Why is it important to talk to your immigration attorney about your entries and exits?
When you go to an immigration consultation, the attorney should ask you about all your entries and exits to the United States. It doesn't matter if they were legal or illegal or if you were detained or entered without a problem. Your immigration attorney must know about every entry (and attempted entry) so that they can accurately determine the immigration benefits for which you may be eligible.
Being detained by immigration authorities can affect your options, depending on how that detention was classified. Classifying a detention as a voluntary departure is different from classifying it as a deportation (expedited removal).
Whether you were detained or entered without any problems, we also need to know the number of entries AND the dates they occurred because there are different laws and policies that apply depending on when you entered that can affect your options.
For some people the entries and exits might make the person ineligible. For other people, they will be eligible, but they will need a waiver. For other people, their entries and exits do not affect them. Getting a consultation from an experienced immigration attorney will allow you to find out your options.
For people who were detained, I recommend doing a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request. There are different types of FOIAs and depending on how you entered and when you entered, that determines which FOIAs I recommend submitting. The purpose of the FOIA request is to get information about how detentions were classified and what entry dates are on your record. Once the responses come back, your options can be better determined.
If you want to know your options, I invite you to call me or send me a message to schedule an appointment. We are here to help you!
For more information on this important topic, check out my video about FOIAs and subscribe to get our updates.
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This is general information and not legal advice. For advice about your specific situation, please schedule a consultation. (There is a fee).