Under the Trump Administration, we have seen an increase of findings of inadmissibility for applicants attending consular interviews for their permanent residency abroad.
Two specific grounds of inadmissibility are popping up more frequently: alien smuggling and public charge. The Ciudad Juarez Consulate in particular has made many findings of inadmissibility based on these grounds.
Smuggling brings to mind images of human traffickers and those commonly referred to as "coyotes." However, alien smuggling is defined quite broadly under INA §212(a)(6)(E). Parents can smuggle in their own children. Smuggling can also include acts that take place away from the physical border, such as providing economic assistance used to help someone enter in violation of law, or providing transportation and a place to stay to a relative who recently crossed the border.
Public charge (INA §212(a)(4)(A) is the idea that an immigrant could become an economic burden to the United States. An applicant can typically overcome this ground of inadmissibility by having a qualified co-sponsor. A co-sponsor is an individual with status who can show they earn enough to support the immigrant if they should ever need public benefits. Under the Trump Administration, we have seen co-sponsors who are not blood relatives being scrutinized. We have also seen those who are unemployed or whose United State citizen children receive public benefits being questioned.
A finding of inadmissibility under one of the above grounds triggers the request for a waiver of inadmissibility. These waivers require qualified applicants to remain abroad for an extended period of time while the waiver is adjudicated-currently up to a year and a half.
In spite of these possible minefields at consular interviews, we regularly have clients successfully receive their immigrant visas abroad. We have helped clients avoid being separated from their loved ones by helping our clients be as prepared as possible prior to attending their interviews. For example, we have helped individuals show they are not likely to become a public charge through carefully compiling additional financial proof for their consular interviews.
For more information regarding consular processing, waivers of inadmissibility, or other immigration matters, please contact our family-based immigration team.