Thursday, December 18, 2008

I-601 Victory at AAO

"The adverse factors in the present case are the convictions for which the applicant seeks a waiver. The favorable and mitigating factors in the present case are the extreme hardship to the applicant's spouse and children if the applicant were refused admission, her otherwise clean background, and the applicant's spouse's and children's significant ties to the United States. The AAO finds that, although the criminal convictions of the applicant are serious and cannot be condoned, when taken together, the favorable factors in the present case outweigh the adverse factors, such that a favorable exercise of discretion is warranted. Accordingly, the appeal will be sustained." Matter of X-, Apr. 25, 2008.

http://www.uscis.gov/err/H2%20-%20Waiver%20for%20Excludability/Decisions_Issued_in_2008/Apr252008_01H2212.pdf

Friday, July 18, 2008

Nightmare Experience at Airport for Fiance of U.S. Citizen! Waiver Required

Warning: Always talk to an immigration attorney experienced in fiance(e) visas and marriage to U.S. Citizen immigration cases before traveling to or outside the U.S. or getting married! (Randall Caudle gives free phone consultations on these issues)


Stopped at U.S. Border and Banished for Betrothal: Ann Woolner

Commentary by Ann Woolner

July 18 (Bloomberg) -- Naomi Malca Walls doesn't fit the profile of someone U.S. agents would stop at the border, interrogate for hours, deport and forbid to ever set foot on U.S. soil again.

No hint of terrorist ties lurks in her background, not even a traffic ticket. A 32-year-old photographer and Israeli citizen, she carries no plague.

She expected no complications at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport in March, when she arrived with her soon-to-be-husband, an American, who had proposed marriage three days earlier while visiting her in Tokyo.

Instead, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents detained her for 30 hours, questioned her, screamed at her, laughed at her, accused her of lying, ignored her questions and her pleas, photographed her, fingerprinted her, searched her and put her in a cold holding cell where she spent seven hours shivering and weeping and wondering what was happening, she recounted four months later.

``They made me feel like I did a crime,'' she says. ``I don't even know what the crime is.''

Then the agents escorted her to a plane bound for Tel Aviv.

``I still don't know what's the reason,'' she said in an international phone call this week.

What happened to her is called expedited removal, by which tens of thousands of foreign nationals attempting to enter the U.S. are sent back to their homelands each year.

Finding WMD

``Expedited removal is the WMD of immigration law,'' says Kathleen Campbell Walker, immediate past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She practices immigration law in El Paso, Texas.

Under a 1996 law, you can be expeditiously removed if a border officer decides either that you lack proper papers or that you are lying about something that matters.

If you know to ask, a supervisor can review the decision. And if you fear persecution at home, you can get a hearing on that.

But in all other cases, there is no appeal, no judge, no lawyer. And sometimes there is no explanation.

Almost 40,000 foreign travelers were speedily booted out from U.S. air, sea and land ports of entry during the last fiscal year, according to the Customs and Border Protection bureau. The number doesn't include others intercepted elsewhere.

Five to Life

Expedited removal brings an automatic five-year ban on returning to the U.S. If agents think the traveler was attempting fraud, the ban lasts forever.

So it was for Naomi, who insists she told the truth and was willing to prove it, to no avail.

Extreme treatment based solely on the discretion of one or two border officials is legal for foreign nationals not yet admitted into the U.S. They have no constitutional right to a fair hearing, according to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Just because they can be treated shabbily doesn't mean they should be. Often, the travelers' only crime is that they don't know the arcana of U.S. immigration law.

``People just kind of stumble into these terrible situations,'' says Walker, who has no connection to Naomi's case but quickly surmised the problem when told what occurred. Naomi's mistake was in not knowing that you can't use a tourist visa to gain entry to the U.S. when betrothed to an American.

No Congratulations?

``I just got engaged,'' Naomi says she told the first agent she saw. ``This is my fiancé.''

``Soon as I said that,'' she recalls, ``someone took me to the room'' where her ordeal began.

Agents assume if you are about to marry a U.S. citizen, you plan to live in the U.S., not merely tour it. You need a fiancé visa, which puts you in the intended immigrant category.

Foreign nationals often assume entry will be easier, not harder, when betrothed to an American. Walker remembers a Mexican who cheerfully drove to the U.S. border in her wedding dress. Big mistake.

If the agent thinks it an innocent error, the traveler can withdraw the entry application, go back home and apply for the proper visa, as many do.

But if the agent thinks the traveler is committing fraud, that's another matter.

``They told me I'd been lying to them,'' Naomi said. About what, they wouldn't say.

But she acknowledges her tourist visa had the wrong date for her divorce, an honest mistake.

And her previous travels to the U.S. may have worked against her, leading the officers to wonder whether she was actually living in the U.S.

Life, not Five

No one told her during those 30 hours that she would be banished for life. To date, the only document they gave her says it's a five-year ban.

Not being schooled in immigration law, she didn't know that the ``6C1'' an officer wrote on her visa means fraud.

As for the other side of the story, a Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman says privacy concerns prevent the agency from discussing individual cases.

Yes, the U.S. must protect its borders, which are so porous that more than 12 million illegal aliens now live in this country. And no, Naomi's experience isn't the most horrific immigration story around.

But it is plenty bad for her and her now-husband, Scott Walls, a business consultant in Tampa, Florida.

Across the Border

Yesterday, the couple met up in Toronto. What comes next, they don't know. She may apply for a waiver, but those are hard to come by and expensive to get, given legal fees.

Walls, 40, says he has always defended the extra security measures imposed after the Sept. 11 attacks.

But these days, he says he is disappointed in what the country has become.

``They take very sound, appealing arguments to the American people,'' such as the need to keep out illegal aliens, he says. ``Then they use that to do whatever they want to.''

Walls says he isn't so sure he wants to live in a country that treats an innocent woman, his wife, the way his did.

That's what happens when power goes unchecked.

(Ann Woolner is a Bloomberg news columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.)

-Editors: James Greiff, Jim Rubin.

To contact the writer of this column: Ann Woolner in Atlanta at awoolner@bloomberg.net.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"Finality" of Removal Orders for Judicial Review Purposes

Excellent 9-page paper by Trina Realmuto, an attorney at the American Immigration Law Foundation's Legal Action Center, on the "Finality" of Removal Orders for Judicial Review Purposes.

See http://www.ailf.org/lac/pa/lac_pa_finrem.pdf

This paper is of interest to anyone that has already been ordered deported, removed or granted voluntary departure.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

AAO I-212 Appeal Successful - Denial from Athens, Greece (Lebanon)

AAO: relocating to Lebanon would be extreme hardship

"In light of the applicant's son's medical history during his past visits to Lebanon, the AAO finds that applicant's spouse's concerns regarding his medical problems would result in extreme emotional hardship for her should she relocate to Lebanon. Moreover, it finds the security situation in Lebanon, as set forth in the record, and the recent Department of State traveling warning, to establish an additional basis for a finding of extreme hardship in the event that the applicant's spouse joined him in Lebanon." Matter of X-, Jan. 9, 2008.

See www.bibdaily.com for link to PDF of AAO decision.

Yet Another AAO I-212 Appeal Successful

AAO waiver victory

"The favorable factors in this matter are the applicant's family ties to a lawful permanent resident and United States citizens, her husband and children, general hardship they may experience, letters of reference, payment of taxes, no criminal record, and her numerous attempts over the years to legitimize her status through TPS, asylum, and NACARA. While the applicant has been unable to adjust her status to a lawful permanent resident, her various legitimately filed applications have afforded her a status which allowed her to live and work in the United States. The AAO notes that the applicant's marriage to her husband occurred after her order of deportation and is an after-acquired equity. As an after- acquired equity this factor will be given less weight. The AAO finds that the unfavorable factors in this case include the applicant's initial entry without inspection and her failure to abide by an order of removal. While the applicant's actions cannot be condoned, the AAO finds that given all the circumstances of the present case, the applicant has established that the favorable factors outweigh the unfavorable factors, and that a favorable exercise of the Secretary's discretion is warranted." Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States after Deportation or Removal under Section 212(a)(9)(A)(iii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(9) (A)(iii); Matter of X-, Feb. 5, 2008.

See www.bibdaily.com for link to 5 page PDF of AAO decision.

Another AAO I-212 Appeal Successful

AAO I-212 victory: San Antonio

The favorable factors in this matter are the applicant's U.S. citizen son, the absence of any criminal record, letters of recommendation and her approved immigrant visa petition. The AAO notes that the approval of the applicant's immigrant visa petition occurred after the applicant was ordered removed, and is an "after acquired equity." Any favorable weight derived from it must, therefore, be accorded diminished weight. The AAO finds that the unfavorable factors in this case include the applicant's failure to comply with an order of voluntary departure; her failure to comply with an order of removal; and her illegal entry into the United States after having been removed. While the applicant has multiple immigration violations that cannot be condoned, the AAO finds that, given all of the circumstances, the applicant has established that the favorable factors in the present case outweigh the negative and that a favorable exercise of the Secretary's discretion is warranted. Accordingly, the appeal is sustained." Matter of X-, Jan. 2, 2008.

See www.bibdaily.com for link to PDF of AAO decision.

AAO I-212 Waiver Appeal Successful

AAO I-212 victory

"Although the AAO notes the multiple unfavorable factors identified by the director in his decision, it finds there is only one unfavorable factor in this case, the applicant's failure to depart the United States immediately after the BIA issued its April 23, 2004 decision. In a separate proceeding, the AAO has found that the applicant did not accrue sufficient unlawful presence in the United States to render him inadmissible under section 212(9)(B) of the Act. In this same proceeding, it also determined that the applicant had not overstayed his B-2 nonimmigrant visa and had not worked in the United States without authorization. While the applicant's failure to depart the United States immediately following the BIA's decision cannot be condoned, the AAO finds that, given all the circumstances of the present case, this failure is outweighed by the favorable factors previously noted and that a favorable exercise of the Secretary's discretion is warranted. Accordingly, the appeal will be sustained and the application will be approved." Matter of X-, Feb. 12, 2008.

See www.bibdaily.com for link to PDF of 5 page opinion by AAO.

Monday, February 18, 2008

U.S. Immigration Law Separates Husband & Wife for 10 years!

See http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0217illegalbride0217.html

U.S. immigration law drives husband, wife apart
"It was the Christmas holidays. Brown was visiting his wife, Virginia Carrillo, and son, Bryan. Their separation began in September the day the family applied for legal status for Carrillo, Brown's illegal-immigrant wife. They hoped Carrillo would qualify for a green card based on her marriage and child to Brown. Instead, Carrillo was barred from returning to the U.S. for 10 years. Now, the family is forced to live separately on opposite sides of the U.S.-Mexican border." Arizona Republic, Feb. 17, 2008.

Friday, January 18, 2008

I-601 Waiver Power Point - 82 Slides

See http://www.aila.org/content/default.aspx?docid=22550 for an 82 slide power point presentation (in PDF format) on I-601 waivers from an AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) Annual Conference.

Randall Caudle was the discussion leader on the panel presenting to other immigration attorneys on I-601 waivers.

In addition to the other 2 panelists listed, Laurel Scott, an exceptional immigration attorney in Houston, Texas was on the panel as well.

I-601 Pilot Project for Fast I-601 Waiver Decisions in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

See http://www.bibdaily.com/pdfs/pilot%20601%204-3-07.pdf & http://www.bibdaily.com/pdfs/pilot%20601.pdf for the USCIS official press release and memo on the pilot I-601 waiver adjudication process. The USCIS office by the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico instituted a pilot project in April 2007 to approve many I-601 waivers within a few weeks, instead of the 1 year plus it was previously taking. Kudos to the USCIS Ciudad Juarez office!

New I-601 Waiver Appointment Scheduling Call System

See http://www.bibdaily.com/pdfs/CDJ%20601.pdf (BIB Daily) for info on the new scheduling process for I-601 waivers in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. There is now a phone number to call to schedule appointments instead of the online InfoPass system that used to exist.

AAO Appeal of Waiver Denial in Ciudad Juarez Successful

See http://www.bibdaily.com/pdfs/AAO%2010-31-07%20I-601%20Wittevrongel.pdf (BIB Daily) for another wonderful decision by the AAO (Administrative Appeals Office). The AAO overturned an immigration waiver denial and stated that there was extreme hardship to the U.S. Citizen wife and that the favorable factors outweigh the unfavorable factors.

This decision overturns an immigration waiver denial out of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

AAO Appeal Decision Overturns Waiver Application Denial & Finds Extreme Hardship

See http://www.bibdaily.com/pdfs/AAO%20Kain%201-9-08%20212i.pdf (BIB Daily) for a wonderful decision by the AAO (Administrative Appeals Office) of the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services overturning an immigration waiver denial.

The AAO found extreme hardship to the U.S. Citizen wife and child and that the positive equities in the case outweighed the adverse factors.

This case is out of Athens, Greece for a Lebanese national and citizen.

Legal Fees for Immigration Waivers

The Law Office of Randall Caudle / Caudle Immigration currently charges the following fees for immigration waiver representation.

$6000 for I-601 waivers through Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

$7500 for I-601 waivers through other countries.

$7500 for I-601 waivers filed with local USCIS offices in the U.S.

$7500 for I-601 waiver appeals.

$1500 for U.S. Legal Permanent Resident (green card) or Fiance or Fiancee visa applications filed along with the I-601 waiver application.

$2800 for U.S. Legal Permanent Resident (green card) applications for spouses of U.S. Citizens when an I-601 waiver is not required.

$2800 for K-1 Fiance or Fiancee Visa Petitions and the subsequent U.S. Legal Permanent Resident (green card) applications for spouses of U.S. Citizens when an I-601 waiver is not required.

$0 No additional fee if the I-601 waiver individual also requires an I-212 waiver application (more forms, but only need to show exceptional hardship once).

$7500 for all other immigration waiver applications.


Payment plans available and all credit cards accepted.

Free initial phone consultations.

Legal Fees do not include any U.S. government fees, medical or pysch exams, photos, or costs to access records (birth certificates, divorce judgments, criminal records, etc).

Immigration Waivers Legal Representation

The Law Office of Randall Caudle / Caudle Immigration represents individuals and families in obtaining immigration waivers for unlawful presence, immigration fraud, document fraud, criminal activity, and health-related grounds of inadmissibility.

Randall Caudle speaks at immigration lawyer conferences on I-601 waivers for spouses, children and fiance(e)s of U.S. Citizens.

This blog will be an informational source on the various immigration waivers available and the questions and issues that people have concerning immigration waivers.