Washington, D.C.—Earlier this week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued a unanimous decision that will allow more lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to avoid deportation if their removal would result in extreme hardship to family members in the United States. The American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center, which collaborated with the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) on an amicus brief in the case, applauds today’s ruling and repeats its call for the Board to overturn its contrary decision in Matter of Koljenovic, 25 I&N Dec. 219 (2010).
With this decision, the Seventh Circuit joined the Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Eleventh Circuits in holding that Section 212(h) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) precludes a waiver only for those persons who, at the time they lawfully entered the United States, had become lawful permanent residents. For many LPRs facing removal, such waivers are the only means to avoid separation from U.S. family members. In theiramicus brief, the Council and NIJC argued that the Board ignored the plain language of the INA, which distinguishes between applicants who entered the country as LPRs and those who gained LPR status post-entry.