It’s not uncommon to end up in removal proceedings even with a pending U visa petition, so it’s important to be aware of your options. Many believe that only USCIS is authorized to adjudicate a Form I-192 waiver that typically accompanies a U visa. In fact, many judges will issue an order of removal if a respondent has no other relief available.
There are two important cases when it comes to pending U visa applications, especially in Atlanta. First, in 2012, the BIA issued Matter of Sanchez Sosa, 25 I&N Dec. 807 (BIA 2012). Second, the Eleventh Circuit decided Meridor v. U.S. Attorney General, 15-14569 (11th Cir. 2018) just last year.
Sanchez-Sosa is the precedent BIA case that laid out the factors for when judges in removal proceedings will issue continuances based on pending U visa petitions. Meridor is a published Eleventh Circuit decision that goes one step further to hold that immigration judges have the authority to review I-192 waivers of inadmissibility. Further, Meridor also held that an immigration judge can review a waiver even if a waiver application is already filed and pending with USCIS.
These two cases are immensely important in light of the lengthy processing times for U visa petitions and immigration judge’s inclinations to issue removal orders. Arguing Meridor in Atlanta is an excellent way to force the judge to review a waiver application even if USCIS denies the waiver themselves – the decision clearly allows for judicial review regardless of a USCIS decision.
Be sure to reach out to our office at 404.816.8611 and schedule an appointment with me if you think your case fits within these guidelines, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.