Let's face it, life is difficult. Sometimes you do things that you regret. Sometimes you do things that may violate the law. And sometimes, in a moment of weakness, you may collapse under pressure of a law enforcement agent who "has you where he wants you" and is leaning on you to sign a document so that "your problems disappear."
It is a fact that some permanent resident clients have criminal records. It is a fact that some of them have traveled with these offenses on the records and have encountered problems at ports of entry where they have been subjected to lengthy interrogations by immigration officers.
It is a fact that some clients with criminal records have been apprehended by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) while still in the United States, and have been told that they are deportable. And finally, it is a lamentable fact that some of these immigration officers officers have told permanent residents that their cases are hopeless and have suggested that they can solve their problems simply by signing this form.
The formal title of the form, "Record of Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status," should tell you all you need to know about the wisdom of signing this piece of paper. If you do, you're basically telling the United States government that you no longer wish to be a permanent resident and want to return to your country of origin. Essentially, a permanent resident who does this while wanting to stay in the United States is signing their own "death warrant."
Regardless of your circumstances and however difficult your situation may be described, never, I repeat never sign this form. Don't even think about signing it if you are being pressured by an immigration officer to do so. If you really want to stay, you have dramatically compounded your problems by signing this.
There are limited circumstances under which a permanent resident may wish to abandon permanent residence. However, this should only be done with the most careful consideration after consultation with an immigration lawyer.
So, there you have it. How does that saying go, "You Have Been Warned"? If you are permanent resident in trouble, please remember this advice.
Brian D. O'Neill Attorney at Law, LLC
Immigration, Employment and Business Law