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US Immigration

Posted 11/03/2008

Son Deported for Marrying Before U.S. Entry

Immigrant visa applicants who are categorized as unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents are not supposed to get married prior to their admission to the U.S. If they do, they become inadmissible.

But many get married anyway, usually upon the insistence of the parents of their fiancé(e). And they enter the U.S. without disclosing their marriage.

A lot of times, their misrepresentation goes undetected by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) until they petition their spouses and children or apply for American citizenship or do something else that catches the attention of USCIS investigators.

This is what happened to Rolando Manapa Federiso, a Filipino residing in California. He was petitioned by his U.S. citizen mother in November 1986 as a single son under the first preference family-based category.

In January 2001, he was served with a Notice to Appear by the USCIS, charged as removable for his fraud and misrepresentation that occurred fourteen years earlier.

He went before an Immigration Judge and his lawyer asked for a waiver of his misrepresentation based on a law that provided for eligibility for this relief to the son of a citizen of the U.S.

The immigration law allows for a waiver of removal for certain aliens who were inadmissible at the time of entry because they used fraudulent document or willfully misrepresented a material fact.

To be eligible for this waiver, which is discretionary on the part of the Attorney General, the applicant must show that he/she is the spouse, parent, son or daughter of a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the U.S.

On July 28, 2006, the Immigration Judge granted Mr. Federiso’s request for a waiver of his removal. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appealed the case to the Board of Immigration Appeals.

In its appeal, the DHS contended that he did not qualify for the waiver because his U.S. citizen parent died in 2005. His lawyer, on the other hand, argued that since hardship to a qualifying relative was not required as in other types of waiver, his parent need not still be living.

The Board of Immigration Appeals sided with the DHS. In its decision on October 23, 2008, the Board noted that it is clear from the legislative history, the statutory language and its interpretation by the courts that the purpose of the law is to unite families in the U.S. and preserve family ties. It cited an earlier case which said that the fundamental reason for such law was to prevent deportation where it would break up a family composed in part of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.

The fraud waiver was provided for the purpose of uniting aliens with their U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse, parent son or daughter who are still living or with whom they maintain family relationships.

Since the applicant’s mother had already died, he no longer has a qualifying relative with whom to remain in the U.S. Hence, the court issued a deportation order against him.

has been practicing law for over 30 years and is included in the Marquis Who’s Who in American Law. A former law editor and professor, he is also the author of a book on immigrant experiences. He has spoken in international and national conventions and has been interviewed on radio and television, including the ABC Nightly News. He has participated in meetings with White House staff and the Immigration Commissioner to discuss immigration reforms. For his community service and advocacy, he has received numerous awards in the U.S. and abroad. For more information, you may log on to his website at or call (212) 695-5281
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