CBP Can Place Foreign Nationals in Removal Proceedings for Failing to Obtain Non-Immigrant Waivers Prior to Applying for Admission at POE

Our firm often encounters individual in a similar predicament - They have recently been placed into removal proceedings in Immigration Court because they continuously appeared at a Port of Entry (POE) seeking admission into the U.S., despite the fact that they were previously advised by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) that they were inadmissible to the U.S. under INA § 212, whether it be for previous immigration violations, previous criminal convictions, or some other ground of inadmissibility.

This situation also has one other common denominator: these individuals tend to be Canadian citizens, given that Canadian citizens are visa exempt.

So why are these individuals in removal proceedings? In fact, they usually don’t even live in the U.S., but are simply trying to enter for a temporary visit. Well, what happens is that when CBP encounters these individuals at the POE, who after being repeatedly advised that they need a nonimmigrant waiver (Form I-192) to enter the U.S. continue to attempt to enter the U.S. without acquiring the waiver, CBP choses to exercise its authority and places them in removal proceedings in front of an Immigration Judge. CBP will issue a Notice to Appear (NTA), which is the charging document for immigration matters. The individual is then either provided with a date/time to appear in front of the Immigration Judge or receives a notice in the mail at a future date. For those individuals that end up in removal proceedings after appearing at a POE near Buffalo, New York, they end up in removal proceedings in front of the Immigration Judge in Buffalo, New York, who has a backlogged docket of over a year.

Now, this is the situation these individuals have placed them in – they were already inadmissible to the U.S. under INA § 212 (whether it was for previous immigration violations, criminal convictions, etc.), and now they may become subject to yet another ground of inadmissibility if they are ordered removed from the United States (which they may be if they are unable to overcome the charge of inadmissibility being lodged against them). If the individual is ordered removed from the U.S., they are going to be barred from re-entering the U.S. for a period of ten (10) years. If they want to enter the U.S. prior to the expiration of their ten-year bar, they need to apply for yet another waiver – Form I-212, Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States After Deportation or Removal. This is in addition to the Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant, that they already require.

However, one option that may be available for these individuals in order to avoid a formal removal order is to request that they be allowed to withdraw their application for admission. Put simply, it is the individual saying to the Court “I’m sorry I applied to enter the U.S. I would like to take my application back and go home now.” This is a highly discretionary request, and not a right or a benefit, so the Immigration Judge does have the discretion to deny the request. Nonetheless, in some cases, it may be worth pursuing this strategy in order to avoid a removal order that will incur either a ten (10) year bar to the US or require applying for yet another waiver.

For those individuals who have been previously advised by CBP that they require a nonimmigrant waiver to enter the U.S., before re-appearing at the POE to enter, it is highly advisable that these individuals apply for their waivers to avoid being placed in removal proceedings. Should an emergency arise during the pendency of the waiver application, there may be the opportunity to apply for parole while the waiver application is pending.

If you are one of these individuals who has already been placed into removal proceedings based on a scenario described above, please schedule a consultation with our office to determine whether withdrawing your application for admission may be a advisable and feasible strategy.