Getting and following the advice of an experienced immigration lawyer is the right move.
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This could be true depending on a couple other things, such as whether he has left the US or has a criminal record.
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Your lawyer gave you advice of the upcoming provisional waiver program. It sounds true what he is saying. I would only take an exception with the two weeks prediction. The PV regulations are coming into effect on March 4, 2013. No one and I mean it, no one has yet received the waiver, traveled abroad and came back. Substantial portion of my practice is devoted to waivers and I would not be so optimistic, knowing what I know, that US posts in Mexico would be as quick in adjudicating immigrant visas after provisional waver approval as two week time. I woud say you lawyer is overly optimistic. The rest of the advise I would agree with.
The pardon before leaving and fee sound like the provisional waiver that will be available 4 March. It is true, if approved, and he has no other issues he will come back.
Samuel Ouya Maina, Esq. 415.391.6612 firstname.lastname@example.org Law Offices of S. Ouya Maina, PC 332 Pine Street, Suite 707 San Francisco, CA 94104