Five years? Really?
May 4, 2012 2:01 PM   Subscribe

Urgent help needed: tourist visa has been denied from Mexico, what are the options?

Asking for a friend:
YANML but a my sister has been detained in Mexico while trying to visit us in California. She was turned in by someone who said she's been living and working here, but there is no proof of that. she has been visiting for years, and has never overstayed her visa, nor held a job here.

Our lawyer tell us that she can't reapply for a visa for five years, and wants $1100.00 to look into the situation, with no guarantee of a different outcome.
posted by Gusaroo to Law & Government (12 answers total)
In what country is this sister a citizen?
posted by elizardbits at 2:08 PM on May 4, 2012

Call your congress representative. Failing that, I guess you all meet in Canada.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:09 PM on May 4, 2012

Sister is in Mexico.
posted by Gusaroo at 2:18 PM on May 4, 2012

IANAL, but if a lawyer does guarantee you a different outcome, do not hire that lawyer.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:19 PM on May 4, 2012

(Not because you want your sister to stay in Mexico indefinitely, but because anyone who tells you that a court will definitely rule in your favor is blowing smoke)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:22 PM on May 4, 2012

Oops...meant to say that sister is a Mexican citizen.
posted by Gusaroo at 2:25 PM on May 4, 2012

Get a second opinion from a different lawyer. I am not a lawyer, but my layman's understanding of immigration policy leads me to be skeptical about whether what you've been told is true, on several counts. You need an immigration lawyer you can trust to actually explain what's happening with your sister and to give you the best possible chance of success.
posted by decathecting at 2:34 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

She should have been given a reason and the applicable section of law. That should give you a starting point to do a little research on your own before deciding if hiring a lawyer is worth the expense. Some of the denials have no time restriction on when the applicant can reapply, some of them have longer - up to 10 years. There's info about different denials here:

An expanded list of ineligibilities here:
posted by IanMorr at 2:58 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Get a lawyer who specializes in immigration law, and preferably one who handles this kind of case (instead of focusing primarily on people who are living and working here, and in particular instead of focusing on fighting DUIs & shoplifting/disturbing the peace charges for students who don't want to get sent back home.)

Chances are "your lawyer" is a generalist who does either civil matters (divorces, liability, maybe real estate) or non-serious criminal stuff (DUIs, shoplifting, public intoxication, maybe assault) or both - and anyway, you should always get a second opinion if your first opinion makes you queasy. If you're inland, I suggest you look in San Diego or LA, or at least in a community with a lot of foreign nationals, to get a lawyer who works primarily in immigration matters.

Contact the bar association or local immigration activist groups for specific practitioner referrals.
posted by SMPA at 4:51 PM on May 4, 2012

Thanks for for the input everyone. I won't close this yet just in case there's more.
posted by Gusaroo at 5:14 PM on May 4, 2012

Find a local attorney through AILA (the American Immigration Lawyers Association):

I'm not guaranteeing the accuracy of this website, but when you say 5-year bar, it sounds like the sister may have gone through expedited removal, in which case, she's going to need some serious help getting back into the U.S.:
posted by snafu at 5:18 PM on May 4, 2012

Sorry, messed up the links there:
posted by snafu at 5:19 PM on May 4, 2012

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