Guiding Mexican National from Removal Proceedings to Immigrant Visa (Removal Proceedings -> I-130 -> Voluntary Departure -> Immigrant Visa Processing -> I-601)

Our client, a Mexican national, was just recently approved by USCIS for a I-601 waiver based on hardship to his USC spouse. Our client is now awaiting the issuance of his immigrant visa through the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and upon issuance, will be able to return to the U.S. as a permanent resident and be able to support his family and be a productive member of society.

As background, our client had entered the US in the 1990’s without authorization and had been in the U.S. since then. A few years ago, he was encountered by U.S. Border Patrol and subsequently placed into removal proceedings. At that time, he was already in a relationship with his USC spouse and the couple decided to move ahead their plans and go ahead and get married so that our client would have a legal avenue to pursue permanent resident status. After the couple was married, we helped them file a Form I-130 petition with USCIS, together with a request for a bonafide marriage exemption under INA §245(e)(3). (As background, generally, if a foreign national gets married after removal proceedings have been initiated and is seeking immediate relative status based on that marriage, they must demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence – a notably higher standard - that the marriage is a bonafide marriage and one that was not entered in to for the purpose of evading immigration laws.)

After the I-130 was approved, our firm requested that our client be granted Voluntary Departure from the Immigration Court in Buffalo, New York. In support of our request, we established that our client was an individual of good moral character, that he was deserving of the court’s discretion, was statutorily eligible for such relief, etc. (Our client was not eligible to adjust his status from within the U.S. since he last entered the U.S. unlawfully and was required to complete Immigrant Visa Processing.)

Our client timely departed the U.S. prior to his Voluntary Departure date and subsequently attended his immigrant visa interview at the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez. During his interview, as expected, he was denied an immigrant visa since he was inadmissible under INA §212(a)(9)(B)(i)(II) [10 Yr Unlawful Presence Bar] and required an immigrant waiver under INA §212(a)(9)(B)(v) to waive his inadmissibility. Our client had triggered the Unlawful Presence Bar when he departed the U.S. for his immigrant visa interview (unfortunately, our client was unable to take advantage of the Provisional Hardship Waiver [Form I-601A] implemented by USCIS in March 2013 since he was required to depart the U.S. prior to that date pursuant to his Voluntary Departure Order).

Following his interview, we filed his immigrant waiver application (Form I-601) with USCIS. In support of the I-601, our firm prepared a detailed legal brief outlining our client’s illegal entry into the US, how he met his USC wife, when they were married and his immigration history; we also discussed the USC wife’s (qualifying relative) background - we explained her childhood, catalyst events in her childhood that led to her declining mental health issues and her depression and how her health had substantially improved as a result of our client’s emotional support and love. We were able to document her medical diagnosis of Chronic Major Depressive Order, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia and were able to establish how her declining mental health was directly tied to our client’s immigration situation. We also explained her family ties in the U.S. which would prevent her from accompanying our client abroad to Mexico - she had children from a previous marriage, some of which are adults and some are minors. Her minor children are on SSI due to learning disabilities and there are current court orders that were granted to the child’s biological father placing geographical restrictions on the mother.

Thus, on the legal brief we prepared, we detailed and established the hardships that the USC spouse would face if she were to accompany our client to Mexico and then the extreme hardship she would face if she was to remain in the U.S. without him. We explained how she would be unable to receive the essential mental healthcare and physical healthcare that she required in Mexico, that she would lose her sole source of income which is SSI and healthcare benefits that she is able to receive in the US, and her inability to relocate her minor children because of the current custody visitation order with their biological father. We also explained how the USC spouse and her children would not have the legal ability to reside in Mexico and that there were various financial support documentation that they would be likely unable to provide to obtain such permission. We went on to discuss why she could not remain in the U.S. without her husband and how her mental health had already been declining given our clients immigration situation, and how prone she was to further deterioration given her documented history of depression. We also explained that her older daughter’s life was essentially being placed on hold given that her daughter was now responsible for doing a lot of the translations for the family, driving the family around to various doctor’s appointments and school related issues and generally helping out with the family, which was causing the USC spouse further emotional distress.

We are very happy this I-601 was approved, without an RFE, from USCIS within normal processing times and that our client is now going to be reunited with his family in the near future once his immigrant visa is issued by the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez.