Tag Archives: Customs & Border Protection

Grant of Motion to Vacate Expedited Removal Order + Rescission of Misrepresentation Charge = A True Success Story

On November 9, 2016 – several hours after Donald Trump gave his acceptance speech as U.S. President-elect – I received a telephone call from the U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) on a Motion to Vacate Expedited Removal Order I had filed on October 31st (only 9 days earlier). I had appealed to the CBP Field Office, which denied my client admission at the U.S. port of entry, to rescind the removal order and the charge that she willfully misrepresented material fact to gain entry into the U.S. as a visitor.

My client sought entry into the U.S. on a valid B1/B2 visitor visa, which she obtained six months before she married her U.S. citizen spouse. Following the marriage in her home country, she and her elderly parents arrived at an international U.S. airport for a temporary visit. Her American spouse also accompanied them on their first trip to the U.S.

Her plan was to tour the U.S. with her parents and get accustomed to the American lifestyle and culture before she returned to her home country to start the marriage-based immigrant visa process. They had return airline tickets to leave the U.S. within two weeks.

At primary inspection, she and her parents presented the proper travel documents (valid passports) and entry documents (unexpired 10-year, B1/B2 visitor visas) to the CBP officer. While her parents were admitted as visitors, she was pulled into secondary inspection.

During secondary inspection, the CBP officer questioned her about the purpose of her trip. She explained the temporary nature of her visit and, while she was reaching for her return airline ticket, the officer took her personal belongings and searched through them.

Among her personal belongings was a folder containing several documents. In the folder, the CBP officer found two letters from an employer in her home country that were contradictory. The first letter stated she had resigned from her position, indicating she was no longer employed. The second letter stated she was on a leave of absence, implying she still had a job.

She immediately clarified that the second letter contained false information and she had in fact resigned from her job. She described her plans to return to her home country on time and later apply for an immigrant visa, based on her marriage to a U.S. citizen.

Instead of allowing her to withdraw her application for admission due to lack of a proper visa, the CBP detained and interrogated her for at least five hours. She was questioned by two CBP officers until her Sworn Statement was taken about eight hours after she arrived at the airport.

Using a Form I-867A & B, Record of Sworn Statement in Proceedings under Section 235(b)(1) of the Act, the CBP officer documented her testimony in a question and answer format. My client signed the Sworn Statement and initialed each page without fully reading or understanding the contents.

The CBP issued a Form I-860, Notice and Order of Expedited Removal Order, finding her inadmissible, denying her entry, and ordering her expeditiously removed on two counts. The first charge was under INA 212(a)(7)(A)(i)(I), i.e. lack of proper travel documents. The second (and more serious) charge was under INA 212(a)(6)(C)(i), i.e. fraud or willful misrepresentation of material fact to gain admission into the U.S. by presenting a fake letter.

My client was sent back to her country the following day on the next available flight. Her spouse and parents booked airline tickets and returned there as well. A week later, she and her spouse completed a video consultation with me via Skype.

In the consultation, I explained that the expedited removal order, by itself, subjects you to a 5-year bar to reentry. And a charge of fraud/willful misrepresentation under section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) furthers bars you permanently from entering the U.S.

I  described the two main options to immigrate to the U.S. following an expedited removal order with a misrepresentation charge.

Option A is to submit a Motion to Vacate the Expedited Removal Order to the CBP Field Office that issued the order. Because this request is, in essence, a motion to reopen or reconsider to the Service, the CBP must receive it within 30 days of the date of the order.

Option A is available if the applicant has factual grounds and legal claims to challenge the CBP’s determination that she is inadmissible to the U.S. and must be expeditiously removed from the U.S.

Option B is to file an  I-212, application for permission to reapply for admission after removal, to overcome the 5-year bar. Plus file an I-601, application for INA 212(i) waiver of inadmissibility, to be excused from the section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) charge – a permanent bar. Both waivers must be filed in conjunction with the immigrant visa application, and are typically submitted at or after the visa interview.

Option B is available if the applicant meets the eligibility requirements for the I-212 waiver and I-601 waiver. To get the I-212 waiver, the applicant must have favorable factors (e.g. close family ties in the U.S.) that outweigh the unfavorable factors (e.g. bad moral character). To receive the I-601 waiver, the applicant needs a qualifying relative (i.e. U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse or parent) who will suffer extreme hardship if she is not admitted to the U.S.

The foreign national and her American spouse chose Option A as their primary solution, and Option B as their backup plan. Both options require strong documentary evidence, favorable facts, and persuasive legal arguments for an approval to be possible.

During the next three weeks that followed the consultation, I counseled my client and her spouse on the documentary evidence to gather for the request to vacate expedited removal order. The evidence demonstrated the temporary nature of the planned visit, my client’s ongoing ties to her home country, and her and her spouse’s good moral character.

Furthermore, I reviewed the Sworn Statement and Notice and Order of Expedited Removal Order, the agency’s policy manual, and applicable case law to formulate the strongest legal arguments to support the motion.

In the Motion to Expedite Removal Order, I noted that my client had proper travel documents in the form of an unexpired passport and valid visitor visa. I argued she was not inadmissible under INA 212(a)(7)(A)(i)(I) because it was appropriate for her to travel to the U.S. on a valid B1/B2 visa for a temporary visit, even though she was married to a U.S. citizen.

In addition, I explained why the CBP made an error by making a willful misrepresentation charge under INA 212(a)(6)(C)(i). I pointed out that my client did not affirmatively provide the fake leave of absence letter to the CBP officer, who found it during his search of her personal belongings. I added that even if she had misrepresented a material fact, she timely recanted it by admitting the letter contained wrong information and clarifying she was unemployed in her home country.

I pointed out the CBP should have at least given her the opportunity to withdraw her application for admission, rather than issue an expedited removal order that subjected her not only to a 5-year bar, but also to a permanent bar.

The normal processing time for a Motion to Vacate Expedited Removal Order is 6 months. To my pleasant surprise, it took less than 10 days for CBP to review the motion and make a decision in this case.

Four days after the CBP Field Office received the motion, a CBP officer telephoned me to convey they were taking the request into serious consideration.

On November 9th, which was 9 days after receiving the motion, the Watch Commander at the CBP Field Office called to say he would vacate the expedited removal order and treat the case as a withdrawal of application for admission to the U.S. He noted that my client was no longer barred from entering the U.S.

The foreign national no longer has a 5-year bar to reentry due to the removal order or a permanent bar to reentry due to the willful misrepresentation charge. She now readily qualifies for a marriage-based immigrant visa without needing any waivers of inadmissibility.

The rescission of the removal order and dismissal of the section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) charge means my client will not need an I-212 waiver or I-601 waiver to get the immigrant visa. This will make it significantly easier and faster for her to immigrate to the U.S. (because waiver requests often take 6 to 12 months to be adjudicated).

My client, her spouse and I communicated by Skype, telephone and email. They decided to hire me upon completing the initial video consultation, in which I laid out a strategy and action plan to resolve their immigration predicament.

Although we never met in person, we worked together effectively to create a desired and expeditious outcome. I continue to represent them in their I-130 immigrant petition and immigrant visa process.

The speedy approval of the request to vacate expedited removal order and dismissal of the misrepresentation charge is a true success story in 2016 for Dyan Williams Law PLLC.

I enjoy taking on challenging cases in which foreign nationals seek to enter the U.S. lawfully as an immigrant or nonimmigrant, after they have been found inadmissible or issued an expedited removal order. Getting I-212, I-601 and 212(d)(3) waivers are among my top areas of expertise.

Under the new administration – which begins on January 20, 2017,  and is expected to be more hardline on immigration – lawful entries into the U.S. will be more critical than ever.

Cheers,

Dyan Williams

Founder & Principal Attorney
Dyan Williams Law PLLC
(612) 225-9900
dw@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 any individual case or situation. Each legal case is different and case examples do not constitute a prediction or guarantee of success or failure in any other case. The sharing or receipt of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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Photo by: Ian D. Keating

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

iron gateIf you have been removed from the U.S., you are barred from reentering the country for a set number of years or perhaps permanently, depending on why you were removed. Illegal (or attempted illegal) reentries to the U.S., in certain situations, also make you permanently inadmissible.

To be admitted to the U.S. while the bar still applies, you must file for and obtain an I-212 waiver or Consent to Reapply (CTR). Although the two terms are used interchangeably, a CTR request does not always involve the filing on an official Form I-212 and application fee.

When Do I Need an I-212 Waiver or Consent to Reapply?

Sections 212(a)(9)(A)(i) and (ii) of the Immigration and National Act state that foreign nationals who have been ordered removed may not be readmitted to the U.S. until they have stayed abroad for 5, 10 or 20 years. An aggravated felony conviction, however, creates a permanent bar.

Sections 212(a)(9)(C)(i) and (ii) of the Immigration and National Act further state that foreign nationals who illegally enter or attempt to illegally enter the U.S. after certain prior immigration violations are permanently barred.

When you are subject to the 5, 10 or 20 year-bar, you do not need the I-212 waiver if you wait outside the U.S. for the duration of the bar before you seek admission to the U.S. But if you wish to lawfully reenter the U.S. before the time bar expires, you must obtain an I-212 waiver.  And when a permanent bar applies to you, you will forever be required to obtain an I-212 waiver.

An approved Form I-212, Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States After Deportation or Removal, is valid indefinitely, as long as it is not revoked by the agency that issued the approval.

When the I-212 grant provides permanent relief, it may be used for future immigrant or nonimmigrant purposes, as long as you do not incur new inadmissibility under INA section 212(a)(9)(A) or (C).

Returning unlawfully to the U.S. without the Consent to Reapply may lead to serious consequences, including reinstatement of your removal order, prosecution in criminal court, and a permanent bar from admission to the U.S. (that requires you to wait outside the U.S. for 10 years before you may apply for the waiver).

Five-Year Bar

You have a five-year bar on reentry from the date of your removal if:

  • You were removed upon arrival in the U.S., i.e. ordered removed in an expedited removal proceeding by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) at a U.S. port of entry. [INA section 212(a)(9)(A)(i)]
  • You were placed in removal proceedings upon arrival in the U.S. and then ordered removed by an immigration judge as an arriving alien. [INA section 212(a)(9)(A)(i)]

Ten-Year Bar

You have a 10-year bar on reentry from the date of your removal if:

  • You were ordered removed, other than as an arriving alien, including by an immigration judge in removal proceedings. [INA section 212(a)(9)(A)(ii)]
  • You failed to timely depart the U.S. under an order of voluntary departure issued by an immigration judge, causing the voluntary departure to be converted to removal order.  [INA section 212(a)(9)(A)(ii)]
  • You departed the U.S. willingly, but before removal proceedings were concluded.  [INA section 212(a)(9)(A)(ii)]
  • You left the U.S. while a removal order was outstanding.  [INA section 212(a)(9)(A)(ii)]

Twenty-Year Bar

You have a 20-year bar on reentry from the date of your removal if you were ordered removed from the U.S. more than once, whether as an arriving alien or not.  [INA section 212(a)(9)(A)(ii)]

Permanent Bar

You have a permanent bar on reentry from the date of your removal if:

  • You were convicted of an aggravated felony.  [INA section 212(a)(9)(A)(ii)].
  • You reentered or attempted to reenter the U.S. illegally after you accrued more than one year (in the aggregate) of unlawful presence in the U.S. and left. [INA section 212(a)(9)(C)(i)(I).]
  • You reentered or attempted to reenter the U.S. illegally after you were ordered removed from the U.S. [INA section 212(a)(9)(C)(i)(II)].

Key Things to Know About the Permanent Bar

Permanent Bar Under INA section 212(a)(9)(A)(ii)

The permanent bar, due to an aggravated felony conviction, applies even if you were not removed because of this conviction or you were convicted of the aggravated felony after being removed from the U.S.

Permanent Bar Under INA section 212(a)(9)(C)(i)(I) and (II)

The permanent bar, due to illegal entry or attempted illegal entry, applies only if you accrued the (1+ year) unlawful presence or were ordered removed on or after April 1, 1997, or entered or attempt to reenter the U.S. unlawfully on or after April 1, 1997.

The accrual of unlawful presence is cumulative. For example, if you were unlawfully present for 6 months in 3 different periods (i.e. 18 months total), and you then re-enter the U.S. illegally, you face the permanent bar.

Unlike with the 3/10 year unlawful presence bar under INA 212(a)(9)(B), there are no exceptions for minors and asylees when it comes to the permanent bar. So if you were under 18 when your parent took you to the U.S., you accrued unlawful presence of more than 1 year, you left, and then returned to the U.S. without inspection, you face the permanent bar.

NOTE TO IMMIGRANT VISA APPLICANTS: If you are subject to the permanent bar under INA 212(a)(9)(C)(i) and seek an immigrant visa, you must be outside the U.S. and wait ten years abroad before filing  the Form I-212. Based on 2006-2007 Board of Immigration Appeals case law and 2009 USCIS policy, an I-212 application for waiver of this permanent bar cannot be approved unless you are outside the U.S. and at least 10 years have elapsed from your date of departure.

NOTE TO I-360 VAWA SELF-PETITIONERS: If you are a VAWA self-petitioner, you do not have to wait outside the U.S. for 10 years to apply for a separate waiver of the INA 212(a)(9)(C) inadmissibility ground. But you must establish a connection between (i) your battering or subjection to extreme cruelty at the hands of your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse and (ii) your removal, departure from the United States, or illegal re-entry into the U.S.

NOTE TO NONIMMIGRANT VISA APPLICANTS: If you are inadmissible under INA 212(a)(9)(C)(i)(I) [9C1] and seek a nonimmigrant visa, you may request a Consent to Reapply at any time through the U.S Consulate.  If granted, this relief is  temporary and may not be extended to any future visa applications.

If section 212(a)(9)(C)(i)(I) [9C1] is the only inadmissibility ground, and more than ten years have passed since the bar was incurred, you may file the Form I-212 with USCIS (DHS) to obtain permanent relief. If granted,  this allows the issuance of a full validity visa.

A nonimmigrant visa applicant who is barred under INA 212(a)(9)(C)(i)(II) [9C2] must wait 10 years outside the U.S. before he may file a Form I-212 with USCIS (DHS).  If granted, this allows the issuance of a full validity visa.

What are the Limitations of the I-212 Waiver or Consent to Reapply?

The I-212 waiver or Consent to Reapply only gives you permission to apply for admission with an immigrant visa or nonimmigrant visa, through the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), or by adjustment of status (if you are physically present in the U.S.) The waiver alone is not enough to gain lawful admission to the U.S.

If your waiver is granted, your prior visa status is not restored. Instead, you merely have permission to apply for a new visa. For example, if you previously had lawful permanent residence based on marriage to a U.S. citizen, but were removed from the U.S., you must seek a new immigrant visa after the I-212 waiver is granted. If you are now divorced, you will no longer qualify for the immigrant visa based on the same marriage. You may, however, use the I-212 waiver to apply for a visa on another basis.

The I-212 waiver is also not enough if you have other grounds of inadmissibility for which there is no waiver or for which there is a waiver, but you do not qualify.

For instance, fraud or willful misrepresentation of material fact to gain immigration benefits, under INA 212(a)(6)(C)(i), and certain crime-related grounds under INA 212(a)(2) make you permanently inadmissible. An I-601 [INA § 212(i)] waiver is available to overcome the fraud/willful misrepresentation bar when you have a qualifying relative who will suffer extreme hardship if you are not admitted to the U.S. An I-601 [INA § 212(h)] waiver is available to some foreign nationals for some criminal grounds.

Where Do I File My Form I-212 Application or Request for Consent to Reapply?

Whether you are in the U.S. or abroad, the reasons you were deported, the type of visa you intend to use to enter the U.S.,  whether you also need an I-601 waiver, and other factors determine where you file your I-212 application or request for Consent to Reapply.

There are various potential filing locations, including the U.S. Consulate that will issue the visa if the waiver is granted; the  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Field Office having jurisdiction over the place of the original removal proceedings; the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP); and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). The direct filing addresses for the I-212 are currently posted on the USCIS website.

The current application procedures, which are subject to change, include the following: 

Immigrant visa applicants who also need a concurrent Form I-601 waiver: file Forms I-212 and I-601 concurrently with the USCIS Phoenix Lockbox, which will forward your applications to the Nebraska Service Center.

Immigrant visa applicants who do not require a Form I-601 waiver: file Form I-212 with the USCIS field office having jurisdiction over the place where your removal proceedings were held. The same field office retains jurisdiction to adjudicate the Form I-212 waiver application.

Nonimmigrant visa applicants (other than K, T, U, or V visa applicants): request a Consent to Reapply at the U.S Consulate with jurisdiction over your nonimmigrant visa application.  The consular officer must then forward a recommendation for consent to reapply for admission and visa issuance to the CBP/Admissibility Review Office (ARO) for a decision.

Nonimmigrant visa applicants with INA 212(a)(9)(C)(i) bar. If section 212(a)(9)(C)(i)(I) [9C1] is the only inadmissibility ground, and more than 10 years have passed, the Form I-212 is filed with USCIS (DHS). If section 212(a)(9)(C)(i)(II) [9C2] applies, you must wait 10 years before you may file the Form I-212 with USCIS [DHS].  Nonimmigrant visa applicants with the 212(a)(9)(C)(i)(I) [9C1] bar – but not the 9C2 bar – may seek relief through the U.S. Consulate at any time.

Nonimmigrants at a U.S. port of entry who are not required to obtain nonimmigrant visas: file Form I-212 in person at a CBP-designated port of entry or a CBP-designated preclearance office, which will then forward it to the CBP/ARO for adjudication.

Adjustment of status applicants who are physically present in the U.S. and are inadmissible only under INA section 212(a)(9)(A): file Form I-212 with the USCIS office having jurisdiction over the Form I-485 adjustment of status application, which will adjudicate both applications.

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Applying for an I-212 waiver or Consent to Reapply involves more than just submitting the form and/or documents listed in the instructions. True success in obtaining an I-212 waiver is more likely when you have experienced counsel.

When you need the I-212 waiver or Consent to Reapply to reenter the U.S., consult an immigration attorney at least once and, preferably, hire a reputable one to guide you through the process from start to finish.

For more information on what to submit with your application and why seeking counsel helps, read our related article, What should you to get your I-212 Waiver? 

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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 any individual case or situation. Each legal case is different and case examples do not constitute a prediction or guarantee of success or failure in any other case. The sharing or receipt of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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Photo by: Linda Paul