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What was the policy for unaccompanied/accompanied minors trying to cross the border in 1998?

Houston, TX |

I was nine at the time. They let me and my brother go after a few hours. I read a lot regarding this matter, but want to double check that in our case it could have been voluntary return since we were accompanied instead of expedited removal.

We qualify for Deferred Action. Not sure how the latter issue might affect us as far as applying for Deferred Action.

Attorney Answers 1



In 1998, the legal provisions were very similar to what they are today. The last major reform of the immigration laws, IIRAIRA, was in 1996 with an effective date of April 1, 1997.

It would be unusual for expedited removal to be applied to children, but it is not impossible, and I have seen it happen. I would encourage you to consider having an attorney assist you to complete FBI and FOIA background checks to make certain you don't have something in your record about which you need to be concerned. Tomorrow is only the first day for deferred action applications, but there currently is no deadline and no quota. However, there also is no appeal process for those who file and are denied. Thus, it is most important to gather as much information as you can about anything that potentially may affect your case before submitting an application.

Best wishes,

Ms. Doerrie's answer to your question is general in nature, as not all facts and circumstances relating to the specific person(s) and situations involved are known to her. Ms. Doerrie recommends consulting with an immigration attorney regarding your specific facts and circumstances prior to making any legal decision or submitting any form or application. This response does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney/client relationship.

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I've heard that I can just do FBI to get something faster since FOIA takes up to a year to receive feedback. Should I only do one or both?

Jennifer Doerrie

Jennifer Doerrie


It is possible to do FOIAs to the border offices, ICE or CBP, and/or the courts that fortunately are much faster than the USCIS FOIAs. I usually have responses within 6 to 8 weeks, although it does depend on the office and information being requested. Since the FBI records often are incomplete and occasionally even incorrect, I certainly would not advise relying on the FBI background check alone.



There are three possible border stations, and I am not sure on which one the incident tool place. In such case I would have to do USCIS FOIAs. I'm very worried that there will be a deadline or quota to apply for Deferred Action. In you experience, how long do you think it will take if I get FOIAs from USCIS? Is there a way to speed up the request?

Jennifer Doerrie

Jennifer Doerrie


Actually, if you're not sure of which border point, you could try all of them. You also could try doing a FOIA to ICE in Washington, D.C. to see if they have the information you need. There are ways to expedite USCIS FOIAs, but that usually requires being in court proceedings. I'd recommend starting with ICE in D.C.

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