An unsettling decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals vitiated the protection afforded to respondents in the Third Circuit by Garcia v. Attorney General of the United States, 553 F. 3d 724 (2009). In Matter of Paula Cruz De Ortiz, 25 I & N Dec 601 (BIA 2011), the Board essentially ruled that the 5 year statute of limitations which applies to both rescission and removal proceedings to remove an alien who procures permanent residence through fraud or misrepresentation only applies to those who have adjusted their status. Consequently, if a permanent resident obtains an immigrant visa through fraud to come here, he/she is not protected by the five year statute of limitation, and DHS may conceivably go after him/her many years later, even though the person may have reformed and built up substantial equities here in the US. This is a disturbing decision that goes against the spirit of the Garcia decision, justified by questionable semantics, with potentially devastating results to a lot of people out there.
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