Immigration Law Attorney Northern California

Immigration law news and insights from Immigration Law Attorney Daniel E. Chavez.


In the United States, thousands of Mexican immigrants in mixed-status families are placed in removal proceedings each year. Over the past thirty plus years, we have represented hundreds of clients who found themselves in deportation proceedings by applying for cancellation of removal to preserve the lives that they have built for themselves in the U.S.—their families, jobs, and social networks. Of course, only those who can meet the very special and difficult requirements acquire lawful permanent residence from the judge.


To meet that very, very high requirement, applicants must have a more-or-less clean record and prove that they have lived in the U.S. for at least ten years and they must also demonstrate that their U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident child, spouse, or parent will suffer much greater harm than would normally result from the deportation of a close family member. The law states that the hardship to the family member must be: “exceptional and extremely unusual” hardship! Clearly, this relief is not available for everyone who has lived in the U.S. for a long time.

For mixed-status families caring for a gravely ill family member, though, the effects of forced removal and relocation to Mexico could be devastating, given the deficiencies of the Mexican health care system, especially for so-called “pochos” who have not lived, worked and paid taxes in Mexico for many, many years. The courts have indicated that a satisfactory showing that a qualifying relative has very serious health issues, which cannot be adequately treated or monitored if the relative returns to the applicant’s country of origin, will likely tip the scale in favor of granting the applicant’s request for cancellation.

But, at the very least, to provide the judge with a really accurate understanding of the difficulties that deported Mexican nationals and their U.S. citizen relative(s) may face in attempting to access Mexico’s health care system following deportation, the applicants have to present evidence demonstrating the impact of the socioeconomic and public health conditions of their town of origin on access to health care, the availability of health care coverage and resources in that particular region, and the ancillary costs that the applicant would incur in seeking treatment for the qualifying relative.   

Health care services provided under the health care insurance covering a majority of the Mexican population under which most returning immigrants would likely seek care are severely limited due to budgetary constraints, lack of resources, and geographic distribution. These limitations usually result in exorbitant ancillary costs for individuals returning to the remote and rural high-migration areas of Mexico. The difficulties and costs of seeking and acquiring health care, coupled with the poverty and unemployment that returning families frequently face, result in the families’ inability to provide specialized treatment for the ailing family member. This creates a greater likelihood of adverse health outcomes, including permanent disability or even death to children who have the same constitutional rights and privileges as U.S. citizen.

It is important to realize that only 4,000 people a year are allowed by Congress to be granted this form of relief. It has been reported that the 4,000 quota has already been met for FY2013 and FY 2014!  It turns out, however, that the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the Immigration Judge’s boss, has saved a few hundred numbers a year for cases that are so compelling and heart wrenching that the granting of the ill child’s parents permanent lawful resident status is the right thing to do on humanitarian and public interest grounds.

We just experienced our first “one-day” case, where a client appeared on the Immigration Court’s morning Master Calendar of August 22, 2013, and on the same judge’s afternoon calendar we were allowed to present his case on the merits of his application. Most applicants have had cases set out to 2014, 2015, or 2016 at their Master Calendar! Instead of three years my client had to wait three hours! Not only did the judge find that my client’s teenage son would suffer much, much more than other children who are born in the U.S. but whose parents are deported because he has “quadriplegic cerebral palsy, seizure disorder” and other serious and complicated medical and other challenges. The judge also held that the boy...“needs extensive medical care, goes to a special school, has regular physical and occupational therapy and must see a doctor about every one or two months.” She also decided that the medical system for the poor in Mexico would not be adequate for the child’s well-being.

Yet, the judge could not grant the relief we sought because, “...the numbers for FY 2013 had been exhausted.” We filed a motion the next day requesting one of the special numbers reserved for the most deserving cases. One week later she wrote, “As of today’s date, a cancellation number is available; therefore this matter is ready for decision,” and she ordered that my client be granted cancellation of removal pursuant to §240(A)(b)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act!

Although getting a green card in this way isn’t available to most immigrants, for some who are struggling with meeting all the daunting needs of their medically or educationally challenged children, good can come from bad! So, if you think you have a strong case for Cancellation of Removal base on your child who has special needs, you should seek out the advise of a certified specialist in immigration and nationality law to carefully look over your case and advise you on how to proceed. It is important to do so to avoid the many scams and false promises of those who make it sound easy for those who have kids born here but who are not suffering from special needs. The result is often the opposite of what they were promised and they wind up with an order of deportation! Don’t let that happen to you. Beware, and take care!

The Law Offices of Daniel E. Chavez serve clients throughout the Northern California Bay Area with solutions to their immigration legal matters. To schedule a consultation with a Bay Area California immigration law attorney, please call us at 707-775-4531 or fill out our secure online form today.

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Law Offices of Daniel E. Chavez
300 Oak Street
Petaluma, CA 94952
P: (707) 775-4531

Northern California Office

Areas We Serve

At the Law Offices of Daniel E. Chavez, in Petaluma, California, we handle immigration matters for individuals throughout the San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California, including Santa Rosa, San Rafael, Fairfield, Napa, Vallejo, Rohnert Park, Sonoma, Novato, Vacaville, Walnut Creek, Concord, Oakland, San Francisco, Ukiah, Fresno; and in Sonoma County, Marin County, Lake County, San Francisco County, Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Mendocino County, Shasta County, Humboldt County, Napa County, San Joaquin County and Merced County.

Contact Us

Law Offices of Daniel E. Chavez
300 Oak Street
Petaluma, CA 94952
P: (707) 775-4531