Family-Based Immigration

I-751 Waiver Approved Despite Short-Term Marriage and Sworn Affidavits of U.S. Spouse Alleging Fraud

This was an interesting case handled by our office. The client, Bill, was a very talented artist. The first time he came to the U.S., he saw many opportunities for him to advance his career and to engage in sculptural art and film production. As an artist of extraordinary skills, he was eligible for O-1 visa and eventually the green card. After talking to an attorney, an O-1 petition was filed on behalf of the Client. During its pendency, the Client visited his relatives in Los Angeles where he met his future wife, Elizabeth. They quickly fell in love. Elizabeth’s parents welcomed the new family addition and allowed the newly wedded couple to live in their home.

Elizabeth and Bill decided to withdraw pending O-1 case and to file for Bill’s green card based on their marriage. All was good until Bill realized that his wife was not the person he fell in love with. Soon after their marriage, Elizabeth started acting strange, having no regard for the family’s financial situation, wasting money on unnecessary luxury expenditures, playing video games all day and chatting with friends while refusing to work herself to contribute to the household’s expenses.

It was when Bill found out that his father was terminally ill with cancer. Bill immediately flew to visit his family and to console his father. Elizabeth refused to go and stayed behind in the U.S. While Bill was away, his marital problems have aggravated. Bill started receiving extorting demands from Elizabeth. She requested Bill to sell his family’s house, give all the money to her or otherwise she threatened to file for divorce. At first, Bill tried to reconcile with his wife. However, over time he received thousands of such threats through emails and messages. Elizabeth made demands for $250,000. She said that if Bill did not come up with the money, she would tell the Immigration that their marriage was a fraud, that he would lose the green card and would be deported if he came back. Bill ignored the extortion attempts of his wife. He later found out that Elizabeth and her parents did in fact maliciously make false claims that their marriage was fraudulent in sworn statements sent to USCIS.

Bill did not do anything about it and continued on with his life. Although he was not looking to remarry, he eventually met Andrea and found happiness in a new marriage. It was at that time when Bill filed an application for I-751 waiver to remove the conditions on his permanent residence. He received a Notice of Intent to Deny his case from USCIS based on the statements of fraud made by his ex-wife Elizabeth and her parents.

This is when Bill came to our office to see his options. On first glance, the case seemed to be too difficult to handle considering the short-term of the marriage and the sworn statements made by the U.S. spouse and her parents. However, upon careful examination, it became clear that Bill became a victim of a family that valued money more than courtship and the attorney handling the case found creative ways of proving that Bill’s intentions in his marriage were not related to getting a green card.

The response relied heavily on the following to prove that the marriage of Elizabeth and Bill was in fact bona fide:

  • A detailed declaration of Bill providing an account of his marital life with Elizabeth
  • Affidavits of other relatives and friends who knew of Bill’ and Elizabeth’s marriage
  • Correspondence between the couple during the marriage and after divorce
  • Elizabeth’s petition for dissolution of marriage that cited irreconcilable differences as the grounds for divorce
  • Affidavit of Support documents showing that Elizabeth’s parents swore under the penalty of perjury to support Bill before he becomes a U.S. citizen
  • Phone call log and income and expense declaration produced by Elizabeth in the divorce case
  • Photographs of the couple during their marriage
  • Evidence of Elizabeth’s threats and harassment
  • Polygraph (Lie Detector) test performed on Bill
  • Psychological Evaluation of Bill, and
  • Evidence of Bill’s extraordinary abilities and proof of his filed O-1 petition to show that he had other ways to immigrate to the U.S.

Bill’s I-751 waiver was successfully approved by USCIS.

If USCIS is falsely accusing you in entering into a marriage solely for the immigration benefit, it is too early to lose hope. While it is difficult to prove the bona fides of one’s marriage when it is of short duration and there are not that many documents that can support the bona fides, it is still possible to find creative solutions to the problem. The case of Bill and Elizabeth is one such example.

I-212 and I-601 Waiver Success story - Family Reunited after 10 years of separation

The client came to us with a particular sad story and a difficult case, which, upon analysis, required filing of both I-212 permission to reapply for admission application and the I-601 waiver.

The client (Enrique) was a citizen of Mexico who had a U.S. citizen wife and two U.S. citizen children. The family was forced to be separated for 10 years before Enrique was finally eligible to submit the waiver.

Back in the days, Enrique came to the U.S. without inspection to enroll in English classes where he met his would be wife Samantha. The couple started dating. In a year, Enrique had to leave the U.S. to go to Mexico to visit his family. When he tried to come back to the U.S. using a false border crossing card, he was ordered removed from the U.S. Enrique was given a 5-year bar from entry into the U.S.

However, at that time Enrique did not know that by presenting the false border crossing card, he also became subject to a misrepresentation bar (INA 212(a)(6)(C)(i)), which is waiverable only if Enrique could prove extreme hardship to his U.S. citizen spouse.

In addition, Enrique was in the U.S. illegally for over a year before he left to Mexico and then tried to reenter the U.S., which made him subject to another permanent bar (INA 212(a)(9)(C)), which is waiverable only after a passage of 10 years after removal from the U.S. This second bar is the scariest in the immigration law as the foreign national has to be outside of the U.S. for 10 years before being able to seek admission to the U.S. again. This bar applies even though the foreign national is married to a U.S. citizen and has U.S. citizen children or other relatives.

At the time of Enrique’s removal at the border, the couple did not know all that. They thought that after 5 years Enrique would be able to come back to the U.S. again and join Samantha. They got married and thought that they would be able to manage their relationship living in different countries for the next 5 years.

At first, Samantha tried moving to Mexico to be with Enrique but she was unable to find employment there. The couple’s house was robbed and they were under severe financial hardship. 5 years have passed and the couple sought the advice of an immigration lawyer who told them that Enrique in fact cannot come back to the U.S. at the time as he has to be outside of the U.S. for 10 years before he can try and apply for admission.

Samantha decided to find a job in the U.S. but commute to Mexico on a regular basis. She moved to the border city San Diego, CA and Enrique moved to Tijuana, Mexico to be closer to each other. The couple decided to start a family and their son was born. Samantha’s teaching job required her to work long hours and be at work by 7 am in the morning. Constant border crossings started wearing Samantha down, allowing her only 4 hours of sleep each day. Samantha struggled to keep up with her job, her parent responsibilities and being with Enrique but she soon developed a serious medical condition that required her attention and in addition their son was diagnosed with autism, which required treatment in the U.S.

After some time, Samantha lost her job teaching and took a part-time position in the school office, a position that was less demanding but less paying. After the couple had their second child, an unplanned pregnancy, the life has gotten even harder. Unable to cope with the life conditions anymore, Samantha moved to Midwest to get some help from her parents. It was a hard decision for Samantha to move away from Enrique. The children were not able to see their father anymore.

This is when Samantha reached out to our office. We determined that Enrique now qualified to apply for I-212 permission to reapply for admission together with I-601 waiver for misrepresentation.

We prepared an extensive case showing extreme hardship Samantha would experience if Enrique was not allowed to return to the U.S. With the case, we provided documentation to show that relocating to Mexico is not an option for Samantha due to her chronic illness that gets aggravated while she is there, due to unavailability of special autism treatment in Mexico for the couple’s son, due to Samantha’s inability to continue her career as an elementary school teacher, strong family and community ties in the U.S. and other important factors. We also explained the hardships Samantha would suffer if she continued living by herself in the U.S. raising both children including special care for the son with autism, trying to keep up with her job and managing the financials.

Enrique appeared for a waiver interview at the U.S. Embassy in Ciudad Juarez in the summer of 2011 and submitted both of his waivers. Within a month, I-601 misrepresentation waiver was approved. However, we have not heard anything about I-212 for several months. Despite numerous attempts to follow up, USCIS kept delaying the case.

Meanwhile, the hardships experienced by the family have gotten even worse. Samantha’s parents were no longer able to help her with the children, Samantha could not take a job to support herself and her children and she thought of applying for governmental financial help.

Only after the interference of a Congressman, USCIS finally sped up the process and I-212 wavier was adjudicated within 30 days.

Enrique is now back with his family. No words can describe how happy we are to see that our client was finally able to immigrate to the U.S. after so many years of desperation and struggles and that another family is finally reunited.

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