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January Volunteer Feature: Proskauer Rose Associate Gary Kovacs Quashes Florida Warrant Enabling Permanent Resident to Proceed With His Application For Cancellation of Removal

A Dominican man, who has been a permanent resident for twenty-five years and had a United States citizen adult child, was detained for removal in 2007 after being arrested for alleged drug possession. The Legal Aid Society filed for cancellation of removal, but the Immigration Judge, without holding a hearing, found that two drug possession convictions were equivalent to an aggravated felony, making this long-time permanent resident ineligible for cancellation of removal.

In November 2008, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals found that individuals like this client, who had two drug possessions, could not be charged with an aggravated felony. As a result, this client was able to proceed with his application for cancellation of removal. However, in order to proceed with his cancellation of removal, the client also had to satisfy open cases in Florida where warrants had been issued based upon an alleged violation of probation. Gary Kovacs, an associate in Proskauer Rose's Boca Raton office, volunteered to handle the Florida representation, moved to quash the warrant, and successfully resolved this barrier to the client's application for cancellation of removal. Mr. Kovacs's outstanding representation enabled The Legal Aid Society to successfully proceed with his application for cancellation of removal. After more than two years in immigration detention, the client was granted cancellation of removal by an immigration judge in December 2009 and was permitted to retain his permanent residence status.

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