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What is the Stop-Time Rule?

Aug. 9, 2021

A gavel, a small American flag, and a law book rest on a white backdropNot surprisingly, orders for removals of aliens – aka deportation – have gone way down under the Biden administration. According to a study by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), in the Fiscal Year of 2021 immigration courts have ordered removals in just 40.9 percent of cases, compared to 72.2 percent in FY 2019.

One thing that has not changed is the requirements for a cancellation of removal should you be ordered removed. Both non-residents and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) can use the cancellation of removal system to avoid deportation, provided they meet certain requirements based largely on how long they’ve resided in the United States.

If an immigrant wants to stop removal proceedings, he or she should be aware of the “stop-time rule,” which largely determines the length of one’s residency in the U.S.

If you’re an immigrant in Miami, or really anywhere in Florida, and you’ve received a Notice to Appear for removal proceedings, contact me immediately at the Gurian Group, P.A. I can help you defend yourself against removal.

If you’ve already been ordered removed, I can help you pursue a cancellation of removal, which can result in retaining your permanent resident status, or obtaining it for the first time.

What is Cancellation of Removal?

Cancellation of removal is a legal process that can avert removal, or deportation, once an immigration court has ordered your removal. Cancellation of removal applies to both non-residents and LPRs, i.e., those with Green Cards.

For a non-resident to qualify for cancellation, he or she must:

  • Have lived continuously in the U.S. for at least 10 years

  • Be able to demonstrate that being deported would result in extreme hardship to a spouse, child, or parent left behind, provided they are either a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident

  • Be able to demonstrate you are of “good moral character”

  • Prove you have not been convicted of certain crimes or violated certain laws

For a Green Card holder to qualify, he or she must:

  • Have resided in the U.S. continuously for seven years

  • Have been a lawful permanent resident with a Green Card for at least five years

  • Have not been convicted of an aggravated felony

  • Have not received cancellation of removal or 212(c) relief in the past

One can also obtain cancellation of removal through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Applicants do not have to be women, but they have to be abused or subject to extreme cruelty by U.S. citizens or permanent residents. They can be spouses, sons and daughters, or parents.

To use this category, you must have been living continuously in the U.S. for three years, be of good moral character, and face extreme hardship for yourself or your children or parents if deported.

What Is the Stop-Time Rule?

Note that all categories of cancellation of removal share a requirement for continuous residency in the United States. The stop-time rule means that the clock stops ticking once you receive a Notice to Appear. That date becomes the end date of your continuous residency.

Since many immigrants receive more than one Notice to Appear, confusion reigned over which one triggered the stop-time rule. On April 29, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6 to 3 that the last notice received is the one to be used for computing residency. The case was Niz-Chavez v. Garland, Attorney General.

The Benefits of a
Cancellation of Removal Order

If the immigration court grants your application for cancellation and you’re an LPR, you get to retain your Green Card, and of course, avoid deportation under current charges. If you’re a non-resident, you will receive a Green Card granting lawful residency status and become eligible for Medicaid, Social Security, and public assistance programs. Deportation will be put on hold pending any future cause for removal.

Experience You Can
Trust at Gurian Group, P.A.

Of course, the first option is to defeat the motion for your removal in court, so you don’t have to face deportation or the need to petition for cancellation of removal. I can certainly help with your court case, just as I have for many, many others.

If you do face removal, we have to move vigorously and quickly to file for a cancellation of removal. I can guide you in this process and help you assemble the necessary documentation that needs to accompany your petition.

If you’re in Miami or anywhere throughout Florida, whether non-resident or lawful permanent resident, you can rely on the Gurian Group, P.A., to go to bat for you in all immigration and deportation cases. Contact me immediately with your issues and troubles. I possess the experience and resources you need and deserve.