Two years ago the SRW Border Team was approached by a Canadian citizen to assist him in clearing up his inadmissibility issue. After a thorough investigation of his case, we determined that although he had posted a bond and never returned to the court, the court closed his case. In addition, his bond posting and failure to return to court did not result in a conviction or a plea of guilty that would render him inadmissible. Under immigration law, to be found inadmissible to the United States (and subsequently barred from entering) a foreign national must be convicted of, admit to having committed, or admit committing acts which constitute the essential elements of an offense.
Our plan to clear the client’s record took several steps. First, we requested court records to substantiate that no plea was entered, and that he only paid a fine and the matter was closed. Second, after collecting all the necessary information, the SRW Border Team prepared a detailed legal brief explaining why the individual was not inadmissible and submitted it to Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) for their review. After reviewing our submission, CBP agreed that the client was not inadmissible. Finally, we contacted the client to inform him of the decision and then scheduled a controlled admission to accompany the client to the port of entry to correct his record to reflect he was no longer inadmissible.
Several years later, the client entered the United States at another port of entry. While being inspected by a CBP officer, the officer question client about his previous immigration history. Unconvinced that our client was admissible, the CBP officer took it upon himself to call the court clerk of the court that handled the client’s criminal matter to determine if the client was, in fact, admissible. Unfortunately, the court clerk erroneously informed the CBP officer that the posting of the bond is the equivalent of an entry of a plea of guilty. This was obviously wrong, but the client was nonetheless refused admission.
Following his denial, the client turned to us again and immediately contacted the court to correct the misinformation. Finally, after several attempts to communicate with the presiding judge, we were issued a strong and clear letter from the judge confirming: (1) that no plea had been entered, (2) there was no conviction, and (3) that the court clerk provided inaccurate information.
This case is a good example of where mistakes are frequently made. When officers rely on misinformation rather than on official documentation there can be very serious consequences to an applicant. If you are faced with a similar situation, and would like to review your with us, please feel free to call us for a consultation.