For the sake of my sons

Published: Tuesday | August 7, 2012 Comments 0
Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington
Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

I am deeply disturbed. My two sons, ages 16 and 15, were filed for by their mother and got their packages. They went to the United States (US), where they were issued temporary Green Cards. However, they never lived in the US beyond three weeks at a time. In 2007, their temporary Green Cards expired and they have never been back to the States since. Yet, recently, when I applied for a non-immigrant visa for the younger child, I was told that he could not be granted a visa at this time as they had both been deported from the US.

I was embarrassed by the consular officer who did the interview as she insisted that I was being untruthful. I felt disrespected and dehumanised by her actions as all my attempts to explain that I had no knowledge of my children being removed from any jurisdiction in the world failed. She insisted that I was aware of the situation. Both boys have always lived with me and even when their mother filed for them, she never allowed them to reside with her in the US.

This begs the following questions, with which I hope you can assist me: What can I do to get their names cleared? How can I get redress for the embarrassment I suffered at the embassy in Kingston, Jamaica, on the morning of that interview?

- H.C.

Dear H.C.,

If your sons received temporary Green Cards, it means that their mother's husband must have filed their petitions and that at the time of the issuance of the Green Cards, the mother had been married for less than two years. The Conditional Green Card (temporary) would have been valid for two years and requires that the holder of the Green Card file to remove the condition 90 days before the card expires.

On several fronts, your sons would have lost their residency. First, they were obviously outside of the US for a year or more, so they are deemed to have abandoned their residency. Second, if they failed to remove the condition on their residency and the Green Cards expired with them being outside of the US, they would not be able to return to the US without filing to remove the condition. Their mother should have filed to remove their conditions and it would be conditioned on the validity of her marriage to her husband, or if she was divorced at the time providing evidence to United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) that her marriage was valid at its inception and that it failed naturally.

From the tone of your email, I assume that you are not in contact with the mother. If you are, you should find out what the status of her Green Card is, and whether she was referred to an immigration judge. In addition, you can request a copy of your sons' immigration file by filing a Freedom of Information Act Request with USCIS, and that will tell you what happened in their case. If they were referred to immigration court and did not appear, the judge would have entered an 'In Abstentia Order of Removal'.

I can understand that you were embarrassed because the consular officer was accusing you of having knowledge of the immigration status of your son, and did not believe otherwise. However, it is natural that you should know the immigration status of your children and that it would be difficult for the consular officer to believe otherwise. Nevertheless, if you feel that you were treated with severe disrespect, you should write a letter of complaint to the chief of the non-immigrant visa section at the embassy of the United States of America in Kingston giving the date of your visit, the name of the consular officer, or the window number at which you were seen, and a brief description of your concern. There is no guarantee that your letter will receive a response, but it should be received by the appropriate person.

Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration law in the United States; and family, criminal and personal injury law in Florida. She is a mediator, arbitrator and special magistrate in Broward County, Florida. info@walkerhuntington.com.

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