A Serious Immigration Situation With Canadian Husband ???
Q: Let's see if I can tell this story so it makes some sense...all of you here at this newsgroup have so much good experience, wisdom, and background with immigration problems, perhaps you can point me in the right direction...however, this situation seems to be a serious mess at present. I Met my husband at work in 1997 here in San Francisco...he was working as a IT temp for my group for a few weeks. Dated for a few months. Married in September of 1997. Problem with this otherwise extremely nice fellow is that he has trouble complying with rules, or telling the truth, or filing papers. Any papers. And, he's often lied to me and everyone else about such things. At the time we were married, I was working as a consultant and making over $100K per year. He worked during that time...but only occasionally as a temp. I was under the impression he was here on a valid H1-B visa...which he did enter the US on...but it had long been invalid by our marriage. I only found that to be true much later. Silly me...I ask a question, and thought there would be no reason to lie about the answer. For about 2 years he seemed to be filling out the family-based visa papers. From time to time I'd ask, and he's produce paperwork for me to sign. Being a college grad in chemistry and then trained as a technical writer, I thought he'd be on top of his immigration issues. I was at that time travelling 5 to 6 days a week, and only home 1 or 2 days a week at best. I felt we had both time and money enough to do whatever was necessary. He said he was in compliance, and making progress. Time wore on and I finally made an appointment myself to see his immigration lawyers downtown. He was very reluctant to go with me to the law office. When I mentioned to the head of the firm that he'd been working prior to marriage...they quietly closed the file and advised me not to continue with filing as he was violating immigration, and would be subject to penalties if we submitted a family-based visa request, considering the circumstances. They advised him to go home to Canada, re-establish his citizenship, and only visit me here in America...not to ever try to submit papers for citizenship, though. However, he continued to say he was seeking to stay legally and was finding information from other lawyers. I now know this to be untrue. Since that time, in the last two years, I had to undergo spinal surgery. I have not worked in those two years while undergoing surgery and recovery. It took some time but I am now finally rehabilitated and am seeking work at present. I now also find that he neglected to file taxes for some number of years, although he said he was doing that and each year I signed the forms. For some reason he just ... well ...he just didn't file. Nor did he show me any IRS correspondence that arrived in the mail. Nor, did he admit it until I checked with IRS and found to my surprise our status. So...I now am broke and unemployed. All of my 401Ks and savings have been depleted...he has hidden bills while saying they were paid until we are now over $150K in debt, and I am seeking to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy...and wondering what to do about his current immigration status, to boot. Understand, he's such a well-educated, quiet, and pleasant man. No gambling. Minimal drinking. No drugs. No one that hasn't seen the damage understands or believes this behaviour. It's taken me years to see the depth of the problem we have with clearity and accept the reality, in the face of his persistant (and reasonable sounding) denials. If I decide that we should endevour to continue in this union...where the heck do I start? I know a lawyer is needed, but until I work again there is only his current temp job money available...$250 a week, which does not go very far in San Francisco...and that job ends after only six weeks total, anyway. Any chance if I take over all our finances and his immigration paperwork that I can save this situation? As soon as I have secured a position, and have a few paychecks in hand, and pay rent and to begin Chapter 13, I'll seek the advice of an immigration lawyer myself. Actually, I feel seven long years of persistant neglect of all things important to a partnership may at this time mean that he is just plain not partner material. However, if any change does occur...is the immigration situation at all salvagable, in your experience or opinion?
A: I see multiple issues 1. The marriage or divorce, that is your choice This is only something that you can determine and you should get an attorney for this. 2. The immigration issue You are stuck here. It sounds like he faces a 10 year ban if he were to leave and try to return, and might be sunject to deporation. This is really a bad thing to, since he could have easily qualified under the LIFE Act. I believe he would have been eligble if you had filed I-130 before April 30, 2001. This law even permitted people who entered illegally to obtain permanent residency. You might qualify for a hardship waver, but that will take a while. For now, he can start the process for Adjustment of Status, which might let him at least get employment authorization while the process is pending. He really needs an immigration lawyer for this. 3. The money issue (bankrupcy?) 4. The IRS issue They have powers that mere mortals can only dream of. However, they have become more gentle than they used to be. You might even escape with an OIC (Offer in Compromise), especially if you have limited assets. 5. Criminal issues (I am not sure whether you are indicating that he depleted your 401K or you did).. How did you entire 401K get depleted? Withdrawals are generally limited to a limited number of circumstances. What about his current employment. How does he get this temp work without being legally entitled to work? Does he file an I-9? Since your medical issues appear to be temporary, as you indicated you would be going back to work, the waiver might be difficult to obtain. I wouldn't say the odds of him staying legally after this lengthy overstay are not very good. What does he have to say about all of this?
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