The reality is that many people in Virginia may have been living in this country for many years without ever obtaining, or maintaining, proper documentation.

During this time, these immigrants may have establish a family and other roots in this country and state which would make it very hard, on both themselves and those who count on them, were they to be deported.

Unfortunately, this does not mean that a Harrisonburg resident will not get served with the dreaded Notice to Appear for a removal proceeding which could lead to an involuntary expulsion from the United States.

In certain circumstances, an immigrant may be able to petition for what is called Cancellation of Removal. As the name implies, a Cancellation of Removal, if granted, will terminate the deportation process and allow an immigrant to remain legally in the country.

A Cancellation of Removal proceeding is actually a complicated legal process. An immigrant who has been served with a Notice to Appear and who is interested in applying for Cancellation of Removal should strongly consider speaking with an immigration attorney.

However, to give an overview, a person can apply for Cancellation if he or she has lived in the United States for 10 years and has been of what the law calls good moral character, which generally means the person can have no significant run-ins with the law.

The person will also have to demonstrate exceptional and extreme hardship to an immediate family member who is a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.

Some immigrants are simply not eligible for Cancellation due to a specific provision in the law. On the other hand, victims of abuse may be subject to more lenient rules.