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Helping a client get his green card and passport back at deferred inspection

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Here's how we helped a man get his green card and passport back from Customs Boarder Patrol at the airport this week.

Hi, my name is Jim Hacking. I'm an immigration lawyer. We practice immigration law throughout the United States out of our offices here in St. Louis, Missouri.

This week we're real excited to help a really good guy to get his green card and passport back. Let me tell you a little bit about what happened. This fellow has an employment based green card. He's had it for about a year and a half, but last month he was going through customs in Toronto.

He'd gone to Canada for a business trip and he was on his way back, and he was by himself. You do customs in Toronto actually when you're flying back to the United States, you don't do it when you land, you do actually in Canada. When he went through customs they flagged him because he'd been arrested three years ago. Now this had never come up in any of his prior travels. He is a world traveler. He leaves St. Louis and leaves the United States all the time, but this particular time something came up in his record, so he was given what's called deferred inspection.

I always like the explain to people that customs works sort of like a traffic sign, a traffic light. First you can have a red light which means they're not going to let you into the country. A green light means go on through and you're admitted into the United States, and the middle ground, the yellow light, is deferred inspection. What that means is that you have to come back to the airport after you've landed in your home town, and you're going to have to go up to the airport and bring them documentation of whatever it is they were worried about.

This young man had been arrested three years earlier on a New Year's Eve. What happened was, is he got drunk at a casino and he had taken a few chips that did not belong to him. When he sobered up the next day he had gone and paid the money back around $19,000. He had been arrested in the process by the Missouri Highway Patrol, which is the agency that conducts gaming investigations.

Nothing ever came of the case. The arrest had been almost exactly three years ago and the St. Louis Circuit Attorney had decided not to prosecute him, so nothing ever came of it, but the arrest was still flagged on his departure and arrival record that CBP saw. They were worried about that and they gave him deferred inspection.

He got on our website and I remember, he was one of our first people to use this new feature we have on the website, called peer-chat. Peer-chat allowed him to talk to me. I was actually barbecuing at the time, and we went back and forth. It was the day after he had come back to St. Louis and he was extremely worried, very upset about this incident. He traveled a lot for work, sometimes he travels with co-workers, and he was worried that this was going to be a problem for him. Even on a bigger scale, he was worried that he was going to lose his green card. He had not gotten his passport back either, so he was very upset.

I tried by chat to put everything at ease. I also agreed to meet him the next day and we got together and I looked everything over. He had actually gotten a police report, he'd already had that from the arrest. We went over it and I tried to allay his fears and to let him know that nothing was probably going to happen and he would probably get his green card back.

We went and we did our due diligence. We got certified copies of the arrest record. We got certified copies from St. Louis County and St. Louis City showing that he'd never been prosecuted for this. We got more information from the court's online system, to demonstrate that nothing had ever happened to this fellow and that really there was no reason for him to have received deferred inspection.

We went out a few Wednesdays ago but it turns out that that day was a Federal Holiday and customs and boarder patrol was closed in St. Louis on a Federal Holiday, which is something I didn't know. I knew the head of the office and I emailed him the entire packet that we had brought out that day. I also emailed him a picture of my client out there that day, just so that he'd know that we had arrived.

We came out one week later and when we walked into the little waiting area in Customs, I picked up the phone and I called the Customs Official and he came out carrying the passport and the green card. Now you always know that's a good sign, when the Officer has those documents with him. We exchanged the originals for the passport and the green card. My client and I were in and out of there in about twenty minutes, which I think is a record for us, for our fastest deferred inspection appointment.

My client was ecstatic. He gave me a hug which was great because as a lawyer, I used to do a lot of insurance work, and you don't really get many hugs from insurance companies. It's pretty exciting when your client is that happy and that excited, to see what a change and a benefit you can bring to someone.

He's going to keep a certified copy of that file with him so that whenever he travels he'll always have that with him. We think that that'll cut down on any other problems he's going to have in the future. He's also going to register for the Global Entry Program which will hopefully allow him another opportunity to "clean this up." We think he's on the right track, we're sure that he's going to be able to get citizenship a few years down the line. He's a great guy and we're really happy for him

If you have questions about deferred inspection there's other information on our website, or you can email us at [email protected]. You can give us a call at [314] 961-8200. Now if you liked this video please click like, and also subscribe to our YouTube channel where we try to update this site about two or three times a week, and to give you as much information about the immigration process as possible.

Thanks a lot, have a good day.

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