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Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: Undocumented Immigrants and the I-601 and I-601A Unlawful Presence Waivers | LEGAL THOUGHTS

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Transcript of Legal Thoughts Podcast
Published March 29, 2021.

Undocumented Immigrants and the I-601 and I-601A Unlawful Presence Waivers

Legal Thoughts is a podcast presentation by Coleman Jackson, P.C., a law firm based in Dallas, Texas serving individuals, businesses, and agencies from around the world in taxation, litigation and immigration legal matters.

This particular episode of Legal Thoughts is a podcast where the Attorney, Coleman Jackson is being interviewed by Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant of Coleman Jackson, P.C.   The topic of discussion is “Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: Undocumented Immigrants and the I-601 and I-601A Unlawful Presence Waivers”. You can listen to this podcast by clicking here:

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TRANSCRIPT:

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson
Legal Thoughts
COLEMAN JACKSON, ATTORNEY & COUNSELOR AT LAW

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson

Welcome to Immigration Thoughts

  • My name is Coleman Jackson, and I am an attorney at Coleman Jackson, P.C., a taxation, litigation, immigration law firm based in Dallas, Texas.
  • Our topic for today is: Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: Undocumented Immigrants and the I-601 and I-601A Unlawful Presence Waivers. Other members of Coleman Jackson, P.C. are Yulissa Molina, Tax Legal Assistant, Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant, Leiliane Godeiro, Litigation Legal Assistant and Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate.
  • On this “Legal Thoughts” podcast our immigration legal assistant, Reyna Munoz, will be asking the questions and I will be providing the answers to the questions on this very important immigration topic: Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: Undocumented Immigrants and the I-601 and I-601A Unlawful Presence Waivers.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • Attorney, thank you for joining me today and for taking the time to discuss the Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, I 601 and the Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver, I 601A.

Question 1:

Attorney, can you tell me, what is the I 601 and the I 601A waiver?

Attorney Answers Question 1:

  • Sure Reyna. A lot of immigrants in Texas came to the U.S. undocumented; therefore, they need a Waiver of Unlawful Presence. many undocumented immigrant parents waste their money when their U.S. citizen children turn 21. They waste their money because although they can successfully get their I-130, Petition for Alien Relative petition approved, their U.S. citizen children do not qualify for the U.S. person who will suffer extreme and unusual hardship if the undocumented immigrant is not granted an I-601 waiver for unlawful presence in the U.S.  Bottom line, it’s a waste of money to file an I-130 when you do not have a qualifying relative to satisfy Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility based on the unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility.  The undocumented immigrant needs a qualifying relative who will suffer extreme hardship if the undocumented immigrant is not permitted to immigrate to the United States.  The extreme hardship requirement for a waiver of unlawful presence can only be satisfied by a qualifying relative, such as, a U.S. citizen parent or U.S. citizen spouse.  Repeat, U.S. citizen children do not and cannot satisfy the qualifying relative requirement; therefore, unless the undocumented immigrant has a qualifying relative, it is a waste of time, effort, and money for their 21-year-old child to file an I-130, Petition for an Alien Relative on their behalf if the intent is to get a Green Card through the child.  A big log or bolder is blocking the road for the undocumented immigrant seeking a Green Card through their 21-year-old child.  The parents need a qualifying relative! If they had a qualifying relative, the parents probably would have gotten their Green Cards years ago.
  • Form I-601A, Provisional Waiver of Unlawful Presence is a waiver request based on humanitarian concerns of immigrants leaving the U.S. who are barred from returning for 5 to 10 years due to the fact that they have spent more than 180 continuous days unlawfully in the U.S. Before the I-601A provisional waiver process was implemented, these parents and other undocumented immigrants would leave the U.S. without an I-601 Waiver and when they got to the Consulate in their home country, they learned that they needed a waiver of unlawful presence to return to the United States.  The waiver was typically then prepared in the foreign country and submitted for approved by the U.S. Consulate Office.  Often times the Consulate would deny the waiver and therefore the immigrant would get stuck for 5 to 10 years in their home country with their husband, or wife and children remaining up here.  Family separation occurred as an inherent feature of the immigration waiver process.  The Form I-601A was created to hopefully prevent this harsh family separation reality.  Form I-601A can only be used to request waiver for unlawful presence.  It cannot be used to request a waiver or pardon for any other reason of inadmissibility of the undocumented immigrant.  For example, if there are crimes in the immigrants’ background or medical or health issues, DUI issues, Domestic Violence issues or other inadmissibility issues with the immigrant, the I-601A waver cannot be used for these grounds of inadmissibility.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • Thank you for this detailed explanation Attorney. You’re correct, a lot of times undocumented people think that once their child turns 21, they will immediately be able to apply for a green card, but it is important for them to understand that this is a process and they need a qualifying relative who suffer extreme and unusual hardship in the event the undocumented immigrant leaves the U.S. and is not permitted to return for 5 to 10 years.

Question 2:

Attorney, what are the differences between the I 601 and the I 601A?

Attorney Answers Question 2:

  • The I 601 waiver is used to request waiver or pardon for a host of areas of inadmissibility, such as, unlawful presence, physical or mental health (such as, DUI, domestic violence could be considered by some Consulate Officers as indications of mental illness); whereas, the I 601A provisional waiver can only be used to request a pardon for unlawful presence in the U.S. Inadmissibility based on mental health, physical health, crimes, or other grounds of inadmissibility are not eligible for consideration in an I 601A waiver case.
  • The I 601 waiver is granted to pardon numerous offending grounds of inadmissibility; whereas the I 601A waiver is a provisional waiver of unlawful presence.
  • The I 601 waiver is typically filed at the U.S. Consulates Office by undocumented immigrants seeking a green card through a qualifying relative; whereas, the I-601A provisional waiver of unlawful presence is filed inside the U.S. before the immigrant leaves the United States. It is provisional in the sense that the Consulate Officer will make the final determination as to whether the immigrant is admitted to return to the United States.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • It sounds like the these understanding the use and purpose of these two forms and this whole area of immigration waiver law are incredibly important topics for many immigrants residing in Texas and throughout the Southwest.

Question 3:

Who can file an I 601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility?

Attorney Answers Question 3:

  • Reyna, the following types of immigrants may file Form I 601, Application for Waiver of Inadmissibility:
    1. Those applying for adjustment of status
    2. Those applying for Temporary Protected Status, TPS
    3. Those who are applying for adjustment of status under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act
    4. Those who are applying for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status under Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA), And finally,
    5. Special Immigrant Juveniles who have an approved I 130, Petition for Alien Relative.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 4:

Thank you for that detailed list, attorney. Now tell me, who is eligible to file the I 601A, Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver??

Attorney Answers Question 4:

  • Reyna, those eligible to file the I 601A Provisional Waiver for Unlawful Presence must meet the following requirements:
    1. They must be physically present in the United States at the time of filing;
    2. They must be least 17 years of age or older;
    3. They must have a case pending with the United States Department of State because they are: (A) the principal beneficiary of an approved I-130 or they are the beneficiary of an approved I 360; or (B) they are the spouse or child of a principal beneficiary of an approved immigrant visa and have paid the immigrant visa processing fee; or (C) they have been selected by the Department of State to participate in the Diversity Visa program; and
    4. They must be able to demonstrate that denying admission to the United States would result in extreme hardship to a relative U.S. citizen spouse or U.S. citizen lawful permanent resident or parent.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 5:

Attorney, in regard to the I 601A you mentioned “extreme hardship,” what exactly does this term mean in U.S. immigration law?

Attorney Answers Question 5:

  • That is correct, Reyna. The applicant must demonstrate that being denied the entrance back into the United States will cause extreme hardship to their qualifying relative. Some of the areas of the qualifying relative’s life that might be relevant in support of an I-601 or I-601A, Application for Waiver to overcome unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility are:
    1. Education: Disruption of current academic programs or loss of opportunity for higher education due to lower quality education in home country;
    2. Personal considerations: Such as separation for close relatives in the United States
    3. Financial considerations: Cost of caring for family members or loss of job
    4. Health of the qualifying relative: Ongoing medical treatments in the United states
    5. Special Considerations: fears of persecution or cultural differences in home country
  • Keep in mind that the U.S. citizen relative must prove that they will suffer extreme financial hardship if their immigrant relative is not allowed back into the country. The hardship must be more than the mere normal and expected financial difficulty derived from lack of the undocumented immigrants earned income, family relations or household support. The hardship that might be experienced by the undocumented immigrant or their children are not factors that the adjudicators typically would consider when evaluating waiver cases.  Even when a qualifying relative meets the extreme hardship requirement, it simply means the adjudicator of the waiver application can exercise discretion and grant the waiver.  It is not mandatory that the waiver be granted even when extreme hardship is clearly shown.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • Attorney thank you for summarizing what term “extreme hardship” means in the unlawful presence waiver context. This is such an important fact and potential hurdle for all immigrants who must meet the extreme hardship requirement to overcome the unlawful presence ground of admissibility.

Question 6

Attorney, my final question regarding the unlawful presence waiver is this:   Is there a filing fee for Form 1 601 and Form I 601A?

Attorney Answers Question 6:

  • Yes Reyna, there is a USCIS filing fee for both of these forms.
  • As of March 11, 2021, the filing fee for the I 601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility is $930 and the filing fee for the I 601 A, Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver is $630.
  • USCIS filing fees are subject to change with little notice.

Reyna Munoz’s Concluding Remarks:

  • Attorney, thank you for the detailed information on both the Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, I 601 and the Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver, I 601A. Unlawful presence in the U.S. is a hurdle facing many immigrant families throughout Texas and the Southwest in general. This information may prevent them from spending their hard-earned money unwisely.  I mean, if they don’t have a qualifying relative in the U.S. for the unlawful presence waiver; that sounds like a big problem.  I mean that is a huge problem, Attorney!  Like you said, its like a big log or bolder stretching across the road blocking the path to a Green Card for people who have been here for a while undocumented.
  • Our listeners who want to hear more podcast like this one should subscribe to our Legal Thoughts Podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify or wherever they listen to their podcast for more taxation, litigation and immigration Legal Thoughts podcasts. Everybody take care!  Read our taxation, government contract litigation and immigration law firm’s blogs at www.cjacksonlaw.com.  Coleman Jackson, P.C., is located right here in Dallas, Texas at 6060 North Central Expressway, Suite 620 Dallas, Texas 75206.
  • English callers: 214-599-0431 | Spanish callers:  214-599-0432. Portuguese callers:  214-272-3100.

 Attorney’s Concluding Remarks:

THIS IS THE END OF “LEGAL THOUGHTS” FOR NOW

  • Thanks for giving us the opportunity to inform you about Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: Undocumented Immigrants and the I-601 and I-601A Unlawful Presence Waivers
  • Immigrants who have resided in the United States for more than 180 days continuously without lawful status has a major problem under current immigration law. They need a waiver or pardon for unlawful presence when they leave the U.S. in order to lawfully reenter the U.S.  That in a nutshell is what the I- 601 and I-601A waivers are designed to accomplish as far as unlawful presence is concerned.  This is the current state of immigration law in the United States as it pertains to undocumented immigrants and current waiver unlawful presence.
  • If you want to see or hear more taxation, government contract litigation and immigration LEGAL THOUGHTS from Coleman Jackson, P.C. Stay tuned! We are here in Dallas, Texas and want to inform, educate and encourage our communities on topics dealing with taxation, government contract litigation and immigration.  Until next time, take care.

Warning: Two things that all Immigrants and Their Sponsors Ought to Know

Potential USCIS Fee Increases are likely on the Horizons

USCIS Affidavit of Support Policy & Practice Changes may be coming

October 12, 2020
By:  Coleman Jackson, Attorney

Potential USCIS Fee Increases are likely on the Horizons

Potential USCIS Fee Increases are likely on the Horizons:

USCIS FILING FEES WERE SET TO INCREASE ON OCTOBER 2, 2020.  Judge Jeffrey White of the United States District Court in the Northern District of California temporarily blocked the USCIS scheduled fee increases from taking place nationwide on September 30, 2020. The fees were set to increase by up to 60% on some immigration petitions. All who think they might want to file immigration petitions and applications for family members or employees should consider acting at once because temporary injunctions by courts do not necessarily mean that the USCIS will not prevail in the end; and if so, the analysis of the fee increases below(for a select group of type of petitions) could be the potential USCIS fee increases scheduled below could be  required to file the following immigration petitions and applications:

Form Number Form Title

Current Fee

Potential New Fee
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative

$535

$560
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence

$1,140

$1,130*
I-864 Affidavit of Support

$0

$0
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization

 

$410

$550
I-131/I-131A Application for Travel Document

$575

$590
Biometrics Biometrics fee

$85

$85
I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (Paper Filing)

$455

$415
I-102 Application for Replacement/ Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure

$445

$485
I-129/129CW Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker

$460

$695
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé

$535

$510
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker

$700

$555
I-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the U.S. after Deportation or Removal  

$930

 

$1,050

I-360 Petition for Amerasian Widow(er) or Special Immigrant

$435

$1,130
I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur

$3,675

$4,010
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status

$370

$390
I-600/600a Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative/Application for Advance Petition Processing of Orphan Petition

$775

$805
I-800/800A Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative/ Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from Convention Country  

$775

 

$805

I-601 Application for Waiver of Ground of Excludability

$930

$1,010
I-601A Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver

$630

$960
I-690 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility

$715

$765
I-694 Notice of Appeal of Decision

$890

$715
I-698 Application to Adjust Status from Temporary to Permanent Resident (Under Section 254A of the INA)  

$1,670

 

$1,615

I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence

$595

$760
I-824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition

$465

$495
I-829

 

Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions

$3,750

$3,900
I-924 Application for Regional Center Designation Under the Immigrant Investor Program

$17,795

$17,795
I-924A Annual Certification of Regional Center

$3,035

$4,465
I-929 Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Non-immigrant

$230

$1,485
N-336 Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings

$700

$1,735
N-400 Application for Naturalization

$640

 

$1,160

 

N-470 Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalizing Purposes

$355

$1,585
N-565 Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Documents

$555

$535
N-600 Application for Certification of Citizenship/Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate under INA Section 322

$1,170

$1,00

* Biometric Fee is included in the I-485 application

 

USCIS Affidavit of Support Policy & Practice Changes may be Coming:

USCIS Affidavit of Support Policy & Practice Changes may be coming

DHS has also proposed a new rule regarding the Affidavit of Support Process. This update requires U.S. Citizen sponsors, nationals, or lawful permanent residents who sponsor an immigrant to provide credit reports and credit scores, certified copies of income tax returns for the last three years, and bank account information to effectively demonstrate they can maintain the required income.

Petitioning sponsors that have received public benefits within the last 26 months of submitting a Form I-864 must be backed by a joint sponsor who has received no such public benefits during that time.

Follow our law firm’s blogs and listen to our Legal Thoughts Podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify or where ever you listen to your podcast for updates concerning these topics and other taxation, litigation and immigration information you can use!

This law blog is written by the Taxation | Litigation | Immigration Law Firmof Coleman Jackson, P.C. for educational purposes; it does not create an attorney-client relationship between this law firm and its reader.  You should consult with legal counsel in your geographical area with respect to any legal issues impacting you, your family or business.

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Taxation, Litigation, Immigration Law Firm | English (214) 599-0431 | Spanish (214) 599-0432 | Portuguese (214) 272-3100