My dad had an appointment with the attorney on Tuesday to see what options are out there for us. While she is an excellent immigration attorney, and really wants to help us, she does not know much about what to do now that things went wrong.
She is going to talk to other attorneys that she knows who specialize in different areas. Our main options now are to appeal the decision in hopes of overturning the three year bar, or to apply for a student visa. Our attorney knows of another attorney who specializes in overturning immigration rulings, one that specializes in student visas, and another who knows about immigration to Canada, in case we run out of options and want to go up there. My dad and the attorney are planning a "multipronged attack," so that, hopefully, something will work out. Unfortunately, each option has some problems that we may not be able to get around.
We aren't sure how an appeal would go. It seems that immigration doesn't like to change their decisions, or admit anything that might mean they were wrong. We are looking into the appeal, in hopes that we may get the three year bar removed, and can move on with the next step in the process. If we were successful with that, Jose could be back in the United States with legal residence in less than three years. We are waiting for advice from the other attorney before starting an appeal.
A student visa might be the fastest way to get us back in the U.S., but we are not sure Jose is eligible. He would be required to prove that he has a life in Mexico that he would want to return to after graduation, including maintaining a residence in Mexico. We don't have the life here they want to see, and because Jose lived in the United States for 18 years, it would be clear that he has a life there. He has to show he wants to live in Mexico, but he already submitted his application to live in the U.S. permanently, so it would probably be hard for U.S. immigration to believe that Jose wouldn't overstay his visa. Also, he asked at the consulate the last time he was there, and he was told that the three year bar is meant to keep him out of the U.S., so a student visa would interfere with his three year bar and not be allowed. If we could get it, Jose would pay international fees at Cal Poly, which would increase his tuition from $6,000 a year to $17,000 a year. That would, of course, be totally worth it. We are just waiting to hear from the student visa attorney, and hoping for some good news, so we can start applying for the visa, and maybe be home in time for Winter quarter in January.
Another option, and our first choice if we can't be in the United States, is to live in Vancouver and go to school there. Tuition would be about $23,000 a year, but Jose might be able to get some scholarships to help. I loved Canada when I went, and I know I would be much happier there than in many other places. However, Canada just began requiring visas for Mexicans because there were too many immigrating illegally. We had been hearing for the last year or so that lots of undocumented workers in the U.S. left to Canada, because there were more jobs. Jose would need to be approved for a student visa, but also get another visa for living there, and the visa requirements look even more strict than in the United States. Again, he would have to prove that his life is in Mexico, but they also ask about other countries Jose has lived in. Since his school records come from the United States, but we don't have a copy of a visa to show Canada, it will be obvious he lived there illegally. That could really cause problems, because Canada is now serious about preventing Mexicans from living their illegally. It's really just a case of bad timing, because these visa requirements have only been in place since July.
I wish we could combine all the options that could almost work into one option that would definitely work. I do not want to live in Mexico for three years, and to be honest, I don't know if I could be happy. It has been a nice place to visit, after my culture shock wore off at least, but that doesn't mean it would be a nice place to live.
We will continue to hope for a good outcome.