USCIS Approves Hardship Waiver Application
USCIS Approves Chinese Woman’s Hardship Waiver Application
LIU, Wen and her husband came to see me eighteen months ago. I normally give a free consultation, and that is what happened in this case. LIU, Wen entered the United States without inspection in 2003. She found some work in Georgia. There, she met her future husband, Eric, who was born and grew up in Georgia. They got married in 2006. They are parents of two girls, both of whom are doing well in school.
Because LIU, Wen had entered the United States without a visa, until March of 2013, she had no obvious path to permanent residency in the United States. That was when President Obama’s program for a waiver of unlawful presence went into effect. At the end of our consultation, LIU, Wen and Eric decided to retain me. Step number one: Eric needed to file a visa petition for the benefit of LIU, Wen. We filed it, and in doing so, indicated that LIU, Wen’s goal was not to adjust status in the USA, but to pursue consular processing. Almost nine months later, the USCIS approved Eric’s petition.
Then the hard work began. We started to prepare the waiver application and all of its supporting documents. LIU, Wen worked with my paralegal to produce her affidavit, in which she explained how Eric would suffer great hardships either in the event that she relocated by herself to China, or if the entire family relocated to China. When we were totally satisfied which what we had put together, we filed it. After waiting six months, we heard from the USCIS, but we did not get a decision. Instead, we received a Request for [additional] Evidence, what is commonly called an RFE. In it, the USCIS asked for many things, including evidence that the couple simply did not have. What was especially tough was the fact that the USCIS gave us only thirty days to respond.
We ended up responding several days before the deadline. I helped Eric prepare his supporting affidavit. He made it clear that there was more than enough clear evidence to support LIU, Wen’s and his claim that he, Eric, would suffer extreme hardships, should his wife be forced to relocate to China by herself.
The couple also prepared, and certified, a household budget which set out, on a monthly basis, the family’s income and expenses. At the end of a typical month, the couple has only $222 at its disposal. LIU, Wen had returned to the work force in January of 2015. She works weekends, as a waitress, in a nearby Japanese restaurant. She takes home approximately $800 a month. Without her income, the family’s monthly expenses would exceed its income by almost $600. If the Beneficiary relocated by herself to China, Eric would have to spend some money every week on child care, as he works full-time for an Atlanta-based corporation. However, without his wife’s income, Eric would not any money to pay for the child care that he would need.
To support their claims, the spouses provided the USCIS with copies of their 2013 and 2014 federal tax returns, Eric’s recent earnings statements, the couple’s most recent checking account statement, and proof of the couple’s recurring monthly expenses. In the response to the RFE, I also included proof of the fact that, if Eric and the girls relocated to China, each one would have to wait five years before he or she could file an application for Permanent Resident status. Furthermore, as LIU, Wen and her family are very much involved with their local Protestant church, I argued, in my cover letter, that relocation to China would bring about a painful separation of the family from the church of their choice. The International Religious Freedom Report on China for 2014, which supported our claim, was also submitted, as was proof of the political and civil society that presently exists in totalitarian China, in the form of the U.S. State Department’s Report on Human Rights conditions in China, which was published several months ago.
When I informed Eric that I had sent off the response to the RFE, he said: Now we will hope and pray. One week later, his prayers were answered: The USCIS approved his wife’s waiver application. We have made it to the third and final step in the process. LIU, Wen should become a permanent resident of the United States in 2016.
A free consultation can lead to a lot of good things.
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