Sun | Sep 19, 2021

Immigration Corner | Can my brothers return to the US?

Published:Tuesday | July 27, 2021 | 12:05 AM
Dahlia Walker Huntington
Dahlia Walker Huntington

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

I have read many of your questions and answers on immigration matters in The Gleaner. I have contemplated over and over again if I should write to you with my immigration questions. I don’t know where to turn, as I called my local representative, and no one has called me back.

I have two brothers who migrated to the United States (US) in the early 1990s. They were young and I was very protective of them. However, something happened and one of my brothers went back home to Jamaica on his own and never returned to the US for over 20 years. The other brother was deported and was allowed to come back after 10 years, but they both established a life in Jamaica, have their families, and have successfully started businesses.

My brothers would now like to migrate or travel back to the US. I am stuck, as I do not know what to do to help them. I would like to know what form of information I can get to help them. Is there any advice you can give me? My questions have fallen on deaf ears with our Congress representative.

– C.M.

Dear CM,

You did not indicate if your brothers were permanent residents while in the United States, but I will discuss both scenarios.

As a permanent resident/green card holder, if you remain outside the United States for a year or more, you are considered to have abandoned your residency. Some green card holders, after living in America, travel to their home country for a brief visit and due to unforeseen circumstances, stay much longer than they intended and beyond one year. In that case, they are required to apply to go back to the United States as returning residents. During that application, they would have to prove their prior residence in the United States and the reason for their stay outside the country for more than a year. This is a high standard to meet.

If your brother who left on his own accord was present in the United States without permission, he would have difficulties obtaining a non-immigrant visa, and depending on how long he has been outside of the US, he may or may not have an issue with an immigrant visa.

Your brother who was deported – regardless of whether he was a green card holder or was present without permission in the United States – will remain inadmissible for the reason he was deported, even after 10 years expires. The question will become whether he would be eligible for a waiver of that inadmissibility after the 10-year bar.

You have several issues going on with both your brothers, and you should consult with an immigration lawyer before proceeding with any applications for your brothers’ return – as visitors or permanent residents. There is a possibility that one or both of your brothers may not be eligible to return to the United States, and there are many factors that would influence this possibility.

Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington, Esq, is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration law in the United States; and family, criminal and international law in Florida. She is a diversity and inclusion consultant, mediator and former special magistrate and hearing officer in Broward County, Florida.