I-601 Extreme Hardship Waiver Granted by USCIS Philadelphia District Office

Our Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers have been working on “601 waiver” cases for many years, and have had cases granted for immigrants from many different countries.  We have recently have I-601 waiver cases granted for clients from China, Mexico, Turkey, and Albania.  Last week, we received an approval for a client from Mexico.

Our client came to the U.S. from Mexico through a border checkpoint, so she did not sneak across the border like many illegal immigrants.  However, she did lie in order to convince the officer at the border to let her in.  By lying, she committed fraud, just like many Chinese immigrants who enter the U.S. with fake passports or visas when they fly into a U.S. airport after buying documents from a smuggler.

At the time she entered the U.S., our client told the officer that she was coming to the U.S. to go shopping.  There is a special status that some Mexican immigrants have that allows them to come to the U.S. for 2 days at a time.  If they are approved, they are given a card called a “border crossing card.”  A lot of Mexicans from wealthy families or college educated Mexicans, such as our client, are able to get these cards because they live close to the U.S. border and go back and forth across the border many times per year.

However, even though they can enter the U.S. legally with their border crossing cards, they are not allowed to stay here permanently.  Because our client told the officer at the border that she was only going shopping, and then went to live with her husband and never left the U.S., it is clear that she lied.  She had consulted with another lawyer who had not realized that she had committed fraud and had not advised her of the need to file a fraud waiver.  When she came to our Immigration Lawyers in Philadelphia for a second opinion, we immediately asked her how she entered the U.S. and asked her about her interview at the border when she entered.  She was already pregnant with her husband’s child at the time, so it was obvious that she did not intend to return to Mexico at that time.

We told our client that the Immigration Service would almost certainly determine that she had lied and if she did not file a fraud waiver, her case could be denied immediately, causing her to lose all of the government filing fees and delaying her case another 3-6 months.  She agreed that telling the truth was better than lying and hoping the Immigration Service did not notice that she had committed fraud.

Our client’s husband had a very good job, but his job required him to travel outside the U.S. for about 6 months out of the year.  Also, he had medical problems related to a gunshot wound to his leg and foot which he had many surgeries on and which might require further surgeries in the future.  This was a good start for a fraud waiver case which requires a showing of extreme hardship to the US Citizen Spouse if the foreign national were to be deported from the United States and we knew that if the case was handled properly and thoroughly, it was possible the Immigration Service would approve the waiver application.

We obtained a significant amount of evidence in support of the application.  Our client needed an evaluation from her husband’s doctor explaining his possible need for surgery for him in the future, and we were able to obtain a letter from the doctor.  The key for our immigration attorneys was to prove what could happen in the future in a situation where he had to remain in the United States without his wife or had to go live with her in Mexico, not just past medical problems.  For this reason, we also had to find evidence regarding medical care in Mexico to show that our client’s husband could not get proper medical care if he had to live in Mexico with our client in the event that the waiver was denied.

Also, because our client’s husband had to travel for work, that would mean that there would be no one to care for their child while he was away, unless he had other family members that could babysit their daughter.  However, we obtained evidence that neither of them had close family living nearby aside from our client’s husband’s brother, a young man who was still in college and who was obviously not capable of raising a child.

Another important factor was that our client’s husband had health insurance in the U.S. through a government program that covered him even though he had a severe medical condition before he applied for the insurance.  Most insurance companies will not cover what is called a “pre-existing condition” and for that reason, if he had to move to Mexico to keep the family together, he would not be able to use his medical insurance.

Furthermore, our client’s husband had a very traumatic childhood in Iraq, a country with many problems including civil war, extreme poverty, and violence by one religious group against others.  His gunshot wounds were from an incident in which his brother had attempted to kill his parents, and accidentally shot him instead.  Obviously, this incident caused him many psychological problems.  A psychologist who we have worked with on other waiver cases wrote an excellent psychological evaluation of him that gave his family history which showed that our client was his only real family to provide emotional support to him.

We hope this success story gives hope to the many U.S. citizens who are trying to get their spouse’s waivers granted.  There will be many more decisions on waiver cases in the future under the new 601A waiver rule.

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