In December of 2015, our office was contacted by another immigration lawyer in town. Her clients had been waiting for a green card for the foreign-born wife for over a year and a half.
The lawyer thought that our office could help.
We met with Frank and Gigi (* not their real names) and they told us their story.
Gigi was born in Thailand and was a widow. Her husband had died in a motorcycle accident shortly after the birth of their second daughter.
A few years later, Gigi applied for a visit visa to come and visit relatives in the U.S. Her first request for a visa was denied. Then she hired a "visa consultant" in Thailand who "helped" Gigi fill out the visa application.
Gigi and the consultant completed the DS-160 and Gigi did her best to answer the questions truthfully and honestly.
But one of the questions asked about Gigi's marital status. She indicated on the form that she was "married." Gigi thought the question meant had you ever been married so she said yes.
The visa was approved and Gigi came to the United States.
A few months after she arrived, Gigi met a man named Frank. Frank was a U.S. citizen and a former Marine. Frank and Gigi decided to get married.
Frank completed an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative and Gigi applied for adjustment of status. Wisely, they hired an attorney to help them with the application process.
Frank also filed I-130 Petitions for Gigi's two daughters back in Thailand. They were staying with Gigi's parents.
The St. Louis field office scheduled Gigi and Frank for a green card interview. They successfully completed the interview but then the case dragged on for months and months.
Frustrated and unable to get any answers from the local USCIS office, the attorney recommended that Gigi and Frank visit our office to see if we could help.
After discussing the situation and learning about the confusion surrounding Gigi's visa application, we sent a letter to USCIS and threatened to sue them if they did not decide the case quickly.
Instead of issuing a grant or a denial, the Service sent us a new interview notice. They claimed that Gigi had misrepresented herself at the embassy and wanted to discuss it with us.
We attended the interview and explained that there was no fraud or misrepresentation. We explained that the only problem was that Gigi had misunderstood the question about marriage. We provided proof of her ex-husband's death and explained how it was all a misunderstanding.
A few months later, the Service invited us to file an I-601 waiver for the alleged misrepresentation.
Without conceding that Gigi had misrepresented herself, we did go ahead and file for the waiver. We submitted evidence of how Gigi supported Frank, how she helped take care of Frank's elderly father and the extreme hardship that would befall Frank if Gigi were not granted the waiver.
While we awaited that decision, the I-130s for the girls back in Thailand had been approved. Gigi could not leave the country due to her shaky immigration status. So Frank, the ex-Marine, went back to Thailand on his own to get the girls.
And that he did.
Shortly after Frank and the girls returned to the U.S., Gigi's waiver and green card were approved.
Now the family is all united in St. Louis. We ran into them yesterday at the Webster Groves Fourth of July carnival.
Turns out that Gigi is now pregnant.
We couldn't be happier for this awesome family.