Client Approval: I-601 Extreme Hardship Waiver Approved for Same-Sex Couple in Less than 3 Months

I-601 Extreme Hardship Waiver Approved for Same-Sex Couple

Our office received approval of the I-601 “Extreme Hardship” Waiver for a same-sex couple composed of a Mexican applicant married to his U.S. citizen spouse less than 3 months after it was prepared and submitted by our office.

The U.S. citizen spouse contacted my office after his Mexican spouse attended his consular interview at Ciudad Juarez and was deemed inadmissible to the U.S. based on being subject to the “10 year unlawful presence bar” pursuant to INA Section 212(a)(9)(B).

The Mexican spouse previously entered the U.S. as a minor child but remained unlawfully in the U.S. past his 18th birthday.  He was subsequently arrested and convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) and given voluntary departure from the U.S.

Our I-601 Waiver application package included a complete set of USCIS forms requesting consideration of the I-601 Waiver; a 24 page waiver statement detailing relevant case law favorable to my client’s situation and presenting the extreme hardships that applied to this case; and a comprehensive collection of exhibits to prove the extreme hardships being presented.

Section 212(a)(9)(B) of the Act provides, in pertinent part:

(i) In General – Any alien (other than an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence) who –

(II) has been unlawfully present in the United States for one year or more, and who again seeks admission within 10 years of the date of alien’s departure or removal from the United States, is inadmissible.

(v) Waiver. – The Attorney General [now the Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary)] has sole discretion to waive clause (i) in the case of an immigrant who is the spouse or son or daughter of a United States citizen or of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence, if it is established to the satisfaction of the Attorney General [Secretary] that the refusal of admission to such immigrant alien would result in extreme hardship to the citizen or lawfully resident spouse or parent of such alien.

”Extreme hardship,” for purposes of the I-601 Waiver, has a special meaning under U.S. immigration law.  The factors considered relevant in determining extreme hardship include:

  • Health of the qualifying relative: ongoing or specialized treatment requirements for a physical or mental condition; availability and quality of such treatment in the foreign national’s country, anticipated duration of the treatment; whether a condition is chronic or acute, or long or short-term.
  • Financial considerations: future employability; loss due to sale of home or business or termination of a professional practice; decline in standard of living; ability to recoup short-term losses; cost of extraordinary needs, such as special education or training for children; cost of caring for family members (i.e., elderly and infirm parents).
  • Education: loss of opportunity for higher education; lower quality or limited scope of education options; disruption of current program; requirement to be educated in a foreign language or culture with ensuing loss of time in grade; availability of special requirements, such as training programs or internships in specific fields.
  • Personal considerations: close relatives in the United States and/or the foreign national’s country; separation from spouse/children; ages of involved parties; length of residence and community ties in the United States.
  • Special considerations: cultural, language, religious, and ethnic obstacles; valid fears of persecution, physical harm, or injury; social ostracism or stigma; access to social institutions or structures.
  • Any other information that explains how your personal circumstances may qualify as imposing extreme hardship on a qualifying U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident relative.

Spouses must demonstrate that their relationship will suffer more than the normal hardship or financial inconvenience caused by family separation.

We drafted a comprehensive 24 page waiver memorandum outlining the relevant case law favorable to our client’s situation.  We also discussed in detail the medical, financial, emotional, and psychological hardships the U.S. citizen spouse (and his U.S. citizen parents) are presently suffering from, and proved how these extreme hardships interrelate and would worsen in the event of continued separation of this couple.  We also highlighted a variety compelling factors in the life of the applicant that we believed warranted an exercise of favorable discretion on the part of the USCIS.

Some of the relevant factors in this case included the following:

  • The U.S. citizen spouse suffers from chronic and at times, debilitating anxiety and depression.  We documented that this is a long-standing condition that has required antidepressant medication and psychotherapeutic treatment in the past.
  • Just as importantly, we demonstrated that his anxiety and depression has led to severe physical symptoms as well, and that his overall condition would significantly worsen should his separation from his Mexican spouse continue OR if he should depart the U.S. and re-locate to Mexico to be with his spouse.
  • The U.S. citizen spouse has an elderly U.S. citizen mother who he visits regularly and takes care of as best he can.  His mother has survived two bouts of cancer in the past and relies upon her son for assistance.  His mother’s husband (the U.S. citizen spouse’s  step-father) is also suffering from severe medical issues of his own and is wholly dependent on his wife to meet his daily and medical needs.
  • The U.S. citizen spouse has an elderly U.S. citizen father who suffers from a rare and serious immune system disorder.  The U.S. citizen spouse visits his father as often as he can and feels a strong obligation to be by his side and care for him as best he can.
  • The financial burden of maintaining a home in the U.S., visiting and providing care for both his parents, AND spending what time remains with his spouse in Mexico, has caused the U.S. citizen spouse severe financial stress.
  • The financial stress includes thousands of dollars of debt.  We documented that loss of employment by the U.S. citizen spouse due to deterioration of his compromised psychological and physical state, or relocation to Mexico, would both lead financial disaster.

As a result of the I-601 Waiver prepared and submitted by our office, the waiver application was approved in less than 3 months after submission and this couple can soon be re-united inside the United States.