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From Fear to Freedom: Redeeming Your Immigrant Status if you have a removal order

Your past is not what defines your future.

Our client, a Mexican national, Ms. L, demonstrates that tenacity coupled with the right strategy can overcome even the greatest of challenges.

Ms. L lived in the United States without legal status for over 29 years, but in May 2024, she was granted lawful status by approval of Adjustment of Status under 245(I) with a Fraud Waiver.


The Past

Ms. L was only 20 years old when she decided to take her future into her own hands and set off to immigrate to the United States.

With no family in the U.S., her chances were slim. Her first attempt to cross the border without legal status in 1996 resulted in an apprehension at the border and an order of removal.

Still, she was determined, and upon her second attempt she was successful.

However, Ms. L lived in the shadows as an undocumented immigrant, fearful that her outstanding order of removal would lead to her deportation.


The Challenge

In 1999, Ms. L married her beloved U.S. citizen spouse, who petitioned for her while she filed for multiple adjustment of status applications through prior counsel.

She was denied. Multiple times, she was denied.

Seeking alternative options, Ms. L retained DeMine Immigration Law Firm in 2021 to assist her with her case.


The Strategy


Argument #1: Immigration judges had limited jurisdiction before IRAIRA in 1996, limiting consequences to Ms. L’s present case.

Upon investigation, our firm discovered that while Ms. L was ordered removed in 1996, this order of removal did not preclude her from applying for adjustment of status in the United States since the order was given before the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IRAIRA).

The IRAIRA resulted in many implications, including but not limited to:

Streamlined Deportation Procedures: Simplified the deportation process, making it easier to remove non-citizens with criminal records or those deemed inadmissible.

Increased Border Security: Provided for more border patrol agents and enhanced surveillance technology along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Limited Relief from Deportation: Restricted the ability to apply for relief from deportation, such as suspension of deportation or adjustment of status.

Increased Deportable Offenses: Expanded the list of crimes that could lead to deportation, including minor offenses.

We argued that immigration judges had limited jurisdiction before IRAIRA; therefore, the exclusion proceedings that Ms. L was a part of in 1996 had limited consequences to her present case.


Argument #2: Eligibility for Adjustment of Status under 245(I)

To qualify, we needed to demonstrate Ms. L was the beneficiary of an immigrant visa petition filed on or before April 30, 2001.

The petition that Ms. L’s spouse filed for her in 1999 qualified her for 245(I) benefits and therefore made her eligible for adjustment of status under 245(I) in the U.S.


Argument #3: Filing the I-601 Fraud Waiver

There was some indication of fraud or misrepresentation at the time of Ms. L’s entry into the U.S.

We anticipated that a fraud waiver would be necessary.

Filing the I-601 waiver along with Ms. L’s adjustment of status, we argued that over 15 years had passed since the alleged fraud or misrepresentation at the border in 1996.

With that amount of time having passed, the implied defenses were extensive:

Argument for Statute of Limitations

Demonstration of Good Moral Character

Hardship Considerations

Evidence of Rehabilitation

Policy and Discretionary Factors


The Present

Finally, after 29 years in the U.S., undergoing and overcoming multiple failed attempts at obtaining legal status, Ms. L was granted lawful permanent residency.

Ms. L is now a lawful permanent resident of the United States.

In 3 years, Ms. L will qualify to apply for her U.S. citizenship, free to live her life in the U.S. unafraid of deportation.


Ms. L's story reminds us of our mission as a firm. You shouldn’t have to live in fear of deportation when seeking a better life.

You've found your way to the United States, and we want to help you achieve your American dream.


Ready to take the next step?

Schedule a consultation with our experienced team and embark on your investor visa journey with confidence.