Green Card for Spouse Who Entered Illegally
Problems: Roberto entered the U.S. illegally. His father had filed for him when he was 22, over 10 years ago. Because he was from Mexico, his visa number would not be current for many years and he would not be eligible to apply for a green card until then so his wife, Lisa, a U.S. citizen decided to sponsor him. Because of his illegal entry, they feared that he would have to go to the consulate in Ciudad Juarez to process his green card, which would result in a 10 year bar which they would have to file a waiver for that posed a significant risk that they could be separated for years.
Our Solution & Challenges we faced: Heather argued that he could apply for his lawful permanent residency in the U.S. despite his illegal entry because he “grandfathered” under 245(i). In order to qualify for 245(i) a person must have had a labor certification or a visa petition filed on their behalf on or before April 30, 2001 but also had to prove that they were physically present in the U.S. on the date of the law’s enactment (December 21, 2000).
Roberto had the filing cut-off date but he lacked traditional documentation proving he was in the U.S. on December 21, 2000. It was difficult to locate employment documents because his employer from 10 years ago had gone out of business. He did not file taxes because he did not have a social security number and did not know about the ITIN possibility ten years ago. He wasn’t in school so couldn’t provide transcripts and because he had no papers, he did not have a lease, driver’s license, or utility statements typically accepted by CIS to prove physical presence. Heather advised Roberto and Lisa on nontraditional forms of evidence to prove Roberto’s physical presence, knowing that if it didn’t work, he would face the 10 year bar and have to consular process. This made the case longer to process since it took more time and investigative work for Roberto to track down as much evidence as he could.
Roberto’s green card case was approved with the documentation Heather suggested.
Timing: 1 year
Roberto and Lisa write of Heather’s representation
“I chose you to represent us because you were highly recommended by family who you have helped before with great results. We were so thrilled to have Heather’s experience on our side, during a very important process in our lives. It feels a bit overwhelming and uneasy-but having been represented by Heather that all changed, knowing she was with us during every step of the way.
We are extremely happy with the helpful, friendly, professional service that was provided to us. Text message for email was extremely helpful . . .We would just like to thank you once again.”
Roberto and Lisa, Bell, CA
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Green Card for Spouse with Narcotics Conviction
Problems: Anna, a U.S. citizen, had sponsored her husband,Michael, for permanent residency. Michael had a criminal record, arguably the worst kind in immigration law – a possession of a controlled substance violation.
Solutions & Challenges We Faced:
He was being charged with inadmissibility (potentially losing his green card case and being removed) due to the drug charge. Heather successfully argued that Michael was admissible despite his drug possession conviction, arguing it was no longer a “conviction” for immigration purposes because the state where he was convicted granted a rehabilitative remedy that was similar to expungement under the Federal First Offender Act (FFOA). Usually, a state expungment has no effect on whether a conviction stands for immigration law purposes (i.e., the conviction is still a conviction). However, the 9th Circuit held in the Lujan -Armendariz case that a conviction for first-time simple possession of a controlled substance that is prosecuted and eventually vacated and/or expunged under a state rehabilitation provision will not be considered a “conviction” for immigration purposes. Thus, CIS couldn’t use his conviction to deny him his green card because he and Anna lived within the 9th Circuit’s jurisdiction.
Michael’s case was approved and he was granted conditional permanent resident status.
Timing: 1 month
Anna and Michael write of Heather’s representation
“The case’s outcome is what we had hoped for. We were regularly informed about the progress of our case and the overall quality of the serves was excellent. We appreciated the honest, active listening and advice. The interview prep session was very helpful and we liked that consultations were able to take place via telephone. Thank you!”
MK, Phoenix, AZ
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Green Card for Spouse who Faced Visa Fraud Issues
Problems: John came to the U.S. on a temporary work visa. After he arrived in the U.S., his job offer fell through within a few weeks and he did not return back to his country. If he had left the U.S., he would have triggered the 10 year bar of re-entry because he ended up staying over a year looking for another job. During that year of time, he fell in love with his former employer and they soon married. Although she was a U.S. citizen and could sponsor him as his wife, this instantly brought up questions of visa fraud, bona fide marriage, and misrepresentation – a potential lifetime bar for John.
Our Solution & Challenges we faced: Heather had toprove that the job John entered the U.S. to fill which soon fell through was a “real” job opportunity, not just a way for him to enter the U.S. and marry his wife. The couple faced problems showing it was a real marriage given the timing and the appearance of guilt by the employer wanting to help out someone who was only briefly hired. Heather’s solution was to document every aspect of the story including advising the employer (the wife) on what documentation could help explain why the job fell through and why the employer lost funding. Heather also advised on documenting John’s work experience to show that he was qualified for the job offer. Heather flew across the U.S. to their adjustment interview on the East Coast to be with each of them as they were separated and interviewed separately by CIS. The case was approved and John became a conditional resident.
Timing: 7 months from filing.
John and Nicole write of Heather’s representation
“I choose you to represent us because we were referred on an immigration website and were impressed by your testimonials and successful track record. You billed according to the engagement agreement on a flat fee, which we preferred. The quality of the services was excellent. Heather answered all questions promptly, prepared us very well for our interview, and was professional in every aspect.”
JA, Indianapolis, IN
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* Photos do not reflect actual clients to preserve confidentiality and privacy.
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