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Newark, NJ Expedited Removal Case Resolved
VOL. XVI, no. 29; Jul 2010, week 3
Posted : 16.Jul.2010
MurthyDotCom : MurthyBulletin
Many MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers have inquired about whatever happened to those H1B workers who encountered problems at the Newark, New Jersey port of entry (POE) in January 2010. The incidents in Newark struck fear in the hearts of many H1B foreign nationals who needed or wanted to travel abroad or return to the United States from abroad. This is the success story of one such traveler, who was denied entry at the Newark POE, and was banned at the POE from returning to the United States for five years under an order of expedited removal. He came to the Murthy Law Firm for help after he had returned to his home country under the order of expedited removal. This client of our firm has generously allowed us to share his success story with MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers. Information about a client or a case is never reported to our readers without consent of the client.
Background of Denial of Entry to the U.S. in January 2010
The problems of this individual were similar to those described in our January 14, 2010 NewsFlash entitled, Note to H1Bs Traveling to the U.S. and Working for Consulting Companies. The airport at issue was Newark International Airport in New Jersey. The traveler was returning to the U.S. and, rather than the routine verification of documents and basic information, he was questioned in detail about his employment. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers questioned him regarding the validity of his H1B employment, the identity of his employer's customers, and whether or not his employer had sufficient work for him. As explained below, the CBP was not satisfied with the information it gathered and, ultimately, exercised its authority to issue an expedited removal order against the foreign national, who became a client of the Murthy Law Firm after he was sent back to India.
Travel Outside of the United States
The foreign national had traveled outside of the United States and returned to his home country to get married. He carried with him a letter from his H1B employer, verifying that he would resume his H1B employment upon his return to the U.S. After his wedding celebration, his wife applied for an H-4 dependent visa through a U.S. consulate in the couple's home country. They presented the employer's letter to the consular office in support of the H-4 visa application. The consulate was satisfied with the evidence presented, and issued the H-4 visa. The gentleman who later became our client then attempted to return to the United States alone, with plans for his wife to follow soon after.
CBP Checks on Returning H1B Workers
When the individual attempted to reenter the United States, his experience at the POE was far from ordinary. The CBP officers placed him into what is known as secondary inspection. This is the procedure for foreign nationals who cannot be quickly and routinely processed through the standard primary inspection. The traveler was questioned about his employer, his work, and the end-client where he was performing his work. He was asked whether or not his employer had enough work to keep him employed throughout the duration of his H1B petition. One CBP officer contacted his employer, using the contact information on the employer's letter. The H1B employer was surprised by the call from CBP and did not firmly state that he had sufficient work to keep this particular H1B worker fully employed for the rest of the duration of the H1B petition.
The CBP officer took this information and determined that the foreign national was not returning to resume valid nonimmigrant work on his H1B visa. The officer instead considered the foreign national to be an intending immigrant seeking admission to the United States without a proper immigrant visa. This is one of the grounds under the law that permits an expedited removal. The officer cancelled the individual's H1B visa stamp in his passport and entered an expedited removal order against him, which carries the penalty of a five-year bar to reentering the U.S. The gentleman was then ordered to depart the U.S. on the next flight back to his home country.
Removed H1B Worker Contacts Murthy to Take Action
The foreign national contacted Murthy Law Firm after this unfortunate incident, and requested our assistance. The case was assigned to our Special Projects department, and we quickly made contact with the CBP officers at the port of entry involved. Our attorneys analyzed the case and found several legal mistakes that were made in the process of cancelling the H1B visa as well as in issuing the expedited removal order. A detailed legal argument was drafted and sent to the lead CBP official for the POE.
New H1B Petition Approval
While the Murthy Law Firm team was working on this case, our client obtained a new job offer from his H1B employer's end-client. The job involved duties identical to his previous position, but as a direct employee of the prior end-client company. The new employer obtained an approval of its H1B petition for consular processing. The only thing standing between our client and a great job was the five-year ban on his return to the United States that was created by the expedited removal order. The attorney assigned to this case contacted a U.S. senator representing the state where the new employer is located and began a series of actions that led to a review of the expedited removal.
Murthy Takes Action to Reverse Earlier CBP Decision
The review and reconsideration of expedited removal orders is not explicitly provided for in the regulations that control the day-to-day operations of the CBP. The Murthy Law Firm team succeeded in showing that the events that transpired for our client were extremely unusual and required review by leaders at CBP. Due to the new employer's need for this individual's skills, the attorney contacted several officers at CBP, filed a second official request with CBP, and worked with the U.S. senator's office to show that there was a serious and urgent need for a decision.
Determined Follow-up Leads to Relief
The persistence of our excellent legal team paid off. After almost ten weeks of communications with the CBP and other government offices, the CBP issued a letter stating that, while there is no appeal of expedited removal orders under the law, CBP was exercising its discretion and overturning its prior expedited removal order. The letter was quickly forwarded to our client, who scheduled his H1B visa interview at the appropriate U.S. consulate in India. He was issued his H1B visa at the conclusion of his consular interview and he then made the arrangements necessary for his wife and himself to return to the United States so that he could commence his new H1B employment.
We at the Murthy Law Firm are proud to share another of our many successful stories with our readers. We would like to extend our deep appreciation for the hard work and cooperation of the CBP officers in reconsidering their prior decision and taking the bold step, even though there was no law or regulation for an appeal or reconsideration of an earlier CBP decision. We also send our thanks the U.S. senator's staff, who worked to resolve the incorrect expedited removal order, which would have resulted in the five-year bar to our client's ability to return to the United States. Finally, our gratitude is offered once again to our client for his permission, allowing us to share his story, thereby providing hope to others.
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