Throwaway account for obvious reasons.

TL;DR - potential misrepresentation of marriage to a US citizen during CBP secondary, now in US adjusting status, looking for any advice

So, I'm currently consulting with a lawyer on this, but if anyone on this sub has any additional advice, I'd really appreciate it.

I have NZ citizenship and entered the US on F1 status, started working after grad on OPT in 2018 (later extended to STEM OPT) and married my current USC husband in mid-2019. In December 2019, we made the biggest mistake of our lives when we decided to TRAVEL OUTSIDE OF THE US on my expired F1 visa & EAD (not a re-entry document) to visit my parents in NZ. Being dumb, I didn't know that the EAD wasn't a valid re-entry document until we got back to the US in early 2020. Yep, the NZ customs people let me on a plane to the US with an expired visa, still don't know how that happened.

When I put my documents in front of the first CBP officer, he was PISSED and yelled at me for presenting an expired visa, and sent me to secondary. The secondary officers were even worse, told me to sit down and shut up, one of them said "call your boyfriend and tell him to wait", not knowing that was my husband. I tried to speak up and he told me to shut up again.

It was 8 in the night, I've been sleep-deprived for 15 hours and counting, and I was so dead scared that when the guy started interrogating me about my personal info (all recorded), I answered "no" to the question "are you married", thinking I'd upset the guy who told me to shut up when I tried correcting him on the bf line. Now I know that was a horrible, horrible move.

The thing is: CBP let me through with a visa waiver, which I understand is incredibly rare. I now have a valid I-94 for the last time we entered, and we only started our adjustment of status process 10 months later. When we consulted with our lawyer about this, she said a) this misrepresentation may not be material, because CBP can let in F1 visas married to US citizens, b) USCIS might not look at this record and c) if immigration asks about this record of conversation (which they may or may not look at), we should apply for the I-601 waiver, but I understand extreme hardship is very difficult to prove, especially in our case. I'm a NZ citizen, we don't plan to have children and are relatively young, but if I'm barred permanently, we would HAVE to separate because my husband works in a very specialized field that keeps him employed based on his current location in the US only.

Whatever names you decide to call me from reading this, I've called myself worse. I'm absolutely devastated and angry at myself, and half the time I just want to die. Any advice for this kind of unique situation? Would USCIS actually dig deep into CBP records based on my iffy entry dates? Are we doomed?

Thanks in advance for anything you might be able to give me. Again, I know this is the dumbest possible thing I could've done, and I'd redo everything if I could.

submitted by /u/immiTHROWa
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source https://www.reddit.com/r/immigration/comments/npowf1/willful_misrepresentation_help/

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