LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - Sep 18, 2012) - In a legal move that could change the way the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) processes travel permits for applicants for adjustment of status to permanent residence ("Green Card"), Los Angeles Immigration Attorney Alice Yardum-Hunter prevailed on a Canadian's appeal for U.S. permanent residency, citing a new published opinion on August 16, 2012. That ruling by the U.S. Justice Department's Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) prevents CIS from denying permanent residency, based on applicants' travel outside the country, while their Green Card applications are pending. Yardum-Hunter's case applied the published ruling to a different group of applicants and together, they rebuke limitations on travel which resulted from the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 with its unregulated approach to issuing travel permits.
Yardum-Hunter states, "With the BIA's ruling and the decision in favor of my client, all applicants for permanent residence who travel might now qualify for Green Cards. As a result of that decision, my client now is eligible for the government to finalize approval of his Green Card since his travel was the only stumbling block. There is no reason to believe the BIA sought to limit Green Card approvals to just the two groups of people in that case and mine: those who overstayed their status and Canadians."
In her case, Attorney Yardum-Hunter represented a U.S. citizen married to a Canadian, who was denied a Green Card after traveling on a legally-issued travel permit. According to Attorney Yardum-Hunter, the issue had to do with an unregulated policy where the government allowed applicants for permanent residence travel permits without adjudicating whether they qualified to travel and then denied their Green Cards on the basis of that travel.
"In representing my client, the irony was, he qualified for permanent residence and there would have been no question about him being approved for Green Card, except for the fact that he traveled on an Advance Parole travel permit related to his application. He got that travel permit from CIS in conjunction with his Green Card application and had he not traveled, there would have been no problem. This is like entrapment because the government issued a travel permit to my client and then denied his application for having traveled."
On August 16, 2012, Yardum-Hunter's appeal was decided which eliminated the need for an Extreme Hardship Waiver and was issued on the same day as a distinguishing published decision which together with Yardum-Hunter's, could eliminate the travel ban for all Green Card applicants: That same day, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decided in favor of Interim Decision #3748, The Matter of Arrabally and Yerrabelly, ruling that travel on Advance Parole, granted by the government, cannot then be used to deny adjustment of status as long as circumstances remained the same as when initially granted, and that discretion could still permit return to the U.S. pending a Green Card application. The ruling invalidated CIS's previous denial, moving forward her client's application for a Green Card.
That case, unlike Yardum-Hunter's, applied to applicants who overstayed their status. Yardum-Hunter's client was Canadian and Canadians are generally not viewed as overstaying their status. The ruling coupled with the decision in Yardum-Hunter's could now apply to all applicants for permanent residence who travel on Advance Parole, regardless of the type of case. It could even apply to those who entered the country illegally but at the same time qualify for a Green Card.
In practice for more than 30 years, Alice Yardum-Hunter is a Certified Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law with a practice in business related immigration, extraordinary ability, national interest, family, citizenship by descent, naturalization and complex removal matters, including those of criminal aliens. In 2011 - 2012, Ms. Yardum-Hunter chaired the LA County Bar Association, Immigration and Nationality Law Section. She is a former Commissioner to the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization, Immigration and Nationality Law Advisory Commission and has been designated a "Super Lawyer" since 2004.