The 4 Worst Immigration Problems – How To Beat Them To Get a Green Card
By: Harlan York
September 12, 2016

Face it. Some things cannot be waived. Listed below are the 4 worst immigration problems that my clients face. Over the 2 decades that I have practiced immigration law, these are the issues that have created the most difficult obstacles to immigration and getting a green card. Note: I said difficult, NOT IMPOSSIBLE. All these cases can be overcome in certain circumstances. These are all hypothetical situations based on real cases where a client has overcome the odds.


  1. False Claim to US Citizenship.  Usually a major impediment.  Nevertheless, I like to believe that nothing is impossible. If the claim was made before changes to the law circa 1997, you may be able to seek a waiver.  Also guidance was released not long ago, regarding the age of the immigrant when the false claim was made.  There are ways to study this problem and potentially solve it.
  2. Offenses involving Marijuana.  As our society began to have a greater understanding of the medicinal effects of this drug and states started to legalize it, the US Supreme Court too ruled favorably. In Moncrieffe v. Holder, “possession with intent to distribute” may not be deemed drug trafficking (aggravated felony in the Immigration Act) when the law includes friends’ sharing marijuana.  Certain immigrants are able to show that they were not drug dealers but merely social smokers, and the result is very beneficial. In addition, there is a waiver for possession of marijuana under 30 grams for one’s own use.
  3. Marriage Fraud.  Generally, a finding of marriage fraud cannot be waived.  But what if you are the victim of a violent crime or human trafficking?  A U Visa or T Visa in these situations may include forgiveness for many legal problems, including marriage fraud.  Another rare but potential option might be relief pursuant to the United Nations Convention Against Torture.
  4. Border Crosser Marriage to US Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident.  Before May 1, 2001, Section 245(i) allowed for an immigrant who unlawfully entered the United States and married a US Citizen to file to get a green card by paying a fine. For a dozen years, we waited for a new solution to these problematic cases.  Finally, in March 2013, the I-601A waiver was introduced.  This pardon allows border crossers (and other immigrants unable to seek green cards in the US) to ask Immigration to review extreme hardship to their US Citizen Spouses.  If the 601A is granted, the immigrant proceeds to his home country, has an interview at the US Embassy and may be able to re-enter the US as a green card holder.  The rules around the 601A visa have just recently been changed – for the better. Click here to read about the 601A visa changes and find out if you qualify under the new broader scope to get your green card now!

Bottom line – Every case is unique. This blog post seeks to give honest, helpful guidance to so many people who are told that they have no chance. There may be a CHANCE if you speak with a superior immigration attorney.

If you have any questions about this or any other immigration related questions, please do not hesitate to contact myself or an associate here.

About Harlan York

The first-ever attorney in New Jersey to win “Immigration Lawyer of the Year” from Best Lawyers, Harlan York is former immigration chair of the NJ State Bar Association and former co-chair for the NY State Bar Association CFLS Committee on Immigration. He currently serves on the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) National Practice Management Committee.

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Harlan York & Associates practices law in the areas of Immigration, Deportation Defense, Family Immigration, Corporate Immigration, Naturalization throughout Essex County – Hudson County – Morris County – Passaic County – Somerset County – Middlesex County – Bergen County – New Jersey -Immigration Lawyer – NJ Immigration Lawyer – Jersey City-Newark-Paterson Passaic Elizabeth Edison Woodbridge Toms River Hamilton Trenton Camden Clifton Passaic Garfield Wallington Cherry Hill East Orange Passaic Union City Bayonne Irvington Old Bridge Lakewood North Bergen Vineland Union Wayne Parsippany-Troy Hills New Brunswick Plainfield Bloomfield Perth Amboy East Brunswick West New York West Orange Hackensack Atlantic City Kearny Mount Laurel Montclair Essex Hoboken North Brunswick Belleville. In addition to serving clients in New York, Pennsylvania, the greater United States, and Internationally.

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