At last, some relief for the many applicants whose I-601A provisional waiver applications were denied because U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) supposedly had "reason to believe" that the applicants were subject to not only the unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility (the one addressed by the I-601A waiver) but an additional ground of inadmissibility, in many cases a minor criminal conviction. In fact, these criminal convictions were in many instances so minor that they couldnt' possibly have been a ground of inadmissibility.
This was, needless to say, a huge source of frustration for not only the applicants but their lawyers, who couldn't seem to make USCIS see that taking such a bright-line approach to clearing its plate of "tough" cases made no legal sense.
But the tide turned at last. First off, in January of this year, USCIS issued field guidance telling its officers to stop denying cases where the criminal convictions simply don't amount to a ground of inadmissibility, because they're either petty offenses, juvenile offenses, or not considered crimes of moral turpitude. But that wasn't much comfort to the applicants who had already been denied.
Fortunately, however, USCIS announced this week that it will -- without applicants having to do anything of their own accord -- take another look at all I-601A waiver applications that it denied before January 24, 2014 on the sole basis of a criminal offense. Hopefully, in many cases, it will find that these cases should not have been denied on the basis of a mere minor conviction, and approve the waivers.
If you're in this situation and would like to see whether USCIS will be reopening your provisional waiver application, go to the "My Case Status" page of the USCIS website.