Deportation Terminated, I-601 Waiver Approved, and Green Card Issued despite Convictions and False Claim to United States CitizenshipPublished: Nov 1, 2011 8:00 am
Our client is a native and citizen of Nigeria. He entered the United States from Canada as a visitor/no class. After he was admitted, he was unfortunately convicted on two separate occasions of criminal charges. In addition, he applied for a United States passport, using documents showing that he was born in the United States, which was untrue.
The Department of Homeland Security issued a Notice to Appear in the Immigration Court charging him with removal for having been convicted of two crimes involving moral turpitude. At that point, we were retained.
After the institution of removal proceedings, our client married his United States citizen girlfriend. We prepared and submitted a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on their behalf, along with a request for a bona fide marriage exemption (required because the marriage was entered into after the institution of removal proceedings). We were able to obtained administrative closure of the Immigration Court proceedings while USCIS determined whether the I-130 Petition should be approved. USCIS ultimately determined that the marriage was real, and approved the Petition.
Upon the approval of the Petition for Alien Relative, we requested that the Immigration Court terminate the proceedings so that he would be able to file an application for adjustment of status (“green card” application). We successfully argued that dispite the fact that our client made a false claim to United States citizenship, he remained eligible to apply for his Green Card because his application for a passport occurred prior to the enactment of the law making it a ground of inadmissibility.
The Immigration Judge granted our request, and the Immigration Court proceedings were terminated. We then prepared and filed a Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status, on our client’s behalf. However, because of his criminal convictions, our client is inadmissible to the United States and therefore ineligible to adjust his status without the granting of a waiver of his inadmissibility.
As a result, we prepared a Form I-601 waiver application on his behalf, showing that it would be an extreme hardship to our client’s United States citizen wife, and their two United States citizen children, if he were deported and they were forced to either remain in the United States without him, or to relocate to Nigeria to be with him.
We demonstrated that our client’s wife and children would experience extreme hardship because of their close ties to this country; their lack of family ties outside the United States; the conditions in Nigeria; their lack of ties to Nigeria; the financial impact of departure from this country, and our client’s wife’s psychological condition. We also argued that the negative factors in his case – his criminal convictions – were outweighed by the extreme hardship that his wife and children would suffer.
While the applications were being considered our client was granted employment authorization so that he was able to work and support his family. After consideration of our legal brief and supporting documentation, USCIS granted the Form I-601 waiver, and issued our client a green card!