In the Dark as to Why the Consular Officer Permanently Barred You from the United States for a Material Misrepresentation, Alien Smuggling or a Crime of Moral Turpitude? There is Hope.

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Sometimes, it doesn’t make sense.

When a potential client contacts us regarding a decision by a consular officer, we try to understand, first of all, why was the decision made?  What caused the consular officer to make the decision he or she did?  Often, we can understand the position of the consular officer; while we may not always agree with that position and in fact challenge the position, we at least can identify the problem.

But sometimes, we are confounded.  Take for example the situation of J. J contacted us after he had been turned around at the border by Customs and Border Protection. The CBP protocol memorializing J’s request to enter the US was clear: it said that J needed a different type of visa. He had previously been a student in the US, and he needed to obtain a visitor visa in order to return to the US as a visitor.  He then applied for a visa at the US Consulate, and was found to have made a material, willful misrepresentation.   Thus, he was permanently barred under Section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. After some time, he applied for a visa again – with the same result.

And so when J told us about his case, we were puzzled. After going through his visa history, his visa application form, and his history of entries to the United States, we could not understand where he had made a willful, material misrepresentation.  J is a serious, educated young man. He holds a professional position at a large company and lives comfortably in his home country. He has relatives in the US. This was not a person desperate to get to the US by hook or crook – only interested in visiting temporarily.

So we contacted the consulate that made the decision to try to learn what the problem was. We did not ask the consulate to overturn the decision because we did not know why the decision was made in the first place. We only wanted to understand what the problem was. At first, the consulate was uncooperative – telling J to reapply for a visa. But other than to fill the coffers of the US government, what sense would that make if the consulate recently found him inadmissible twice and did not provide any explanation to him? So we persisted.

Eventually, the persistence paid off. After receiving another inquiry from us, consular management decided to take a look at his case. And what it found was that there was no basis to make this draconian decision; there was no basis to find that J had made a willful, material misrepresentation. After reviewing and reopening the decision, the consulate did the right thing – it rescinded the original erroneous decision.

While this is a rarity, it does happen.  When there is a confluence of conscientious consular management who want to do the right thing and a mistaken decision, such a decision can be reviewed and overturned.  We have even seen such corrections after the lapse of many years.

If you are in the dark as to the basis for the decision to permanently bar you from the United States, please contact us so that we may discuss.