Website Q & A - March 28, 2008

Immigration Scheduled an I-130 Interview for Me and My Wife, But I Was Ordered Deported 13 Years Ago. What Are the Pros and Cons of Going?

Dear Mr. Lee,

I came to the United States with a B-2 visitor visa in 1992. I was working at a farm in Texas in 1994 when I was picked up by Immigration. I had a deportation order in 1995 that I appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals and lost in 1997. I married my wife in 2002 and we have a 5 year old son. She had the green card and applied the I-130 petition for me in 2002, and our lawyer told us that was the only thing that she could do at the time. My wife is now applying for U.S. citizenship and should get it in the next six months. The problem is Immigration has sent an interview notice for me and my wife to show up and bring all the documents that we have of a bonafide marriage. We're not worried to show them that we're living together and we can even bring our son. We are worried that Immigration will take me and deport me. Can we argue that my wife will be a citizen soon? She applied over a year ago for her citizenship. Can we tell them that I am the sole support of the family and if I have to leave, my wife and child will have to go on welfare? Should we go or should we not? Can you tell us what is good and what is bad about going? We don't want to lose the petition, but we don't want to find out that I'm going to be sent back home. What should we do?

Dear reader:

You have a valid concern because you have no means of relief at the present time. Even if your wife becomes a U.S. citizen, you still have a final order of deportation that would have to be reopened prior to your being able to adjust status on the basis of your wife's sponsorship. I cannot specifically tell you what to do as advising anyone to disobey an immigration interview request is probably not ethical or legal - however, I can inform you that there is a possibility that you will be detained when you appear. The U.S.C.I.S. in New York, for example recently stated that detention is a possibility in those situations, but did add the caveat that the District would allow the interview to be completed prior to picking up the individual. The arguments that you are thinking of giving Immigration at the interview may be effective, but that would probably be up to the interviewing officer. The New York District did state that arrest at the interview is not automatic but is entirely possible. I also note that although the I-130 petition has been filed since 2002, your wife can always file another I-130 petition for you if and when she becomes a U.S. citizen. That petition would move into a higher class than the one that you presently have pending.


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The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any particular set of facts or circumstances. It should not be construed as legal advice and does not constitute an engagement of the Law Office of Alan Lee or establish an attorney-client relationship.