Can the law of punishment be forgiven again if it was previously denied?

This week in my Consulta Migratoria column, I answer readers' questions. Each case is different and the answers vary depending on the immigration history of each person. Here I provide general answers to your questions. Please consult with an immigration attorney to receive personalized legal advice before beginning any process.

I am Ecuadorian. In 2000 I traveled to the United States on a tourist visa and stayed for 8 years. During my stay in the United States my first son was born. I then returned to Ecuador of my own free will and have been living here for the past 5 years. My husband is a US citizen and we got married in Ecuador. We have a baby girl born in Ecuador and we already got her U.S. citizenship. My husband asked me previously but I have not been able to return to the U.S. because I was denied a pardon. Could I apply for a pardon again? --Blanca V.

Blanca, you are subject to the law of punishment for staying in the United States illegally. The law prevents you from returning to the U.S. for 10 years unless you are granted a waiver. The waiver will be granted if you can show extreme prejudice to your spouse or parent who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

It is possible to reapply for a waiver if you are eligible. The new application you file must show extreme prejudice to your husband who is a U.S. citizen. It is extremely important that you hire an immigration attorney to review your previous filings and analyze your case very carefully before applying for any immigration benefits.

I entered the United States on a tourist visa and have been living in the country illegally for several years. In 2011 I was arrested for looking out of a hotel window. The criminal attorney recommended that I plead guilty and I did. Now I am going to marry a U.S. citizen and I want to know if my criminal record will affect my immigration proceedings. --Cesar M.

Cesar, you should have consulted with an immigration attorney before pleading guilty to the crime you committed. Do not apply for residency through your future spouse until an immigration attorney very carefully reviews your criminal and immigration history, because certain crimes may disqualify you from obtaining permanent residency and make you subject to deportation. The immigration attorney will then tell you whether it is possible for you to apply for permanent residence.

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