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Deportations, Illegal Presence, and Your Greencard

At Ranchod Law we handle many cases of individuals with issues related to previous deportations and illegal presence (being present in the U.S. without legal status). The effect of your prior immigration violation/s depends on what exactly is the violation and when it occurred.

Previously we covered the scenario of Luis. Luis entered and exited the U.S. illegally prior to April 1, 1997, but was back in the U.S. by April 1, 1997, and hadn’t left since the pre-April 1, 1997 entry. We explained that Luis, provided that he otherwise qualifies, should be able to obtain his greencard. As we will see below, the April 1, 1997 date is often critical in determining your potential immigration relief because April 1, 1997 was the date that a law called the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) became effective.

Now, let’s examine the case of Nora. Nora resided in the U.S. after entering illegally but left the U.S. within 180 days after April 1, 1997. Nora has not reentered the U.S. since returning to her home country. Now, Nora has a relative in the U.S. who is willing to sponsor her for her immigrant visa. Lucky for Nora, because she left the U.S. with 180 days after April 1, 1997, provided she otherwise qualifies, she should be able to immigrate to the U.S. without a problem. Like Nora, generally if you departed the U.S. within 180 days after April 1, 1997 or prior, and have not since reentered the U.S. illegally, you should be able to immigrate to the U.S. legally and obtain your greencard.

Finally, if you were deported at any time and reentered after April 1, 1997, you face a “permanent” bar. When we use the term “permanent bar” we are referring to a law called Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 212(a)(9)(C)(i)(II). This law provides that if you have been removed (deported) from the U.S. and come back, or attempt to come back, illegally, you are barred from coming back for ten (10) years. There is no waiver of this bar. To come back, you must get a special permission and otherwise qualify. Because of the long period and the unavailability of a waiver, we use the term “permanent bar.”

The above three scenarios are fairly established in the law. As a note of caution, however, please remember that changing even the smallest of facts can alter an immigration case entirely. Dates and methods of entry into the U.S. are of critical importance. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your prior removal (deportation) from the U.S. or your illegal presence in the U.S. we urge you to contact us at (916) 613-3553. We have seen uninformed individuals receive federal prison sentences for their immigration violations. Don’t let this happen to you! If you are honest with us about your immigration history we can confidentially advise you as to your options. We have offices in Sacramento and San Francisco and clients all over the world.

Published by: Ranchod Law Group