Immigration laws in the United States are severe and challenging. It is not easy to obtain admittance to the country, and once you lose your immigration privileges, it is even more difficult to gain them back. You may understand that this is for the protection of the country and her citizens. However, having that understanding does not make it easier when you are at risk of separation from your family.
If you are in danger of removal from the U.S. for violating the immigration or criminal code of the country, you will likely also face an extended ban from re-entry. This may leave you with two options: taking your loved ones back to your home country with you or leaving them behind without you. When neither of these is possible, there may be a third option through applying for a hardship waiver.
A long separation from loved ones
Perhaps you entered the country without proper documentation, or your green card or visa expired a while back, and you never took steps to renew it or adjust your status. In order to begin the process of obtaining legal resident status, you must first return to your native country. However, the consequence of being in the U.S. without valid documentation for longer than one year is a 10-year ban from re-entry.
Ten years is a long time to be separated from any loved ones who may live here in New Jersey with you. You may be eligible for a hardship exemption, known as a 601 waiver, which would set aside the removal orders or re-entry ban against you. A hardship is more severe than the normal consequences of removal from the country, such as losing your job or separation from your family.
Applying for a waiver
To be considered for a hardship waiver, you must prove one or more of the following about your separation from your spouse or parents:
- Your relative cannot travel out of the U.S. with you because of serious medical issues.
- Your relative requires your assistance because of age or serious medical conditions.
- You are responsible for paying your relative's debts.
- Returning to your country would be dangerous because of war, famine or political unrest.
You may be eligible for a 601 waiver if your removal from the U.S. relates to certain criminal offenses, such as crimes of moral turpitude, political crimes, marijuana possession or some other non-violent crimes, including immigration fraud not related to marriage. You would do well to seek as much information about your options as quickly as possible if you face removal that includes a ban on re-entry.