An LPR who had lived in the United States for over three decades was about to lose his permanent residence status—which he had held for more than twenty years—due to a single conviction for possessing an unlicensed firearm. His lawyer was seeking cancellation of removal in Immigration Court and IPS assisted with preparing the case.
The Government was alleging that this man was an “Aggravated Felon,” a term with a specific legal definition located in the Immigration and Nationality Act. The Respondent’s criminal offense was entered by a state court, and every state assigns different levels of “punishment” to criminal offenses. In order for this offense to lead to Respondent’s deportation, the elements in the state statute would have to match the federal definition for a deportable offense. Recall that he was a green card holder and not deportable for any additional reason.
IPS researched the state criminal code and compared it to the federal statute. We found and argued that the offense was clearly not an Aggravated Felony under U.S. immigration law. Of course, our brief also stressed the other qualifications Respondent had that made him eligible for cancellation of removal, but the fact that he was not actually deportable was paramount.
Cancellation of removal was granted.