Consulate decisions are unreviewable by a court of law and attorneys are not allowed to accompany immigrants to their consulate appointments or represent them in person at the consulate. This can make it difficult for an immigrant facing a wrongful determination to fight it. For instance, if a consulate determines that a client is inadmissible for fraud but only has an I-601a waiver approved for unlawful presence, the consulate will cancel that waiver and force the applicant to file a new I-601 to waive both grounds and stay outside of the U.S. while the new waiver is pending. But is there a way to challenge that fraud finding even though consulate decisions are not reviewable?
There is. SGG’s attorneys have successfully argued over fax, even email, and through other channels with consulate Immigrant Visa sections when clients have been wrongfully determined to be inadmissible to have that inadmissibility finding reversed. If a CIS office is attached to the consulate, we can work with the CIS Chief to review the consulate’s determination on inadmissibility and convince them to overturn it. For instance, if the Ciudad Juarez consulate determines that a client committed alien smuggling when the immigrant crossed the border illegally with their sister, we are in a position to argue with CIS that based on the facts, the immigrant was too young to have assisted in any smuggling effort and can potentially have that finding reversed. We also file legal inquiries with the board that governs legal policy that consulates must follow, the Department of State’s Advisory Opinions Office, to obtain positive legal advisories when the consulates misapply the law and which consulates follow.
It’s important to not only be prepared ahead of time for your consulate interview to counter any potential inadmissibility findings that do not apply to you but it is also vital to have an attorney working with you who knows how to work with consulates and get the answers you need and can provide the clarification and convincing arguments that can affect your ability to be barred for life without a waiver. Often this is critical for those who have no qualifying family member for a waiver and thus, need to ensure the best possible chance in not being found inadmissible. SGG’s immigration attorneys have experience working with consulates around the world – whether it’s filing inquiries for clients and working to resolve cases or challenging adverse inadmissibility decisions to get our clients home to the U.S. We prepare all our clients for consular processing so they know what to expect at the interview, questions they could be asked, and how best to prepare for this important moment in their lives.