The ruling in question involved Graciela Quilantan, who entered the United States without documentation in 2001. In 2010, the federal Board of Immigration Appeals ruled that despite her lack of proper documentation, Quilantan’s entry into the United States was legal, because she had been a passenger in a car that went through an official border crossing station, where she had not been asked about her citizenship status. The board ruled she had effectively been “inspected and admitted” to the country legally.
Like Quilantan, Rogelio Servin entered the United States via an official border crossing, where he was not questioned by immigration officials, according to the Sacramento Bee. Also like Quilantan – who married a U.S. citizen in 2006 – Servin is married to a U.S. citizen. He is the sole provider for his wife and three children. Servin was awarded legal residency in early January.
Unlike Quilantan, Servin has been convicted of a felony; however, his legal representatives successfully argued he has reformed, as proven by his commitment to his family, the Bee reported.
Given the Obama administration’s avowals to focus deportation efforts on convicted criminals, the result in Servin’s case might be considered especially remarkable. Still, relatively few immigrants have invoked the Quilantan precedent that won Servin his right to remain in the country.
“It’s hard to speculate how many immigrants this could help because it is judged on a case-by-case basis on how they entered, but there’s a vast population that has driven over in a car and entered legally,” an expert in immigration told the Bee.