In an unpublished decision received on behalf of our clients, the AAO (Administrative Appeals Office) sustained our appeal that we filed for the denial of our clients I-601, Waiver for Fraud, Application. Our client had previously filed a fraud waiver on his own without an attorney with the U.S. Embassy in Tirana, Albania. The U.S. Embassy in Tirana, Albania denied his fraud waiver, claiming that the applicants did not show that the U.S. citizen spouse would suffer extreme and unusual hardship if her husband cannot re-enter the U.S. or if she is forced to move to Albania to join her husband.
Our client, an Albanian national, had entered the U.S. with a fraudulent passport that did not belong to him. He applied for asylum in the U.S. but the Immigration Judge denied his case and granted him voluntary departure requiring him to leave the U.S. During his many years in the U.S. while his case was pending, our client met his current wife, a U.S. citizen. They now have a child together.
When he left the U.S. and applied for his green card to re-enter the U.S., the U.S. Embassy in Tirana denied the fraud waiver citing that the U.S. citizen spouse was already living with her husband in Tirana. They reasoned that she could remain there, if she did not want to be separated from her husband. As noted above, our client was required to file a fraud waiver because of his previous use of a fake passport to enter the U.S.
Because our client was not represented by an attorney and filed the fraud waiver on his own, his case was not as strong as it could have been and the Officer(s) were able to deny his case. His wife had submitted substantial research on the country conditions in Albania, proof of their marriage etc. but the Officer was not satisfied.
When I took over the case, I immediately filed an appeal with the Office in Vienna, Austria, which has jurisdiction to review the case from the U.S. Embassy in Tirana, Albania. The case was then transferred to the AAO in Washington, D.C. The AAO decision, which we just received, held that the U.S. citizen would suffer extreme and unusual hardship if her husband is not allowed to re-enter the U.S.
The Immigration Appeals Officer(s) based their favorable decision on the arguments and research we presented on behalf of our clients. Notably, they noted that the U.S. citizen does not speak Albanian, and that she did live in Albania for a year or so, but that she had to return to the U.S. because she could not adjust to living in Albania. Further, we had conceded that our client’s use of the fake passport was wrong. We did not try to rationalize his breaking of U.S. laws. We did however point out individual details of the couple’s life to convince the AAO to allow them to be reunited here in the U.S.
We are pleased to have worked on this case and to be a part of this family’s reuniting, especially given that they now have a child together. Our client, the U.S. citizen spouse, has given her express permission for me to use the details of her case in this blog. Her name has been kept confidential.