Interviewer: If someone had a prior deportation, they may still be able to qualify for a waiver?
Jeanne Morales: Correct, and this is where going to an experienced attorney that has a well-trained staff will get you the maximum exposure to the different types of waivers.
For instance, we’ve been talking about 601-type waivers, like the 601 or the 601a that are usually involved with family petitions and it involves hardship. I know because of my experience in Immigration that there are some crimes that somebody could have committed that you can’t waive.
But if that crime was committed before 1996 when the big change to the immigration laws was enacted in the United States, then there is a waiver from back prior to 1996 that is still in effect for people from that time period.
It’s all about having a complete file before you attempt to do something with Immigration, because if you just say, ‘I don’t need an attorney. I’m just going to print out the form on the internet and fill it out, save money,’ the vast majority of applications like that just end in disaster. I know this to be true because they come to me and they want me to undo the knots that they’ve created.
If You Have a Prior Criminal History or Other Disqualifying Factor, You Should Still Seek a Professional Consultation about Applying for a Waiver
Interviewer: Is there anything else in regards to waivers and hardships or hardship waivers that you’d like to mention?
Jeanne Morales: Even though I have these dire warnings, ‘Don’t do it on yourself, you need to know everything ahead of time and you need to know that you have a chance of success, don’t put in anything halfway,’ I think the other advice I would like to impart is this: Don’t let the fact that you know that you have something in your past stop you from at least inquiring about it.
What I mean is go talk to an experienced and knowledgeable immigration attorney and at least get have a consultation. There’s a lot of old law that’s still applicable even though it’s not current law.
It Is Important to Not Feel a Sense of Hopelessness about Your Situation—a Qualified Attorney Can Provide an Honest Assessment of Your Case
Don’t be discouraged because there may be a way of unraveling the knot you’ve created. Most of the time, I’m not dealing with 50-year-olds who just recently committed a crime. I’m dealing with 50-year-olds who when they were 17 did something stupid like steal a car and go for a joyride.
That’s what I’m talking about. They had never done anything or never sought this immigration benefit or something or didn’t want to naturalize, say they already are a permanent resident, because they just, ‘Well, back in the day I did this stupid thing and now I’m forever banned.’
A good attorney, a knowledgeable attorney, and a dedicated attorney will be able to find it if it exists, so it’s worth taking the time and spending the money to at least have your case evaluated. That’s what I want people to know about waivers.