Pro Bono Client Wins Cancellation of Removal

November 27, 2017

Working with The Legal Aid Society, Cleary Gottlieb won cancellation of a pro bono client’s removal from the U.S., successfully arguing that he should not be removed despite his 2009 conviction for the use of a telephone to facilitate drug trafficking because it was not a deportable offense.

 The client, a native and citizen of the Dominican Republic, moved to the United States as a legal permanent resident in 1994, when he was only six years old. The Immigration Court rejected the government’s argument that his 2009 conviction was an “aggravated felony” and an “offense relating to the illicit trafficking in a controlled substance,” holding that the conviction is not a categorical match to the ground of removability under the current version of the Immigration and Nationalization Act.

The opinion is significant because the Immigration Court applied a time-of-decision rule in assessing removability by comparing the crime of conviction as defined at the time our client was convicted with the removability statute at the time of decision in removal proceedings. He will now be permitted to remain in the United States with his family.