Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

A different interpretation of 'inspected and admitted' could help some legalize

As anyone who has tried to adjust immigration status knows, whether or not one entered the United States with inspection is a sticking point that can very often seal one's fate. Those who entered with temporary visas and overstayed illegally stand a far better chance of adjusting to legal status, say through marriage, than those who entered illegally in the first place.

But depending on how it's interpreted, an obscure 2010 immigration court ruling could change things for some who are relatives of U.S. citizens, the Sacramento Bee reports today. The ruling occurred in the case of Graciela Quilantan, a woman facing deportation who entered without documents - but did so by car. From a legal perspective, it's fascinating stuff. The story, which chronicles a recent case study that benefited, reads:

Quilantan, the wife of a U.S. citizen, was in a car driven by a U.S. citizen. Because she wasn't trying to sneak across and hadn't been questioned by the immigration officer who waved them into Texas, the court found she had been "inspected and admitted" legally.

Experts are still digesting the ruling and its ramifications.

"This has many of us immigration professors scratching our heads," said McGeorge School of Law professor Raquel Aldana.

The case doesn't apply to millions of undocumented immigrants who crossed rivers, mountains and deserts, evading U.S. immigration officials. But about half of all undocumented immigrants either walked or drove through official checkpoints and just weren't stopped and questioned, Aldana said.

Read more at: