Horacio Lopez Rebollar, an immigrant living in Kentucky, entered the US illegally (EWI) from Mexico as a teenager. He married two years ago and was then eligible to get his green card through marriage to his US citizen wife. But, because he crossed illegally, he had to return to Mexico in order to complete the green card process. Because he had spent several years in the United States without authorization, his visa would necessarily have been denied, but he would have been given the chance to submit a 601 hardship waiver package at a later waiver interview in Ciudad de Juarez (CDJ). 601 Waiver interviews at Juarez are now scheduled about two months from the visa interview date. Had the waiver been approved, he would have been able to return to the US almost immediately.

Horacio’s case took a tragic turn when he lied during his green card visa interview. When asked if he had any prior problems with the law, he answered no. However, he had several traffic violations that the officers discovered during his background check. His visa application was denied, and he had to start the process all over again. He is stuck in Mexico until his waiver is approved, which could take up to a year; his triplets were born in Kentucky in the meantime. In order to qualify for the 601 waiver, he will have to prove that his American citizen wife will suffer extreme hardship if he is not allowed to return, or if she is forced to move to Mexico. Although by no means a slam dunk, three infants with presumably precarious medical status will certain give him a good shot at waiver approval.

Rebollar claims that his immigration lawyer told him to lie about his criminal history. Any reputable immigration attorney, especially a 601 waiver attorney, will tell you that lying to a consular or USCIS official is a very bad idea. These government officials have virtually unlimited access to all information available about an applicant, and they have no qualms about using it to deny an application. If the information is discoverable, assume immigration officials will discover it. Had Rebollar simply admitted his criminal history, he would have been given leave to file a waiver for that as well, if it was severe enough to even require a waiver.

Rebollar’s wife now fears that he will EWI again by crossing the border illegally using a coyote. If he does this, he will be facing a permanent bar (“9C”) that will bar him from admission for life; a waiver for this bar is not available until he has lived outside the US for ten years. Once he has accumulated one year of unlawful presence, or been deported, he cannot EWI again without being subject to this dreaded permanent bar.