Immigration Through the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) Section 203
- Section 203 of NACARA (“NACARA 203”) applies to certain individuals from Guatemala, El Salvador, and the former Soviet bloc countries who entered the United States and applied for asylum by specified dates or registered for benefits under the settlement agreement in the class action lawsuit American Baptist Churches v. Thornburgh, 760 F. Supp. 796 (N.D. Cal. 1991) (ABC)
- After October 2000, NACARA also applied to qualified family members and to certain individuals who have been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by a permanent resident, U.S. citizen, or by certain NACARA 203 beneficiaries.
- Section 203 of NACARA allows qualified individuals to apply for suspension of deportation or for cancellation of removal (“NACARA 203 relief”) under the standards similar to those in effect before the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.
Suspension of Deportation and Special Rule Cancellation of Removal
These are types of relief from deportation (or removal). Traditionally, suspension of deportation and cancellation of removal have only been available to eligible individuals who are in deportation (or removal) proceedings in Immigration Court.NACARA 203 allows certain individuals to apply for relief from USCIS even if they have not been placed in deportation (or removal) proceedings before an immigration judge.If USCIS grants you relief under section 203 of NACARA, you will be a permanent resident and will obtain an I-551, Permanent Residence Card, commonly referred to as a “green card”.
To be eligible to apply for NACARA 203 relief, you must be one of the following:·
A Guatemalan who first entered the United States on or before October 1, 1990 (ABC class member); registered for ABC benefits on or before December 31, 1991; applied for asylum on or before January 3, 1995; and was not apprehended at time of entry after December 19, 1990. For more information on ABC benefits, see theAmerican Baptist Churches v. Thornburgh (ABC) Settlement Agreementpage.
A Salvadoran who first entered the United States on or before September 19, 1990 (ABC class member); registered for ABC benefits on or before October 31, 1991 (either directly or by applying for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)); applied for asylum on or before February 16, 1996; and was not apprehended at time of entry after December 19, 1990.
A Guatemalan or Salvadoran who filed an application for asylum on or before April 1, 1990 and has not received a final decision on your asylum application.
An individual who entered the United States on or before December 31, 1990; applied for asylum on or before December 31, 1991; and at the time of filing the application was from one of the former Soviet bloc countries (Soviet Union, Russia, any republic of the former Soviet Union, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Yugoslavia, or any state of the former Yugoslavia).
You must not have been convicted of an aggravated felony to qualify for NACARA 203.
A qualified family member of an individual in one of the above categories is also eligible under NACARA 203.
Individuals who have been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by an individual described above, may be eligible to apply for NACARA 203 relief with an Immigration Judge (IJ). If you believe you may fall into this category, you should consult an immigration attorney to help you assess whether you may be eligible to apply for NACARA 203 relief.