Category Archives: immigration fraud

Immigration Reform Update: Earned Path to Citizenship and Repeals of Certain Inadmissibility Bars

On February 18, the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 was introduced in the House by California Congresswoman Linda Sánchez and in the Senate by New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez. The White House first announced the bill on January 20, which was the first day of the Biden Administration.

The bill is 353 pages long. It contains sweeping provisions that, if passed, will overhaul many parts of the U.S. immigration system.

It seeks to give certain undocumented immigrants Lawful Prospective Immigrant (LPI) status and an 8-year path to U.S. citizenship; allow eligible DREAMERS, TPS holders and farmworkers to immediately apply for permanent residence; repeal the 3/10 year unlawful presence bar under INA 212(a)(9)(B) and the permanent bar under INA 212(a)(9)(C); and create an exception to the misrepresentation of citizenship bar for any person who was under age 21 when the false claim was made.

In Episode 8 of The Legal Immigrant podcast, I focus on the following provisions in the reform bill:

1. Section 1101, Adjustment of Status of Eligible Entrants to that of Lawful Prospective Immigrant (LPI), and Section 1102, Adjustment of Status of Lawful Prospective Immigrants

  • Provides earned 8-year path to citizenship for certain undocumented immigrants who have been present in the U.S. on or before January 1, 2021, and certain persons who were removed from the U.S. on or after January 20, 2017, but were inside the U.S. for at least 3 years prior

2. Section 3104, Promoting Family Unity

  • Repeals the 3/10 year bar under INA 212(a)(9)(B) due to accrual of more than 180 days of unlawful presence in the U.S. prior to departure
  • Eliminates the permanent bar under INA 212(a)(9)(C) due to illegal re-entry following more than 1 year of unlawful presence or following a removal order 
  • Creates exception to the false claim to U.S. citizenship bar under INA 212(a)(6)(C)(ii) for persons who made the misrepresentation when they were under age 21

Key points to consider: 

1.  The Immigration Reform bill is bicameral (introduced in the House and Senate on February 18), but is not bipartisan (sponsored by Democrats only and no Republicans). 

The comprehensive nature of the bill and the big changes proposed will make it harder to get the necessary votes. Moderation could be needed especially when Democrats have a slight margin in the House and a 50-50 split in the Senate. Vice President Harris has the tie-breaking vote.  But a supermajority of 60 senators is normally needed to pass major legislation in the Senate.

To move forward, the full legislation might have to be split up into separate smaller bills, or get added to the budget reconciliation process. Some Republicans have voiced opposition to the Biden Administration’s approach to immigration reform. 

2.   Even if the law is passed and signed by the President, it may take up to a year for the new rules to be drafted.  And it will take some time for the new application processes and forms to be rolled out and implemented. The applicant will also have to gather documents, including evidence of identity, proof of physical presence in the U.S. for the period that is required by law, and supporting records for any waiver of inadmissibility that is needed. 

3.     If you already qualify for another way to immigrate to the United States, such as by employment-based immigration or by a legal, bona fide marriage to a U.S. citizen, it’s better to use the existing path instead of wait for the results of this reform bill. 

4.     You must not deliberately fall out of status or illegally re-enter the U.S in the hope that you will be eligible for LPI status or other immigration benefits that have yet to be passed into law. Unlawful presence and illegal re-entries to the U.S. continue to have serious immigration consequences unless the law is amended to get rid of them.

Resources cited: 

For more information on inadmissibility waivers, see:

Consent to Reapply for Admission – I-212 Waiver: Remedy to Overcoming INA 212(a)(9)(A) and (C) Bars

When do you need an I-212 Waiver (and how do you get it)?

What should you do to get your I-212 Waiver?

When do you need an I-601 Waiver due to immigration fraud or misrepresentation (and how do you get it)?

When do you need an I-601 waiver due to unlawful presence (and how do you get it)?

212(d)(3)(A) Nonimmigrant Waiver: Advantages and Disadvantages

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The Legal Immigrant podcast and this article provide general information only. It is based on law, regulations and policy that are subject to change. Do not consider it as legal advice for your situation. The sharing or receipt of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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The Legal Immigrant Podcast: Episode 4 – Section 204(l) for Surviving Relatives

If the petitioner or principal beneficiary in an immigrant petition dies, may USCIS still approve the case? May the surviving beneficiaries still immigrate to the United States? In some cases, section 204(l) relief is the way.

Section 204(l) of the Immigration & Nationality Act allows certain beneficiaries (and derivative beneficiaries) to continue with an Immigrant Visa request or Adjustment to Permanent Residence application even after the Form I-130 petitioner (or principal beneficiary) has died.

Unlike the survivor benefits for widow(er)s of U.S. citizens, and unlike humanitarian reinstatement for principal beneficiaries of approved petitions, section 204(l) relief protects a broader category of persons if they show they resided in the United States at the time of the death, and they continue to reside in the United States.

Section 204(l) provides benefits not only when the U.S. citizen or permanent resident petitioner dies, but also, in some cases, when the principal beneficiary or principal applicant dies. It allows eligible derivative beneficiaries to continue with the green card process even if the principal beneficiary dies. Derivative beneficiaries are applicants who cannot be directly petitioned for, but may join the principal beneficiary of the petition based on a spousal or parent-minor child relationship.

In episode 4 of The Legal Immigrant podcast, I discuss who may be eligible for 204(l) benefits, the residence and admissibility requirements, the discretionary factors, and how to apply for the relief.

For more information, see:

Section 204(l) Allows Certain Surviving Relatives to Become Permanent Residents Even When Petitioner or Principal Beneficiary Has Died


Section 201(b)(2)(A)(i) Allows Certain Widows or Widowers of U.S. Citizens to Become Permanent Residents Even When the Citizen Has Died

Humanitarian Reinstatement Allows Certain Principal Beneficiaries to Become Permanent Residents Even When Petitioner Has Died

If you like the show, please go to Apple Podcasts, log into your ITunes account, and leave a 5-star rating and positive review. Or share and rate on another app. This extra step will help grow the show and help others find the information they need! 

Many thanks,

Dyan Williams

Founder & Principal Attorney
Dyan Williams Law PLLC
info@dyanwilliamslaw.com
www.dyanwilliamslaw.com

The Legal Immigrant PODCAST is Now Up!

The month of January signals new beginnings and fresh starts. In December 2020 – with the new year approaching – I finally took steps to launch The Legal Immigrant podcast.

Through success stories and Q&As, the show will cover U.S. immigration problems that we help our clients solve.

Episodes 1 and 2 are now up. The podcast is available HERE  on the show’s website. Or find it on podcast apps like Apple Podcasts, SpotifyPlayer FM, and Listen Notes or via RSS feed.

At the start of 2020, I had tentative plans to launch a podcast. As a solo immigration lawyer and a productivity coach, I was conflicted on whether to start one or two podcasts. Over time, this project moved to the backburner while COVID-19, civil unrest, school closures, the November Elections, and other changes were at front and center.

Although the U.S. and other parts of the world are still not back to pre-COVID-19 “normal,” we can still attend to the essentials. We have a unique opportunity to build resilience, show grace to others, and learn new ways to maintain human connection.

Besides launching The Legal Immigrant podcast, I started another podcast, The Incrementalist. This productivity show will discuss how to make big changes or finish a big project in small steps, with the Incrementalist approach.

There’s a content strategy to release new episodes over the coming weeks. It will take systems – not goals – to keep the shows going. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, check out the first two episodes of The Legal Immigrant. If you find the podcast helpful, please share it with others. And subscribe so you don’t miss new episodes. 

And if you’d like to check out my other podcast, The Incrementalist, click HERE for the show’s website.

Your downloads, shares and subscriptions will help to grow the shows. In return, I will aim to provide valuable content and build connection with listeners through podcasting.

Thank you for your support and audience.

All the best in 2021,

Dyan Williams

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Removal of INA 212(a)(6)(C)(i) Bar + H-4 Visa Grant = A True Success Story

A U.S. Consulate granted the H-4 spouse visa to our client, after agreeing to remove the INA 212(a)(6)(C)(i) charge against her. This permanent bar was made 10 years earlier, when she applied for an Immigrant Visa sponsored by her prior U.S. citizen spouse.

A 212(d)(3) nonimmigrant waiver is the more common fix, but does not get rid of the bar. In this case, I advised the applicant to file a motion to reconsider and rescind the inadmissibility charge, instead of ask for a 212(d)(3) waiver with the visa. The facts and law did not support the Consulate’s finding that she used fraud or willfully misrepresented material facts to obtain a U.S. immigration benefit.

Problem: INA 212(a)(6)(C)(i) Charge is a Permanent Bar

In the CR1 Immigrant Visa refusal, the U.S. Consulate found that my client had willfully misrepresented a material fact in her prior request for a K-3 nonimmigrant visa. The K-3 allows the spouse of a U.S. citizen to enter the U.S. with temporary status and then apply for a green card through Form I-485 adjustment.

According to the Consulate, she had falsely claimed to be married to the U.S. citizen petitioner when she really was not. It reasoned that her Hindu marriage — at the time she applied for the K-3 visa — was not legally valid because their marital ceremony did not include the statutorily recognized rituals, Saptapadi and/or Agni Pheras.

The couple chose to leave out these rituals for personal reasons. They received a marriage certificate from the government authorities based on the ceremony that was performed. They did not expect the U.S. Consulate to question the validity of the marriage due to the missing ceremonial rituals.

At the K-3 visa interview, the consular officer instructed the applicant to complete a new marital ceremony with all the necessary Hindu marriage rituals. It issued a visa refusal notice stating the petition was invalid and would be returned to USCIS for revocation.

After following the Consulate’s instructions, the U.S. citizen filed a second I-130 petition to restart the process. The beneficiary later applied for the Immigrant Visa with the understanding that the new marriage met the Consulate’s requirements.

Instead of granting the CR1 visa, the U.S. Consulate denied it under INA 212(a)(6)(C)(i). The Consulate found the applicant had lied about her marital status in the K-3 visa request because she did not have a legal marriage to the petitioner at the time. She next filed a Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Inadmissibility with USCIS, as instructed by the Consulate.

A year later, the I-601 waiver request was denied. USCIS found there was insufficient evidence of extreme hardship to the U.S. citizen petitioner if the applicant did not immigrate to the United States. The separation led the marriage to fall apart and end in divorce.

Several years later, the applicant entered into a legal, bona fide marriage to an H-1B visa holder. The couple then contacted me for help in getting the H-4 visa at the U.S. Consulate.

I confirmed that section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) is a lifetime inadmissibility bar. The H-4 visa could be granted only if the U.S. Consulate agreed to remove the bar or the U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), Admissibility Review Office (ARO) issued a 212(d)(3) waiver with the Consulate’s recommendation.

Solution: Motion to Reconsider and Rescind Inadmissibility Bar in H-4 Visa Request

With my guidance, the couple decided to ask the U.S. Consulate to remove the section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) charge and grant the H-4 visa, without requiring the 212(d)(3) waiver.

To support the Motion to Reconsider, I counseled the H-1B spouse and the H-4 applicant on the written testimonies and documentary evidence to present to the U.S. Consulate. I also prepared a legal memorandum explaining why the section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) bar did not apply to this case.

At the visa interview, the applicant was questioned about the prior marriage that led to the inadmissibility bar. To show the consular officer that the bar was made in error, she presented the Motion to Reconsider, including my legal memorandum and her affidavit. The Consulate accepted her documents and placed the case in 221(g) administrative processing.

After receiving my follow-up inquiry, the Consulate scheduled the applicant for a second interview. This was three months after her first interview. She answered more questions on her marriage to the H-1B visa holder. She also submitted more evidence related to the marriage in response to a second 221(g) notice.

Six months after the first interview, the Consulate issued a notice stating the applicant was eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility. I then followed up with the Consulate requesting again they review the Motion to Reconsider and lift the section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) bar.

After several more months of administrative processing and follow-up inquiries, the Consulate issued a notice stating a new waiver was in process because the prior waiver had expired.

At that point, I filed a request with the Visa Office, U.S. Department of State, asking it to counsel the U.S. Consulate to reconsider the inadmissibility charge, instead of require a 212(d)(3) waiver. The Visa Office contacted the Consulate and began to investigate my inquiry.

Outcome: Removal of Misrepresentation Bar and H-4 Visa Grant

A year after the applicant had attended her first H-4 visa interview, the U.S. Consulate agreed to remove the section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) bar. The Visa Office sent me an email stating the Consulate would contact the applicant with further instructions on her H-4 visa request.

Despite the long wait, my client was happy to have the bar lifted and to receive her H-4 visa without needing a 212(d)(3) waiver. The visa was marked with a “clearance received” annotation. Because her spouse was already in the United States in H-1B status, she was excepted from Presidential Proclamation 10052, which placed COVID-19 travel restrictions on nonimmigrant visa applicants.

With the removal of the 212(a)(6)(C)(i) charge, my client will not a need a 212(d)(3) waiver to extend her H-4 status or to get a new nonimmigrant visa. She also will not require a Form I-601/INA 212(i) waiver to immigrate to the U.S. with her husband, who may apply for permanent residence through his U.S. employer.

The H-4 applicant, her H-1B spouse and I communicated by emails and telephone calls. I had one in-person meeting with the H-1B spouse for the initial consultation. With effective collaboration, we convinced the U.S. Consulate to remove the (6)(C)(i) bar — which was made a decade ago — and grant the H-4 visa. This is a true success story.

Cheers,

Dyan Williams

Founder & Principal Attorney
Dyan Williams Law PLLC
(612) 225-9900
info@dyanwilliamslaw.com

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This article provides general information only. It is based on law, regulations and policy that are subject to change. Do not consider it as legal advice for your situation. Each case is unique and even cases that seem similar may have different outcomes. The sharing or receipt of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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Intro & Outro Music by: Sebastian Brian Mehr

I-601 Fraud Waiver + Immigrant Visa Grant = A True Success Story

After USCIS approved the Form I-601 application we prepared on his behalf, our client received his Immigrant Visa and joined his permanent resident parents in the United States. Prior to getting the waiver, he was refused the visa under INA 212(a)(6)(C)(i), i.e. fraud or willful misrepresentation of material fact to previously enter the U.S. on a B1/B2 visitor visa.

With our guidance, he proved to USCIS that his aging mother and father would face extreme hardships if he did not receive admission to the United States. The Form I-601 approval permitted the issuance of Immigrant Visas to the applicant and his accompanying wife and two minor children.

Problem: Permanent Bar Under INA 212(a)(6)(C)(i)

Section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) of the Immigration & Nationality Act (INA) states that a person who, by fraud or willfully misrepresenting a material fact, seeks to procure (or has sought to procure or has procured) a visa, admission to the U.S. or any other U.S. immigration benefit is inadmissible. This is a lifetime bar to entering the United States.

In this case, in the early 1990s, our client attended high school while he was on a visitor visa, instead of on the proper F-1 student visa. A U.S. citizen family friend — who later became his legal guardian — encouraged him to begin attending a U.S. high school during his temporary visits. A minor at the time, he would consistently depart the United States before his authorized stay expired and then re-enter to continue his studies.

Two years later, he was denied admission at a U.S. port of entry, upon presenting his valid passport and unexpired visitor visa. He was still under age 18 at that point. The U.S. customs officers thought he spoke English too well to be just a visitor. With further inquiry, they discovered he was attending school and working part-time in the United States during his temporary stays. His visa was cancelled and he went back to Mexico.

A few days later, he returned to the United States by crossing the U.S.-Mexico border on foot without inspection. He did not encounter any border patrol agents or present any false documents or information to re-enter the United States and finish high school.

Following his high school graduation, he departed the United States and established a comfortable life in his home country. He became a family man with a spouse and two children. He developed a solid career in warehouse management and logistics.

About 20 years later, he applied for an Immigrant Visa based on an approved Form I-130 petition his U.S. citizen brother filed on his behalf. At the Immigrant Visa interview, the U.S. consular officer found him inadmissible under INA 212(a)(6)(C)(i) for misrepresenting the main purpose of his visit when he requested admission to the United States in the mid-1990s on his B-2 visitor visa to continue his education.

During the visa interview, he admitted under oath to the consular officer that he had attempted to enter the United States using his visitor visa by stating he was coming to the U.S. for a visit. But he intended to return to school and a part-time job.

Although he did not affirmatively present false information to the U.S. customs officer, his own testimony at the visa interview led the U.S. Consulate to deny him the visa under INA 212(a)(6)(C)(i). He was instructed to file a Form I-601 application for waiver of inadmissibility.

Solution: Form I-601 Waiver Under INA 212(i)

Section 212(i) of the INA provides a waiver of the fraud/misrepresentation bar if the applicant is the spouse, son, or daughter of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident who will suffer extreme hardship if the applicant’s request for admission to the United States is denied.

After agreeing to represent the applicant, I counseled him on the documentary evidence and written testimonies he needed to present to USCIS. These included detailed affidavits from the applicant and his family members, medical records and psychological evaluation reports for the parents, and proof of his U.S. citizen brother’s limited income and multiple responsibilities.

To support the Form I-601 application, I submitted a legal memorandum describing the extreme hardships the permanent resident parents would suffer if the applicant did not receive the Immigrant Visa for admission to the United States. The memo also explained why his U.S. citizen brother needed his help and support to care for their aging parents. Furthermore, it was not a viable option for the parents to relocate to the applicant’s home country due to the lack of health care, high crime rate, and poor living conditions.

Even if the applicant meets all the eligibility requirements, the USCIS officer must also decide whether to grant the waiver as a matter of discretion. Because fraud or willful misrepresentation of material fact to obtain a U.S. immigration benefit is a serious violation, we emphasized the applicant was a minor, at the time, who reasonably relied on the advice of his legal guardian. In addition, his professional qualifications, family responsibilities, lack of a criminal history, and close relationship with his permanent resident parents were positive factors that outweighed the unfavorable ones.

Outcome: Waiver Approval + Immigrant Visa Grant

Consistent with average wait times, USCIS took a year to process and approve the Form I-601 waiver application. Several months later, the applicant was scheduled for a follow-up interview at the U.S. Consulate, which issued the Immigrant Visas to him and his spouse and two children.

He and his accompanying derivative beneficiaries became permanent residents of the United States upon their admission on Immigrant Visas. He finally reunited with his parents and U.S. citizen brother after they had lived in separate countries for 20+ years. This is a true success story.

Cheers,

Dyan Williams

Founder & Principal Attorney
Dyan Williams Law PLLC
(612) 225-9900
info@dyanwilliamslaw.com

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This article provides general information only. It is based on law, regulations and policy that are subject to change. Do not consider it as legal advice for your situation. Each case is unique and even cases that seem similar may have different outcomes. The sharing or receipt of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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Intro & Outro Music by: Sebastian Brian Mehr