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Thread: Question on B-1/B-2 situation

  1. #1
    I'm a US citizen, dating a girl from Venezuela who recently came to visit and had issues with US Customs/Immigration (a 4-hour detention in Houston).

    She has a 10-year multiple-entry tourist visa, so my plan was for her to come and visit me for a bit in October (starting 10/5), vacation to Spain for 2 weeks, and then for her to return and take a part-time intensive English class. Marriage is a potential in the future, but not something I plan to jump into.

    All of this is within the letter of the law (English class is less than 18 hours/week - this is acceptable on a B-1/B-2 Visa). She has been in/out of the US 5x in the past 2 years, but several years ago she stayed in Miami for ~1 year on a different tourist visa (applied for an received an extension). The officers in Houston detained her for 4 hours and told her they knew she worked illegally in Miami and they wanted her to sign a document where she worked or they'd send her to jail for 5 years. I don't know the penalties for working illegally, but I suspect it is deportation not incarceration. She denied them repeatedly, and at the end she was given 2 weeks (until 10/19/2006) on her I-94 with no AOS/COS/EOS hand-written in her passport/I-94. All this despite having a valid ticket paid for that leaves for Spain on 10/23.

    She has never overstayed her time here before, but neither of us have the $$ to buy a new return ticket to Venezuela in the next 10 days. It's like they want to force her to be here illegally!

    Is it possible to appeal something like this, or just leave the US 4 days later and return and hope for a better I-94 time alloted? Or now that she has been detained at Houston and questioned like this, is there a black spot on her record that will have them revoke her tourist visa the next time she enters/exits the US?

    As a US citizen, I'm very disappointed by our currenty system that essentially tries to force you to marry someone - what normal people want to marry someone immediately after they've just met? I'm trying to be 'normal' here, but find myself severely constrained by the system.

  2. #2
    I'm a US citizen, dating a girl from Venezuela who recently came to visit and had issues with US Customs/Immigration (a 4-hour detention in Houston).

    She has a 10-year multiple-entry tourist visa, so my plan was for her to come and visit me for a bit in October (starting 10/5), vacation to Spain for 2 weeks, and then for her to return and take a part-time intensive English class. Marriage is a potential in the future, but not something I plan to jump into.

    All of this is within the letter of the law (English class is less than 18 hours/week - this is acceptable on a B-1/B-2 Visa). She has been in/out of the US 5x in the past 2 years, but several years ago she stayed in Miami for ~1 year on a different tourist visa (applied for an received an extension). The officers in Houston detained her for 4 hours and told her they knew she worked illegally in Miami and they wanted her to sign a document where she worked or they'd send her to jail for 5 years. I don't know the penalties for working illegally, but I suspect it is deportation not incarceration. She denied them repeatedly, and at the end she was given 2 weeks (until 10/19/2006) on her I-94 with no AOS/COS/EOS hand-written in her passport/I-94. All this despite having a valid ticket paid for that leaves for Spain on 10/23.

    She has never overstayed her time here before, but neither of us have the $$ to buy a new return ticket to Venezuela in the next 10 days. It's like they want to force her to be here illegally!

    Is it possible to appeal something like this, or just leave the US 4 days later and return and hope for a better I-94 time alloted? Or now that she has been detained at Houston and questioned like this, is there a black spot on her record that will have them revoke her tourist visa the next time she enters/exits the US?

    As a US citizen, I'm very disappointed by our currenty system that essentially tries to force you to marry someone - what normal people want to marry someone immediately after they've just met? I'm trying to be 'normal' here, but find myself severely constrained by the system.

  3. #3
    Since you don't have a lot of time left to take action, you should consult with an attorney as quickly as possible. You need to understand what happened and the real situation she's in now, ignore the myths and other talk you'll hear because USCIS and CBP may only act within the law.

    With regards to the "No AOS/COS" notation, where is it written in her passport? Where is it written in her I-94? These notations are informal and not binding upon CIS, but they may influence their decision. They do not mean you're forbidden from applying for an extension of stay, they only mean that some additional questioning may be in order before adjudicating the case.

    Another thing you need to remember is that the CBP cannot just throw you in jail on criminal charges for 5 years, all aliens, even those arriving at the port of entry and applying for admission are entitled to due process. The "entry fiction" only applies to immigration matters and NOT to criminal cases. Violations related to visa fraud are chargeable under title 18, they are criminal cases and the alien is entitled to due process. Further, CIS would then have the burden of proving the alien worked without authorization in order to support a finding of guilt for visa fraud.

    The fact of the matter is that she was admitted. Period. Had she been inadmissible the case would have been processed through expedited removal; she was not found inadmissible because she was admitted. True enough she may find it really difficult to enter the U.S. again and if she has business here that require her presence in the immediate future then an extension of status is the way to go, but again, she was admitted and NOT found to be inadmissible to the country.

    You should contact with an attorney as quickly as possible, and make sure you don't listen to myths and other scare tactics.

    -THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE-

  4. #4
    Thanks for the quick & detailed response. I have already contacted an immigration lawyer and provided him with the background on the situation. He's doing some research and getting back to me, but due to the time-sensitive nature (and just general curiosity) I'm trying to understand the situation as best I can.

    The 'No AOS/COS' is hand-written on the I-94 and hand-written in her passport. She has the original entry stamp of 6 months (given by the initial immigration passport/visa inspection officer) with a 'X' written over it.

    My opinion on the subject is that CBP/CIS suspected her of working in Miami on a tourist visa - and they're probably right(hard to explain why you spent 1 year in the US on a tourist visa), but I don't think they can prove it which is why she was grilled to sign a piece of paper indicating where she worked during her time there. She never signed, so in the end she was admitted - but for only 2 weeks.

    So I see my options as either going to Mexico for a weekend (and then trying our luck with a different CIS officer) on the return, or filing for an extension and then simply leaving for Madrid. There is no way that CIS would reach a verdict before 10/23.

    So another general question - if I a US citizen am traveling with a non-US citizen, can I use the 'non-US citizen' queue at the airport with her? If the decide to detain/question her again, do I have any right to remain alongside her?

  5. #5
    You have to look at it from the CBP point of view. She is considered an immigrant, a person who's coming to the U.S. to live and work, until she proves the CBP wrong and makes it clear that she is a non-immigrant. If the CBP is not convinced, the CBP MUST deny the admission and process the case for removal or deferred inspection. The fact that she was admitted is evidence that she established non-immigrant intent to the satisfaction of the CBP but the CPB decided that 2 weeks was a sufficient length of stay. Being admitted, specially after such detailed questioning, is evidence that she actually was able to make her case.

    I wouldn't try to leave and come back again, that could trigger more problems. If she must remain in the U.S. to take care of some pending business then apply for an EOS. Generally, she'll be allowed to remain in the U.S. while her EOS is being processed. This is a risky proposition, she could be placed in proceedings if the EOS is not granted. If she doesn't have any extremely important business to take care of while in the U.S. then she should leave and apply for a K-1 visa if you're serious about a relationship with her.

    The notations on the I-94 (I assume they're located right under the admission stamp) and passport are NOT BINDING upon USCIS when it comes to adjudicating an EOS, but CIS will take them into consideration. The issue is misrepresentation. EOS's are usually adjudicated without a problem but for the 30/60 rule. This is strange because 30/60 is nothing but a procedural rule, it's not law but a DOS guideline used to determine when an advisory opinion is required related to misrepresentations.

    Complicated enough? This is why you need qualified legal representation for your friend.
    Is it possible? Yes. Is it simple? Maybe, maybe not, that's why you need a lawyer!

    -THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE-

  6. #6
    Someone12
    Guest
    Even though you are an American citizen, you cannot accompany someone in the 'non USC' line....in fact, should you try this, she will likely be denied admissione even faster. You do not control who enters the US and for how long....that is up to the border folks, nor can some greedy immigration attorney exert any authority over the border folks, no matter what this charlatan may tell you.

  7. #7
    At this point the OP has a choice, he can listen to myths or seek legal advice. It's up to the OP.
    True, the CBP "controls" who enters (I'd say the law controls who enters and the CBP applies the law). But it's USCIS who decides who may adjust and extend, not the CBP. The CBP notation is not binding upon USCIS for adjudication purposes but may trigger additional questioning. Nothing more and nothing less.
    So again, the OP should stop listening to myths and seek legal advice.
    -THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE-

  8. #8
    I did seek legal advice, but my immigration lawyer (I found a local one) did not provide much more detail than what I could find on google. If anyone can recommend me a better one - even for a phone consultation I'll gladly pay it if I can learn something that I can't look up on google.

    It amazes me how much trolling by right-wing anti-immigration nuts this site gets. I've never attempted to go into the non-USC line, but I don't see it being a big problem - when the queues on the USC side get bigger than the non-USC side, I've been sent there before.

    That being said - my situation currently stands as follows. Legal advice was for girlfriend to leave for Venezuela by 10-19-2006 (date on I-94). Since we have a trip planned for Spain anyway, I was thinking she could just fly there a few days early (thus never going out of status), but then I have no idea what to expect when we return to the US and have to deal with CBP. The officer in Houston told her that "from now on you're going to have problems when you arrive", but didn't specify anything in detail. Do they place the results of their investigation in her 'file'? Is she 'flagged' in some way? I'm willing to pay a lawyer for definitive answers on this subject.

    At this point my plan is to attempt to reason with the CBP officer. As the boyfriend, I am the 'intent to immigrate', but we've had multiple opportunities to do so and chosen not to. My reasons are valid & legal, and I hope that I can disprove her immigration intent to the CBP officer. I would simply like to spend 3-6 months living with her, while she takes a part-time English class to see if it is worth pursuing marriage - upon which point I'd use the proper methods (K-1) to marry her. The system doesn't really provide you with any alternatives - who wants to marry someone they just met?!?!

    Any advice on what we could expect from the CBP officer, or a lawyer that I can get GOOD legal advice from on this matter would be appreciated!

  9. #9
    Someone12
    Guest
    it is amazing how anyone who disagrees with someone about illegal immigration is a 'right wing nut'...as opposed to these illegal alien supporters who are thinking with their tiny d i c k instead of their tiny brains.
    You, Mr.Bigshot, will not be able to "convince" a CPB officer that she will return to Venezuela...you are not part of the equation. You have NO legal authority over here,nor anyone else. You have already admitted that she will be staying, allegedly studying English, in order to circumvent the K1 visa process....it could not be more obvious, and all your whining to some CPB officer (from a long distance!) won't change those facts. It is tiresome listening to self styled clowns like you who think that they can decide who enters the US and who can't....if that were true, you would be a CPB officer.

  10. #10
    ...just a thought, but if you want to get to know each other, why don't you go to live in Venezuela for a few months? I'm sure (tongue firmly in cheek) that their immigration system will be totally accommodating...after all, she is a Venezuelan citizen.

    Perhaps it would also have helped if her crazy, left-wing, off-the-wall president hadn't been shouting his mouth off in New York City recently.

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