Our office recently 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) and INA 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(II). Our client has multiple criminal convictions in her background including a conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude which occurred in 1998 and a controlled substance conviction (possession of a cannabis bong) which occurred in 1997. Our client is married to a U.S. lawful permanent resident husband with an approved I-130 immediate relative petition filed on her behalf.
She contacted me after filing the I-601 waiver on her own and receiving a notice from the USCIS stating that the waiver package she filed did not contain sufficient evidence that a favorable exercise of discretion was warranted in her case.
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.
”Extreme hardship” 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.
How I Obtained Approval of the I-601 Waiver for My Client Who Had Multiple Convictions for Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude and a Controlled Substance Conviction
In support of my client’s I-601 waiver application, I prepared a comprehensive 21-page legal brief going over how the facts and circumstances of her situation met the legal standards for both INA 212(h)(1)(A) and INA 212(h)(1)(B) including citations of existing case law favorable to my client’s case.
I thoroughly outlined the the medical, financial, and psychological hardships of the case and presented persuasive evidence of my client’s rehabilitation and good moral character. Not only did I show that my client was rehabilitated and her admission not contrary to the national welfare, safety, or security of the U.S., I also demonstrated that her overall dedication as a wife and mother was integral to the daily care of her ill U.S. citizen husband (who suffers from coronary heart disease and psychological disorders) and their three children (one of whom suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). I also showed that the welfare of her husband and children depends on them remaining inside the United States together with their wife and mother.
An extensive table of exhibits also listed a variety of evidence in support of a showing of “extreme hardship” and rehabilitation.
As a result of our efforts, our client was approved for the 601 waiver within 4 weeks of submission and subsequently, received her lawful permanent residence to join her family in the United States.