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Withholding of Removal

by Hamid R. Kashani, Attorney at Law
Nov 07, 2018

What is withholding of removal?

The law allowing withholding of deportation implements the United States obligations under the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.

Withholding of removal is a temporary relief from removal (deportation), where removal may result in a threat to the life or freedom of the individual on the basis of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

Who qualifies for withholding of removal?

A person who has been found removable (deportable), may request withholding of removal, if his or her removal would threaten his or her life or freedom on the basis of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

To obtain this relief, the foreign-born person seeking withholding must prove that it is more likely than not that his or her life or freedom would be threatened, at the destination country, on the basis of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

Who may be denied withholding of removal?

The following persons may not be granted withholding of deportation:

  • Those who have ordered, incited, assisted, or participated in the persecution of others.
  • Those who are convicted of serious crimes.
  • Those who have committed a serious nonpolitical crime outside of the United States.
  • Those who are a danger to the security of the United States.

Can I work in the United States, if I am granted withholding of removal?

Yes, but you must first apply for and obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD card).

What are the differences between asylum and withholding of removal?

  • It is harder to prove eligibility to withholding of removal than to asylum.  Withholding applicants must prove that it is more likely than not that their life or freedom will be threatened. Asylum applicants, however, only need to prove that they have a “well-founded fear” that their life or freedom will be threatened.
  • Decisions on a withholding application are not discretionary.  That means that if you prove your eligibility, you will receive withholding.  Your application cannot be denied in exercise of discretion.
  • Withholding of removal is temporary.
  • The person who has been granted withholding against deportation to one country may subsequently be deported to another country.
  • Withholding does not provide derivative benefits to family members.  However, if you are granted withholding, you may apply for reconsideration of any past denials of your asylum application, so that you may possibly be reunited with your spouse and children.
  • You can seek withholding of removal only from an immigration judge during a removal proceeding.
  • If you are granted withholding, you must obtain employment authorization before accepting employment.
  • If you are granted withholding, you cannot travel out of the United States and come back.

 

Related Topics:

Asylum

Convention against Torture (CAT) Protection

Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

Removal Proceeding Procedure & Defenses

Removal Proceedings

Grounds for Removal

Undocumented Immigrants

Expedited Removal

 

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