Evidence of Hardship can prevent removal of LPRs

According to the new ruling issued by the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on November 13, 2012, Immigration Judges will be allowed to practice discretion in cases that deal with Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) whose deportation from the country would result in extreme hardship to the family members in the United States.

This ruling was highly praised by The American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center and it is also looking forward for the Board to overruling its decision regarding the Matter of Koljenovic, 25 I&N Dec. 219 (BIA 2010). The case was against Safet Koljenovic, a native of Montenegro, who had entered the United States without inspection and later adjusted his status to that of an LPR. Under Immigration and Nationality Act, he failed to meet the pre-requisite to be eligible for a waiver program, as he hadn’t completed 7 years of lawful continuous residence since the date of his adjustment of status.

The Act further prevented the Immigration Judges from considering evidence of hardship in such cases, while for many such LPRs the room to obtain waivers by means of showing evidence of hardship is the only way to keep them from getting separated from their U. S. Family members. Martin Mendoza Leiba, who got his LPR status in 1995, and the Department of Homeland Security had already begun with his removal proceedings in 2010 based on a criminal conviction that did not involve prison-time. He was not allowed to present the evidence of hardship based on the preceding decision in Matter of Koljenovic.

With the new ruling in issue that would overturn the decision in Matter of Koljenovic, even Martin Leiba will be allowed to present the evidence of hardship by stating the conditions of his U. S. Citizen wife and five U. S. Citizen children after the separation due to his removal.

Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas. For over 15 years, our firm has successfully represented corporate clients across the United States in their efforts to bring foreign workers and business professionals to the United States. Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is highly experienced in working with employment-based visas, adjustment of status, green cards, and PERM labor certification. From filing, through approval, and on to appeal, we do everything possible to ensure that your company can bring the best and brightest in the world to the United States.