Location: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
Verdict: Adjustment of Status Approved
I had a client, Astrid Cabas, who had entered the U.S. as a child, brought by her mother.
The family crossed the U.S.-Mexico border without inspection, and they were intercepted by immigration.
Because Astrid was a child, and wasn’t fully aware of the immigration proceedings against her, she did not attend her immigration hearing and an order of deportation was entered against her.
Years passed, and Astrid qualified for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. She graduated from high school with honors, attended college, and even got permission to travel for a study abroad pursuant to her DACA status.
Astrid then lawfully re-entered the country through Advanced Parole and her DACA status.
Unfortunately, Astrid’s lawyer at the time did not look into whether she had an order of removal outstanding, and did not take the time to advise her of the consequences of traveling with an order of removal, or try to reopen and terminate proceedings before she traveled.
As a result of her international travel, under the law, the order of removal from Astrid’s childhood had gone in to effect, and she had become inadmissible to the United States under INA 212(a)(9)(A)(ii)(II).
However, at the same time, she also had a lawful entry to the country, and was eligible for adjustment under INA 245.
This created a very unique circumstance for my client when she came to me after marrying her U.S. citizen spouse.
Astrid was eligible for an adjustment of status, but at the same time inadmissible under a provision of the law that usually applies to someone outside of the United States.
Working with the client, we were able to negotiate grounds for a waiver of her inadmissibility while simultaneously helping her apply for an adjustment of status based on her being an “immediate relative” of a U.S. citizen (in this case, her spouse).
After a long processing time, Astrid’s I-212 waiver and I-485 application for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence were approved, and she now lives happily in the country with her spouse and their daughter.
I enjoyed working on this case due to its unique set of facts. We routinely do adjustment of status applications for many clients, but what’s unusual in this case is the fact that we also had to file the I-212 waiver alongside the permanent residency application.
It was clear that Astrid fit within a narrow opportunity for a waiver in the INA, but not one that would be readily apparent in USCIS’s routine processing.
Fortunately, we prepared the waiver application and explained how Astrid qualified for a waiver under INA 212(a)(9)(A). Shortly after her interview, Astrid received an approval notice for her lawful permanent residency application.
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