What factors decide whether immigrants receive extreme hardship waivers?

Extreme hardship waivers are granted case-by-case based on precedents established by case law and various other factors.

During the 2015 fiscal year, over 63,000 immigrants throughout the U.S. were deported, per the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In many cases, removal may have negative financial, physical and emotional consequences for immigrants and for their family members. Fortunately, in some cases, people facing deportation in Jersey City may be able to qualify for extreme hardship waivers on the basis of these issues.

Case-by-case evaluation

Requests for extreme hardship waivers are considered on a case-by-case basis, given the subjective nature of evaluating "extreme hardship." According to materials from the U.S. Department of Citizenship and Immigration Services, there are no circumstances that automatically qualify a person to receive one of these waivers. Typically, asylum officers look at many factors that could cause an immigrant or his or her relatives to experience extreme hardship. A waiver typically will be granted based on several factors, rather than just one.

Legal precedents

Although each person's situation is unique, case law has established several variables that are often taken into account when extreme hardship waivers are granted. These include the following:

  • The medical condition of the person and his or her dependents, along with the quality of medical care available in the country that the person would be deported to
  • The community ties and family that the person has in the U.S. and in his or her native country
  • The ability of the person's children to speak the native language and make other adjustments to living in another country
  • The psychological effects that deportation would have on the immigrant and his or her family members
  • The employment opportunities available in the country that the immigrant would return to, along with the financial impact the deportation would have on the person's family members

This is not an exhaustive list of factors that have been considered in prior cases, nor is it limiting. Asylum officers may consider almost any relevant variable to decide whether a waiver is merited.

Level of hardship

Deportation can be expected to cause a degree of hardship for almost anyone. Therefore, to grant a waiver, an asylum officer must conclude that detention and removal would cause a person, or his or her dependents, to suffer hardships that are more severe than those normally associated with deportation. As an example, financial challenges associated with relocating and changing jobs might not be considered extreme, since most immigrants face these setbacks.

Seeking a waiver

Securing an extreme hardship waiver may be challenging for most immigrants, due to the broad criteria and the necessity of proving that deportation would cause an extreme level of hardship. Consequently, anyone who faces removal and is considering requesting a waiver should consult with an attorney.