The More Absurd Moments in the Life of a US Immigration Lawyer

This is reposted by permission from Braden Cancilla, Immigration Attorney of Pasadena. It presents in stark reality the absurdities in US immigration law. It was originally posted in a closed Facebook group.

Telling a Mexican LPR, who married his wife in Mexico, that there’s about a two year wait before she can immigrate to the US. Telling the same LPR that he can lose his LPR status, and the ability to immigrate his wife, if he stays outside of the US for too long to be with his wife.

Telling a 70-year-old adult US citizen that it’ll take about 24 years to immigrate her 75-year-old brother to the US from the Philippines.

Advising the adult son of an LPR parent that if he gets married to the mother of his three children he’ll lose his ability to immigrate through his LPR parent because he got married.

Advising an undocumented immigrant, who has been in the US for more than 6 months, that from an immigration standpoint, it may better for him to stay in the US rather than to leave the US.

Telling a US citizen that, due to the number of petitions involved, USCIS charges less for an LPR to immigrate his wife and three minor children to the US than it does for the US citizen to immigrate his wife and three minor children to the US.

Telling a US citizen that “K” nonimmigrant visas were created so that she could bring her non-citizen husband to the US faster than if she were to immigrate her husband through an immigrant visa but then telling the US citizen that, in practice, it takes about as long to get a “K” visa for her husband as it does to get him an immigrant visa.

Telling an LPR that you can’t tell him for sure if he’s removable for having been convicted of a “crime of moral turpitude” because the term “crime of moral turpitude” is not defined by statute or regulation and there have been no cases analyzing the specific code section under which the LPR was convicted. It’s also hard to believe that the INA sections that contain the term, “crime of moral turpitude” have not been found to be “void for vagueness” under the US constitution.

Breaking the news to an indigent, undocumented, illiterate, Guatemalan woman, who only speaks Mam, that she may have to represent herself in removal proceedings because she is not entitled to a free attorney.

Giving the news to an undocumented immigrant, who has three US citizen children and who is married to a US citizen, that he’s permanently barred from immigrating through his US citizen family members because he was unlawfully present in the US for more than one year, left the US to be with his dying mother, and then returned to the US without authorization to be with his wife and kids.

Trying to explain to a man who fears being murdered by a criminal gang in El Salvador that US immigration judges, who have deported thousands of Salvadoran gang members to El Salvador, are reluctant to give asylum to Salvadoran victims of gang persecution because to do so would be to implicitly admit that the immigration judges have exacerbated the gang problem in El Salvador that caused the man to flee.

Having what seems like millions of non-attorneys illegally practicing immigration law and having the various State Bars do almost nothing to assist their dues paying immigration attorneys to defend against this onslaught and the devaluation of their licenses. Don’t even get me started regarding the gross harm that is done to non-citizens who receive inaccurate legal advice from non-attorneys.

Explaining to a man, who was tortured abroad in a military torture chamber, that due to US foreign policy concerns, it will be hard for him to get asylum in the US on the basis of the torture because the US government funds the foreign military and to grant asylum relief would require the US to implicitly admit its involvement in the torture.

Having a non-citizen flee a foreign country’s “Kangaroo” courts and unfair legal system only to be ordered deported from the US without first speaking to an attorney or seeing a judge.

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