For many immigration attorneys, the people we can't help are the ones we remember the best. I received a sad call last week and there was little I could do to assist.
Apparently, the caller's husband had applied for asylum prior to the marriage. He was denied and then failed to leave. Later, he met the caller, they fell in love, and married. Whether she knew about his immigration problems prior to the marriage, I do not know. In any case, she got pregnant.
Two months into the pregnancy, the husband was detained by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), and quickly returned to his home country in West Africa, leaving his wife alone in the United States.
The wife called me to ask about the possibilities for him to return, based on the marriage. She told me that she was working seven days a week to support herself. She felt that without her husband's help, she was incapable of taking care of a child. She told me that since she was separated from her husband, she would probably not keep the baby.
I advised her of the legal consequences of the husband's overstay and removal (he is barred from returning for 10 years), and discussed the possibility of him returning based on the marriage. Although the couple could apply for a waiver to allow the husband to return to the U.S. in less than 10 years, I doubt he will return quickly--certainly not in time for the baby.
I understand that the husband is likely to blame for his family's predicament, and I am not sure what, if anything, "the system" did wrong. Maybe I am also being sensitive, having recently become a father myself. Nevertheless, the caller's story is a sad example of an unintended consequences of the immigration system.
Originally posted on the Asylumist: www.Asylumist.com.