Immigration Laws and Regulations are complicated.  The obstacles to coming to the U.S. and obtaining a legal status are many.  Some people get entangled in lies and deceptions trying to overcome these obstacles.  One of the most common deceptions is committed by people who, having been denied a visitor's visa (B-1/B-2), still try to come to the U.S. by using an "assumed name", or another person's passport, or a fake visa, or another ploy to enter the U.S.  These efforts make them guilty of "visa fraud" or "misrepresentation".  (Interestingly, a person who just sneaks across the border, over or under the fence, from Mexico or Canada is not guilty of these immigration violations because he or she did not lie to a government official on the way in.  But such "entrants" have other problems). 

A person who committed visa fraud or misrepresentation is "inadmissible" to the U.S.  This person would be denied an Immigrant Visa or a Green Card even if he or she is eligible through an employer's petition or a family petition.  Even if he or she is married to an American Citizen and they have American Citizen children.  This is how the Immigration System punishes those who obtain entry by deception.

However, the Congress of the U.S. when enacting this harsh punishment, left open a very narrow door for the exercise of compassion: Some of these inadmissible people could be eligible for a "waiver", a forgiveness of their offense of lying.  If the applicant is married to an American Citizen or to a Green Card holder, or if the applicant has a parent who is an American Citizen or a Green Card hold, and if the applicant can show that one such relative would suffer "extreme hardship" if the applicant is denied an immigrant visa or a Green Card - then a waiver may be granted and an immigrant visa or a Green Card issued.  This is called a "212(i) wavier" (as per the applicable section of the law), or a "601 waiver" (as per the form number used for the waiver application).

Eligibility for this waiver is based only on a spouse of the applicant or a parent of the applicant.  Not on children, whether minor or adults.  If the applicant has a U.S. citizen or immigrant spouse or parent - then it is necessary to convince the U.S. Government that this relative - spouse or parent - would suffer "extreme hardship" in case of a denial.

"Extreme Hardship" is like "Beauty" - it is " in the eye of the beholder".  Only the Immigration Service decides whether the troubles, the problems, the miseries, the anguish of the U.S. spouse or parent are so big and terrible that they qualify to be recognized as "extreme hardship".  In most cases, the Immigration Service would accept only severe medical problems as rising to the level of "extreme hardship", but "medical" is not limited to physical problems.  Medical could also be mental or emotional problems.  (Medical problems of U.S. citizen children could be considered if they cause "extreme hardship" to the U.S. citizen spouse of the applicant).  In addition to the showing of extreme hardship to a spouse or a parent it is necessary to show that the suffering spouse or parent would not be able to relieve his or her extreme hardships or reduce the level of hardship from "extreme" to "normal", by leaving the U.S. and going to live with the inadmissible applicant in his or her foreign country.

The extreme negative attitude of the Immigration Service to fraud waivers means that preparing the I-601 application is a very serious task: The experienced Immigration lawyer would analyze every type of hardship the parent or spouse might suffer, examine the combined effect of the different hardships (if there is more than one), review the documents that are available as proof of hardship of any kind (medical, physical, emotional, financial, political, etc.), and recommend what additional documents are still required and who are the experts or professionals who could provide supporting opinions, and also estimate how much would all this cost, etc. etc.



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