Improvident Fraud Finding Vacated By U.S. Customs & Border Protection

Several years ago, our Client, a national of Iran and now a Canadian citizen, was in Canada to pursue his graduate studies. At that time, his parents were U.S. lawful permanent residents and resided in California. While in Canada during this time, our Client made a conscious effort to maintain a valid B-1/B-2 visa so that he could visit his parents during vacations, as his school schedule allowed.

About six years ago, as he was preparing his Master’s Thesis, he planned to visit his parents and applied for a new B-1/B-2 visa accordingly. However, because of unanticipated issues with his Master’s Thesis, which cut into his vacation time, he decided to change his vacation plans and instead of travel to visit his parents, he would visit New York City (he had never been) as well as some universities on the east coast in contemplation of pursuing his PhD.

When he applied for admission at a border Port of Entry, with his valid visitors (B1/B2) visa, he was pulled over into secondary inspection and questioned extensively about the purpose of his trip and the discrepancy in what he had told the Consular Officer when he obtained his B-1/B-2 visa [to visit his parents] and what his stated purpose of entry was at the time of applying for admission [to visit New York City and schools].

Our Client truthfully answered all questions asked of him by CBP. He explained the initial plans, the delays with his thesis and his desire to make the most of his few days off by visiting New York City and various universities. However, when CBP searched his vehicle and found a number of his resumes, they questioned whether his true purpose was to really enter the U.S. and seek employment. CBP Officers alleged that our Client had lied during his interview regarding the reasons he was seeking his B-1/B-2 visa. At the end of his secondary inspection, CBP cancelled our Client’s B-1/B-2 visa and permitted him to withdraw his application for admission, but nonetheless made a notation in CBP records regarding a finding of fraud under INA §212(a)(6)(c)(i). Thus, in order to re-enter the U.S. in the future, our Client would require a waiver (either a non-immigrant waiver under INA §212(d)(3) or an immigrant waiver under INA §212(i), depending on his intent).

After our initial consultation with the Client, we recommended that we file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) on his behalf with the Dept. of Homeland Security to obtain a complete copy of his file since it had been six years since this incident and we wanted to make sure that we had all the appropriate records from his file. Once we had the FOIA Response, we would determine the appropriate strategy and consult and review our strategy with the Client. After receiving and reviewing the FOIA Response, we came to the conclusion that the fraud charge against our Client was not legally substantiated. As such, we recommended that we file a motion with CBP to correct our Client’s records and remove any reference to the fraudulent finding since such finding was made erroneously. Our Client agreed and we submitted an extremely thorough and comprehensive submission to CBP, including affidavits from our Client’s parents, proof of airline tickets and email’s between our Client and Student Advisors at various PhD programs, etc.

After reviewing our submission, CBP Officers scheduled a follow-up interview with our Client. We appeared with our Client at the Port of Entry and after his interview, he was inspected and admitted as a visitor to the U.S. – without the need for a waiver. Our Client will no longer face a lifetime bar to the U.S. as a result of the previous incident six years ago.