Sometimes, as hard as we fight, we fail to prevent deportation. There are a variety of reasons why your petition or appeal might have been declined, and if you exhaust all possible remedies, you will be removed. However, that does not necessarily end the story. Some admit defeat and resign themselves to building a life in their country of origin, despite not having any experience there since childhood. Others explore the options they have to return to the United States from their position outside. Whichever choice you decide, it is important to understand the odds of being able to return before a bar runs out.
Immigration Bars & Waivers
If you are deported from the United States, an immigration bar will be assessed against you, which can be a term of three, five, 10 or 20 years. It is important to understand, possibly above all else, that the expiration of an immigration bar on your record does not mean that you may simply walk back into the U.S. without any potential problems. It only means you may apply for permission to ask for a new visa or green card. The only way to get around an immigration bar is to apply for one of two types of waivers: first, if you are the spouse or child of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (green card holder) and your being barred from the U.S. would cause them (not you) exceptional and extremely unusual hardship.
If you were deported, as opposed to leaving the U.S. voluntarily, you would begin the return process by filing an I-212, Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission. Depending on the nature of the reason for your deportation, you may also have to file an I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds for Inadmissibility. This is not the same as a waiver of the bar—this means asking the government to overlook something in your past—a crime, an overstay, et cetera—so that you will be able to apply for a visa. If you have no inadmissibility on your record, an I-601 is not necessary, but most people are rendered inadmissible if they have been placed in removal proceedings and deported.
Navigating the Process
While the process of achieving reentry to the U.S. is difficult and for some people, there is a clear-cut set of criteria that one can examine in order to make sure they meet as many as possible. Set out in the case of Matter of Tin, (Comm. 1978), Immigration & Naturalization Services (INS, as it was known at the time) held that there are multiple factors that must be evaluated in determining whether a grant of reentry is possible. Some of them include length of legal (not undocumented) residence in the U.S., the length of time since removal, whether or not the applicant has family or professional responsibilities in the U.S., and evidence of any rehabilitation if the ground for deportation was a crime.
It is also important to remember that U.S. jurisprudence also holds that if the only thing on a person’s record is the immigration violation itself, rather than any kind of criminal charge, that is not sufficient grounds to deny someone reentry. Waivers are intended to be a second chance at living legally in the United States, and if someone demonstrates no other ground of inadmissibility (as well as evidence of good character), it is intended that they be granted that chance.
Enlist an Experienced Attorney
If you or a loved one has been deported and seek to reenter the country, you will have a difficult fight ahead, but it is not an impossible one. Above all else, seeking out a knowledgeable immigration lawyer in the U.S. can make a huge difference. The Chicago immigration attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC will help you work out the best options for you and your family going forward. Call us today to set up a free consultation.
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