Getson & Schatz Successfully Applies for I-601A Waiver for Undocumented Alien from the Dominican Republic

Our Philadelphia immigration attorneys have experienced great success in filing I-601 waivers on behalf of clients whose removal from the United States will cause extreme hardship to their U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (“LPR”) spouse or parent.  We received an approval of the newly-established I-601A Stateside Waiver.

On March 4, 2013, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security began accepting I-601A waivers.  Both I-601 and I-601A waivers permit an alien in certain situations to apply for a #green card in spite of the fact that the alien is otherwise inadmissible to the United States.  Like the I-601 waiver, the I-601A waiver requires an applicant to prove that his or her removal will result in extreme hardship to his or her U.S. Citizen or LPR spouse or parent.  This hardship must be more than that which is normally experienced when a family member is removed from the United States. Additionally, an I-601A waiver applicant must be the beneficiary of an approved I-130 petition. Unlike the I-601 waiver, the I-601 waiver is only available to aliens whose sole basis for inadmissibility stems from their unlawful presence, which usually signifies that the alien entered the United States without inspection – e.g. the alien walked across the United States border.  Such unlawful presence can carry a 3 or 10 year ban from reentry to the United States once the alien departs the United States, depending on the length of time the alien spent unlawfully present.  Prior to the I-601A waiver, these aliens would be forced to apply for an I-601 waiver from abroad, and in doing so run the risk of their waiver being denied and thereafter being inadmissible to the United States for 3 or 10 years.   The I-601A waiver, on the other hand, allows these aliens to apply for the waiver in the United States, wait for the waiver’s approval, and then travel to conduct a consular interview abroad, knowing that they will be permitted to reenter the United States.  For more on the I-601A waiver, please visit our website at: http://www.601a-waiver.com/.

As previously mentioned, the standard for granting an I-601A waiver is the same as the I-601 waiver: denying the applicant’s admission would cause his or her U.S. Citizen or LPR spouse or parent (“qualifying relative”) extreme hardship.  This extreme hardship must result whether the qualifying relative remains in the United States without the alien or if he or she relocates abroad in order to remain with the applicant.  If denying the alien’s admission also causes extreme hardship to a non-qualifying relative, this hardship is only important in so much as it causes the qualifying relative extreme hardship.  For example, if the U.S. Citizen’s spouse has a U.S. Citizen child who would suffer extreme hardship if the alien were refused admission, this extreme hardship is irrelevant unless it also causes the U.S. Citizen spouse extreme hardship.  Our experienced Philadelphia immigration attorneys employ a method of creating a thorough and all-inclusive record of evidence showing extreme hardship for both I-601 and I-601A waivers to ensure that our clients are given the best possible chance of getting their waiver applications approved.  We spend many hours interacting with our clients in order to gather sufficient information to present the totality of their circumstances regarding extreme hardship.

In 2003, our client entered the United States without inspection by traveling from his native Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico by boat.  Although neither a state nor part of the contiguous United States of America, entering Puerto Rico without inspection constitutes entering the United States without inspection.  Our client met his future wife in Puerto Rico, at which time she had three children from previous relationships.  Only one of these children, a son, is a U.S. Citizen, and he resides with our client and his wife.  His spouse’s two other children, both adult females, are residents of the Dominican Republic and the United States, respectively.  None of our client’s spouse’s children’s fathers are involved in their lives.  By the end of 2007, our client, his wife, and her U.S. Citizen son had traveled to and were residing in Pennsylvania.  Thereafter, our client’s spouse successfully petitioned for an immigrant visa on his behalf as the immediate relative of a U.S. Citizen.  However, due to his unlawful presence, our client required a waiver in order to be able to adjust his status to that of Lawful Permanent Resident.

Our Philadelphia immigration lawyers presented a four-pronged argument showing our client’s wife would suffer extreme hardship if he were refused admission to the United States.  First, our client’s spouse’s son suffers from severe ADHD and our client is the only one who can properly handle this child’s behavior.  This child had spent some of his childhood in the Dominican Republic, where teachers did not know how to handle his hyperactive behavior and eventually expelled him.  Without our client’s presence, our client’s wife would have suffered extreme hardship if she had to manage her son’s behavioral problems on her own, given her own physical and psychological issues.  Our lawyers collected the son’s Individualized Education Program, Positive Behavior Support Plan, Comprehensive School Based Behavioral Health Evaluation, and psychiatrist reports to show the extent of his problems and how essential our client is to helping his mother, our client’s spouse, manage those problems.  Further, these documents displayed the progress the son had made in recent months, and how bringing him to the Dominican Republic, where had had already been expelled from school due to his hyperactive behavior, would negate his progress and make him even more difficult to manage.

Next, our Philadelphia immigration lawyers presented evidence of our client’s spouse’s physical and mental health problems that, if our client were refused admission, would rise to the level of extreme hardship if she were to remain in the United States alone or if she were to relocate to the Dominican Republic to remain with him.  Our client’s wife suffered a severe back injury that required surgery and for which she must continue to receive specialized treatment that is not affordable in the Dominican Republic.  She requires our client’s assistance to help her deal with her back problem and would have suffered extreme hardship if he were not admitted to the United States.  Likewise, she would have suffered extreme hardship in the form of severe mental anguish if our client were denied admission to the United States due to her clinically diagnosed depression.  We gathered doctor’s reports, a psychologist’s report, and spent considerable time speaking with our client and his wife in order to understand the severity of our client’s spouse’s physical and mental condition and how refusing to admit him to the United States would cause her extreme hardship.  Lastly, our Philadelphia immigration lawyers collected proof of the couple’s income and expenses in order to show that refusing to admit our client would cause his U.S. Citizen spouse extreme economic hardship.

USCIS agreed with our Philadelphia immigration attorneys’ arguments and granted our client’s I-601A waiver.  Now, our client can return to the Dominican Republic for his consular interview knowing that the 10 year bar to re-entry that will take effect upon his departure is already waived and he will be able to come back to the United States where he will remain united with his U.S. Citizen spouse.

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