Our office received approval of the I-601 Application of Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility for a client who was subject to a lifetime ban from being admitted to the United States pursuant to INA 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(I). Our client was charged and convicted of misappropriating monies from the bank account of another individual in 1998, for which offense she was fined the equivalent of USD$2000, which fine she has paid. That conviction triggered the lifetime inadmissibility bar pursuant to INA 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(I) “Crimes involving moral turpitude.”
The U.S. citizen sibling petitioner contacted me after her sister was denied admission to the U.S. following her consular interview at the U.S. embassy in Seoul, South Korea. A comprehensive waiver package was subsequently prepared by our office based on the fact that more than 15 years have passed since she was convicted of criminal offense in her home country of South Korea; the clear evidence that her admission would not be contrary to the national welfare, safety or security of the United States; and that she has been fully rehabilitated.
Legal Requirements of the § 212(h) Waiver
Section 212(h) of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides a discretionary waiver for the following criminal grounds of inadmissibility:
- Crimes involving moral turpitude (subparagraph 212(a)(2)(A)(I))
- Multiple criminal convictions (212(a)(2)(B))
- Prostitution and commercial vice (212(a)(2)(D))
- Certain aliens who have asserted immunity from prosecution (212(a)(2)(E))
- An offense of simple possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana (212(a)(2)(A)(i)(II))
INA 212(h)(1)(A) provides that certain grounds of inadmissibility under section 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(I)-(II), (B), and (E) of the Act may be waived in the case of an alien who demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Attorney General that:
- the activities for which she is inadmissible occurred more than fifteen years before the date of the alien’s application for a visa, admission, or adjustment of status;
- the admission would not be contrary to the national welfare, safety, or security of the U.S.; and
- the alien has been rehabilitated;
INA 212(h)(1)(B) provides that certain grounds of inadmissibility under section 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(I)-(II), (B), (D)-(E) of the Act may be waived in the case of an alien who:
- has a parent, spouse, son, or daughter who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States; and
- the parent, spouse, son, or daughter would suffer “extreme hardship” on account of the alien’s ineligibility to immigrate
Waiver applicants must also show that their application should be granted as a matter of discretion, with the favorable factors outweighing the unfavorable factors in his or her case.
In support of my client’s I-601 waiver application, I prepared a comprehensive legal brief going over how the facts and circumstances of her situation met the legal standards of INA 212(h)(1)(A).
I thoroughly demonstrated that my client was rehabilitated and her admission not contrary to the national welfare, safety, or security of the U.S., based upon her long-history as a successful small business owner; her membership and participation in various church and charitable programs; as well as her selfless dedication to the education of her children, which played an integral role in allowing her son to attend medical school after the death of his father.
I showed that following her conviction and later, after the death of her husband, she reached a profound “turning point” in her life. She was baptized into the Christian faith and became a devout and ardent member of her church. She committed herself to a number of charitable activities while also working tirelessly to support her children and their education. Her conduct as well as a myriad of affidavits by friends, colleagues, and family proved that she posed absolutely no risk to the safety or welfare of the U.S., and in fact, would contribute to it if admitted as a permanent resident.
It is often important in waiver applications to demonstrate (when possible) an important turning point in an applicant’s life, which provides a marker that the USCIS officer can point to and remember has having effected a fundamental change in the applicant’s outlook and conduct.
An extensive table of exhibits also listed a variety of evidence in support of a showing of good moral character and rehabilitation.
As a result of our efforts, our client was approved for the 601 waiver and subsequently, received her lawful permanent residence to join her family in the United States.