Permanent Resident Status Granted 20 Years After Entry As A Crewman

By: Brittany M. Milliasseau

Entering the U.S. with a crewman’s visa will often prevent a person from being granted adjustment of status. And when a person also has an outstanding order of deportation, the path to a green card is even more challenging. But it is not impossible!

Francisco had little hope of ever being able to resolve his immigration status.  He thought his situation was just too complicated.  He worried that after putting forward the time, effort, and money into fixing his immigration status, the chances of receiving a green card were far too slim. 

Francisco, whose name has been changed for confidentiality reasons, entered the U.S. in the late-1990s as a crewman.  Although he initially only planned to stay in the U.S. temporarily, he remained and found himself living in the U.S. without status.  Not long after, Francisco was introduced to a man who promised to help him legally obtain work authorization and a social security number.  Not knowing much about the U.S. immigration system, Francisco trusted this man and believed that it was only a matter of time before he would receive his work permit.  However, instead of receiving his work permit, Francisco received a letter from U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services requesting him to appear at a green card interview with his wife.  Francisco was confused because he had never applied for a green card and was not married!  Then, it hit him.  The man that he so trusted to help him do things the “right way” had defrauded him. 

Francisco later came to find out that this man had submitted a fraudulent marriage-based green card application on his behalf.  Without his knowledge or consent, the man forged Francisco’s signature and submitted false documents on his behalf.  Feeling ashamed, Francisco tried to put all of this behind him.

Just a few years later, the hope that Francisco had lost, was suddenly restored when he met the love of his life, Carmen.  Their life was full of beautiful moments like the birth of their children. However, their happiness was often overshadowed by the worries surrounding Francisco’s lack of immigration status.  With the desire to finally resolve his immigration status and make a better life for his family, Francisco consulted with Reeves Immigration Law Group (RILG). 

The attorneys at RILG explained to Francisco that his U.S. citizen wife could file a marriage-based petition on his behalf, but because he last entered the U.S. as a crewman, he would not be eligible to adjust his status in the U.S.  He would instead need to depart and apply for an immigrant visa at the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines.  And because he had more than one year of unlawful presence in the U.S., he would be subject to a ten-year bar to reentry upon his departure.  To overcome the reentry bar, Francisco was informed that he needed to file a provisional unlawful presence waiver application. 

Francisco was also informed that he had an additional hurdle to overcome.  Francisco had an order of removal from the U.S. due to his failure to attend an immigration court hearing years earlier.  All of this information was a lot for Francisco to process.  Not only did Francisco need the provisional waiver for his unlawful presence, he also needed to file another application because of the prior removal order.  But Francisco did not lose hope and decided to retain the services of RILG. 

Francisco and his wife worked closely with the team at RILG in preparing the necessary applications.  Their hard work paid off as all of the applications were approved.  Francisco was overjoyed, but the journey was not over yet, as Francisco still needed to attend his immigrant visa interview in his home country.  Apart from the anxiety surrounding returning to his home country after twenty years and being away from his family, Francisco’s anxiety was exacerbated as he knew that visa adjudication at the Embassy where he would apply had become increasingly difficult.  He was aware that denials were not uncommon and that many applicants were forced to remain separated from their families for years.  But Francisco pressed on in spite of his fears.  The team at RILG guided Francisco through the entire process and thoroughly prepared him for the visa interview.  The attorneys coached him on what type of questions he should expect, how to prepare his answers, and what documents would be necessary.

After twenty years in the U.S. without status, a deportation order, and being a victim of fraud, Francisco could hardly believe it when the consular officer told him, “Congratulations.”  Francisco is now safely back in the U.S. with his wife and children.  He is a lawful permanent resident and looks forward to providing the best life he can for his family.