudicating VAWA petitions also applies in the context of VAWA cancellation of removal.