While attempting to enter U.S., Canadian Citizen (and former LPR) discovers she was removed (and is now inadmissible) for failing to file I-751

Question: I am a Canadian Citizen and a former green card holder of the United States.  After I got my green card based on our marriage, my husband and I had planned to stay in the United States, but after we both lost our jobs, we decided to relocate to Canada in May 2009 (this was about a year after I got my green card).  Last month, I had submitted my Form I-407, Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Residence with the U.S. Consulate in Toronto and had sent them my green card also (even though it was expired from 2010). 

Last week, I attempted to cross a local border crossing to meet some family members for dinner (I had not crossed over in several years now) and was advised that the I-407 I had filed wasn't viable because I had actually been issued a deportation order in 2010, which I didn't receive because I forgot to change my address with USCIS.

I am now facing a major issue. Next month, my stepdaughter is graduating from high school in Orlando, Florida and I have a trip booked to go and attend, with my husband and 5-year old daughter. Any help you can offer would be wonderful.

Answer: Thank you for your email and inquiry. While we cannot thoroughly analyze your case and give you specific advice without learning more about your case, we can provide you with some brief advice to address your concerns.

From what you have briefly stated, it seems that you are currently inadmissible to the United States for the foreseeable future as a result of being ordered removed in 2010.  I can surmise that since you obtained your green card through marriage and your green card was only valid for two years, that you were a conditional permanent resident of the United States (i.e. you were given a 2 yr green card since your marriage was less than 2 yrs old at the time you obtained your green card).  Since you left the U.S. in 2009, prior to the expiration of your green card, and did not file a change of address with USCIS, I would presume that your removal order is likely based on your failure to file a Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence, within the ninety (90) period prior to the expiration date listed on the conditional permanent resident card.   When you failed to file the petition, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration likely terminated your status as a conditional permanent resident and subsequently placed you in removal proceedings.  You were probably eventually order removed in absentia by an Immigration Judge.  Again, this is what we can deduct from what you have stated.  We would need to speak with you in detail and review additional paperwork to ensure this is truly what happened and led to your removal order.   

Having said the above, there may be a few options to address this previous removal order – whether it be attacking the order itself or applying for a waiver to allow you to reapply to enter the U.S. as a visitor (I-212 Waiver).  We’ve had experience with both and could determine the best course of action in your case after speaking with you and learning of your short-term and long-term goals, and going over the pros and cons of each option.  We would also need to determine whether you were subject to any other grounds of inadmissibility under U.S. immigration law.

In the interim, given that your proposed travel for your step-daughter’s graduation is in a few weeks, we would also be happy to discuss the possibility of being paroled into the U.S. for the visit with you.  (Any options regarding your removal order would require more than the few weeks until your step-daughter's graduation to address.)  Just last month, a client of ours was successfully paroled into the U.S. to attend her son’s high school graduation, a few months after being ordered removed.  Click here for more information.

At this time, we invite you to schedule a consultation with our office so we can learn more about your U.S. immigration history, explain the options that may be available to you, as well as expand on the services we may be able to provide you with.  We would also be able to answer any questions or concerns you may have about any of the application processes. 

SRW Border Lawyers Update : After successfully obtaining parole on behalf of this Client through U.S. Customs & Border Protection, our firm was retained to address the previous removal order.  We successfully advocated with ICE Chief Counsel in Nevada and filed a Motion to Reopen & Terminate, explaining the circumstances behind our Client's removal order.  The Dept. of Homeland Security was unopposed and the Immigration Judge signed the order in a matter of weeks.  Our Client will now not require a I-212 waiver to overcome her previous removal order since her removal order has been vacated and her removal proceedings have been terminated.