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Three and Ten Year Ban (and parole?)

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  • #16
    Mischa: I could not have said it any better. Folks, read and reread what she wrote. It is on the money. If someone has come to the US on a tourist visa (or the waiver program) and decides to get married to an Amcit, there are plenty of legitimate ways to change status or return to country x, y or z and do the immigrant visa there without having to overstay, work illegally or anything else.
    For those who are the beneficiaries of a petition from an LPR or brother/sister of an American, yes, it is true you have a long wait ahead of you. That fact is NOT justification for breaking our laws. Someday Congress may decide to add more visa numbers; but until they do, the current laws are what we have. Disobey them, face the consequences, stop whining.


    • #17
      Juju, thanks for raising this topic. It is of keen interest to me, as my husband is facing a 10-year bar to reentry because he overstayed a tourist visa by more than one year. Did my husband knowingly violate the US immigration laws? Yes. Did my husband have a choice? I suppose he did. He could choose between remaining in the United States where he was able to find work that allowed him to support himself and spending every dime he had managed to save to return to a life of poverty in a repressive country.

      My husband knew that his choice to remain in the United States meant that he would have to work long hours for minimum wage, that he would constantly have to look over his shoulder, and that he would be someone who had no status. What would happen if he became seriously ill or severely injured? He knew that it meant a long, possibly permanent, separation from his family. If someone chooses to live like this, what must life be like in his or her home country? To whoever thinks that being faced with this choice is baloney, I hope you are never in this position.

      I can't imagine being faced with such a choice and because I have lived my entire life in the United States I've never been faced with such a choice until now. Because I chose to marry my husband, I am now faced with a similar (but not the same) choice: If he is denied a waiver, do I stay or do I go?

      All choices have consequences; some have penalties. My husband chose to violate the US immigration laws, and I chose to marry him. Now together we face the consequences of our choices--not being able to live together in the United States for at least 10 years.

      I agree that visa violators should be penalized; they have violated the law; whether they of the law and it's penalties is not the issue. Should the penalty be harsh, as someone suggested earlier? I'm not so certain about that, and the fact that a waiver is available makes me think that Congress believed that, under certain circumstances, a three- or 10-year bar is too harsh.

      If the goal of the three- and 10-year bars is to deter visa overstays, I don't think it works. If anyone has any statics on overstays prior to 1997 and after, I'd love to see them. If the goal is to punish those who overstay; it does punish those who return to their home countries but desire to return to the United States for one reason or another.

      In the end, I agree that the bars are harsh, but I'm not sure if the bars are fair penalties for the transgression of overstaying a visa. Admittedly my personal experience makes me somewhat bias.

      To everyone trying to reunite with a barred loved one, I understand your pain and frustration. Good luck.


      • #18
        to KBB: Your husband likely made representations to the embassy that he would abide by our laws and they gave him a privilege. He likely told them he was going to stay a month or so, not a year or so. He told them he was not going to work. Undoubtedly the embassy knew the conditions of the country he is from and whether or not the situation is as bad as you suggested, yet they gave him the privilege and trust anyway. And how was this trust repaid?
        If he had bought a round trip airline ticket, what happened on the day he was supposed to go back? What stopped him? And if his goal was to find illegal work, etc, then perhaps he did not tell the truth when he applied for his visa. What happened to his job, for example, in his home country (if he had one)?

        The point of all of this is that he was given a chance to demonstrate his willingness to obey US law and, well, he didn't. And now he wants to be given a reward. What does this say to those who obey our laws and patiently wait their turn? How must they feel?
        He could have established a relationship with you, returned to his country when he was supposed to and waited while you filed a petition for him (fiancee or spouse). Then he would not be facing difficulties nor would you. True, he would have to return to a country where things were apparently not so good. But that was the promise he made when he was given the tourist visa.

        Are the 3/10yr bars too harsh? Well, what is wrong with telling the truth and doing what you say, and if you don't, then what should the penalty be? If a person's word has no value, then how should visas be given out? If embassies deny visas to some, what happens? People from the US are unhappy. They cannot understand the decision. But not everyone qualifies and not every country has the waiver program.

        I was reading an article a couple of weeks ago about some Romanian orphans that did not get visas to visit the US. Why? Apparently the embassy did not think that some or all of them would go back to Romania. And a lot of people apparently thought the embassy employees were the bad guys. But from what I read, the embassy was FOLLOWING THE LAW. They made their decision based on the law and their view that they did not believe that those kids would return to Romania after being a tourist. Everyone of those kids had to prove , somehow, that they would return to what was described as a rather unpleasant environment (the orphanages) instead of staying in the US. They could not and they did not get to go. But I do not believe that the embassy employees were at fault. I am sure others would agree or disagree. So be it. Would some or all of them return? Who can say? The point was that they could not qualify and missed a summer camp or something. Was that cruel? Well, the law says everyone who asks for a tourist visa is presumed to be an intending immigrant until they convince the embassy otherwise. Sounds like it requires a lot of trust on behalf of the embassy.The law apparently does not say that a person should automatically get a tourist visa if they are going to summer camp or if they plan on working illegally later. I read later that it turned there was no summer camp; the orphans were going to be "auditioned" or something so American families could adopt them. It turned out that the organizers did not tell the truth to the embassy and got caught. So the embassy was right after all even though they were given bad press initially.

        I would not be surprised when the embassy in your husband's country finds out about people who have abused the visas that they look at applications more closely. Probably that will mean fewer and fewer visas given out. And the people who hear the words "no visa" who are from your husband's country, whom should they thank for the extra scrutiny?


        • #19
          Thank you for sharing. It is a very hard choice to make - leave your life and everything here, or break your vow to your spouse. How sad. People who sell crack, rape women, or molest children get less of a sentence than those only trying to make a better life for themselves and their families. I don't think that most of the immigrants who come or stay here illegally have any malicous intent to cause harm to the US or its government. I truly believe, no, I KNOW, that many of these people who come here from third-world countries don't know about this harsh sentence. Most don't have the means to stay abreast of what the Congress in the US does.

          I'm not saying that people should be able to break the law and get off scott-free. I can see three years, or even five years. Wouldn't that be enough? I am a public school teacher about to go back for my masters to become a principal. I have two children here. My parents are aging, and I am all they have. If I had known about these unreasonable laws, I would have sent him home earlier. None of us knew. Not an excuse, I know, but the hardship it is causing and will cause is unbearable. Who is it helping to tear my husband away from me? My family? Hardly. It is very hard for them to see me in such pain and not be able to help. My students? Ofcourse not. The quality of my teaching and planning has dropped significantly since all this came about. The eneergy, vigor, and patience needed to keep these children interested and on track is very hard to muster. The hours and hours I would have spent planning for them, I have spent researching immigration law. They certainly will not benefit if I leave the country! How can I help my community from Kuwait?? OK. So I'll help the kids in Kuwait if the US doesn't want me. How does that help our country?

          Best wishes to all who are having their hearts torn out. Pray for compassion.

          Who can afford cable? Certainly not me. I'm just a lowly public servant, with a huge college loan debt. You are more fortunate than most.


          • #20
            although i did not overstay long enough to qualify for the 3/10 year ban, i still overstayed and was refused entry into the states, im married to a USC and we were returning from our honeymoon when it happenned, i had applied for an extension on my waiver before i married my husband but the INS claimed they 'lost it', resulting in my overstay, it has caused my family a huge amount of pain and stress, i can understand how these familys feel, i also understand about the law, although the INS officer at the POE said it was only paper law, whatever that was supposed to mean, but still i broke the law and i as well as many others are paying dearly for it. I do think 10 years is a little harsh, and i hope someday someone will look into it and wonder how they would feel being seperated from their familys.. good luck to you all


            • #21
              To Guest:
              As I said in my previous post, my husband knew of the penalties for overstaying his visa, and he overstayed anyway. However, he is not seeking a reward for having overstayed his visa in violation of US law. Under the law, my husband is entitled to have the 10-year bar to admission waived if I, his US citizen spouse, can show that this bar will cause me extreme hardship.

              I shared my husband's story because I thought it would be beneficial to a discussion of the overstay penalties to know why some people overstay, not to excuse what he did. It's easy to say what some third party could have or should have done at a given time (for example, without knowing when, where, or how we met, you said that my husband could have established a relationship with me, returned to his country when he was supposed to, and waited while I petitioned for him). When you're the one making the decision, you learn that it's not always that simple.


              • #22
                I think a lot of you ppl are right but why is it that i was ready somevery negitive things from other ppl blaming some for overstaying there visa..welll no one is perfict...A us citizen has the right to be with there spouse in my opion. There are alot of good ppl that overstay there visa's i don't feel we should ban them from our country for three or ten years. we are all human pron to error. I think this law is very unfair alot of ppl do not know it is even there unless they do alot of reserch.


                • #23
                  No more!
                  The crap rolls out your mouth again
                  Haven't changed, your brain is still gelatin
                  Little whispers circle around your head
                  Why don't you worry about yourself instead

                  Who are you? where ya been? where ya from?
                  Gossip is burning on the tip of your tongue
                  You lie so much you believe yourself
                  Judge not lest ye be judged yourself

                  Before you judge me take a look at you
                  Can't you find somethig better to do
                  Point the finger, slow to understand
                  Arrogance and ignorance go hand in hand

                  It's not who you are it's who you know
                  Others lives are the basis of your own
                  Burn your bridges build them back with wealth
                  Judge not lest ye be judged yourself

                  Holier than thou
                  You are
                  Holier than thou
                  You are

                  You know NOT!


                  • #24
                    To Spicysweet: Overstaying is not an "error." A person is not likely to "forget" to return when they are supposed to; that decision is a concious one.

                    To KBB: Perhaps I should have used the phrase "...might have developed a relationship..."; I was speaking hypothetically about your situation, not from a position of absolute knowledge.
                    The point of it all is your husband now wants to obey a different rule or law; that of possibly receiving a waiver. This one he is all for obeying whereas the others he was not. This sounds like selective compliance; that is not what a tourist visa is for -- to pick and choose the laws or rules one wants to obey or not.
                    I have heard that this sort of thing only complicates matters in a particular country for those other people seeking a visa.
                    Another thing I have heard is something like this: suppose your husband does get his waiver and a green card, and then someday wants to invite his parents or siblings over for a visit...and the embassy will have long ago figured out that your husband did not return when he was supposed to and may assume that he is trying to bring the rest of the family over and away from a bad situation...what is going to happen if their visas are denied? Is your husband going to write a letter saying "Gee, I promise they will obey the rules..."...where is his credibility?
                    From what I have heard, the cumulative effect of people overstaying, working illegally, etc on tourist visas just makes things worse for the fellow countrymen (and women) of the particular country he/she is from. But does the overstayer/illegal worker care? I wonder.

                    I am not saying that I have all the answers; I do not. But I do wonder why people who don't tell the truth and don't do what they say and break our laws expect to be given special benefits. It only rewards behavior that would be unacceptable in many parts of our society.

                    If one lied in a court of law and was discovered, imagine the penalty. If you told your boss you were going to do something and didn't, what might be the repercussions? If you went to a foreign country and broke their laws, what do you think might happen to you? Do you think that a foreign country would give you a big prize for doing so? Would you expect a foreign country to do so?

                    From much of what I have read on this discussion board, it seems like a lot of people think that visas and rules are just some kind of game and are not to be taken seriously. What a sad commentary that is.


                    • #25
                      I have no axe to grind with anyone of you. I just don't have respect for people who think that they should be given exemptions when they themselves put their self in a 'bad' BUT avoidable situation.

                      juju, The local news took the law on the 3/10 ban seriously because of the considerable number of immigrants in this country. As I said, even the embassies where notified. INS has a website, it has the laws, forms and most everything else. Law websites probably raised red flags all over the place. You're on the discussion group, have internet acces, need I say more? And to answer your question about cable, I don't have one, I used the internet to read about it, even the CNN ones. I am a voracious reader, it's scary.

                      Families of people I know cannot come here because the US consulate is so strict they just refuse to go through the hassle of applying for a tourist visa. Why? oh, because of the ones they did grant visas, the people overstayed and are hiding somewhere over the rainbow, so to speak.

                      Lucky? me? yes, I'm lucky I have legal status, but it's because I spent a considerable amount of effort to avoid breaking any laws. And mind you, it did not take one day or a week, it took me months to plan out what I need to do for my future.

                      Put it this way, I'm not going to London and drive on the right side of the road, EVER!

                      I'm signing out for good.

                      Juju I wish you would see how unfair life is, but it's because people mess with it.

                      Guest, thanks for seeing my side. Good luck to you as well.

                      To the ones who are waiting for their loved ones to come over here, good luck!



                      • #26
                        I think this law could be repealed, or modified, with a serious and organized graa-roots campaign. Even the lawmakers believe that it is unduly harsh. Many people deserve a second chance. Whoever doesn't agree with me, that's up to you. But I am speaking to the ones who do. We must raise our voices to be heard.
                        Bringing back 245i would not help the people already forced out and their USC spouses and children. What about them?


                        • #27
                          maybe you think we should repeal those laws that say it is a crime to use a fake passport? maybe you think we should repeal all laws altogether? so you are saying that we should have a rule that if a person uses a fake passport and overstays a fake visa, why, we should make that person a US citizen immediately? Why punish crimes when we can reward them? What a concept.


                          • #28
                            TO guest


                            • #29
                              Tell me where "Arab" is and I'll think about it.


                              • #30
                                I guess I disagree, atleast partially, with every poster in this thread so far.

                                I believe that any law which defies reality is completely effete and should not be followed. The 3/10 year bar is one of those laws. To obey a law against reality is immoral. Those who advocate that one should obey all laws, regardless of whether the laws are grounded in reality and common sense (eg the laws against murder, theft, etc) or whether the laws are completely irrational (eg antitrust law, most of immigration law, etc) are not just wrong, they are advocating immorality.

                                I salute those who overstay their visas in defiance of the 3/10 year bar, and salute even more those who enter without inspection. America needs immigrants who are willing to take risks to stay here. Those who are willing to obey laws blindly just because some fools in Congress voted some garbage into law should be deported. And so should every US born citizen who supports such crazy laws.

                                I guess my position above is a little extreme, but that is necessary to make my main point - just because some nonsense acquires the title of "law" when a bunch of buffoons in Congress vote for it, does not make it right to follow that "law" nor to support that "law". The only moral course is to oppose such "law".


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