Just a history lesson:
Before 9/11 you would get a couple of 1 year waivers, (sometimes only 6 months) and then after 1-3 waivers you would get the i-175 card application. You submitted the picture and a fee. They sent you back a card. I started waivers in 1998 so I only a few clients who got to this point before 9/11.
After 9/11 Immigration and Naturalization was in a quandary about waivers, especially since the hijackers all had student visas.
I was doing Bjj and MMA even back then and a teammate of mine was working at Pearson Airport for Immigration and Naturalization. One day a few months after 9/11 he warned me to tell all my clients that the i-175 card was going to stop working in a year and to get all my clients to apply for a new waiver.
So I called up everyone I knew and told them to re-apply. Some were skeptical and did nothing, and others applied as soon as they can. Remember that fingerprints were ink and paper back then, and you had to send them by mail to the RCMP with $25 to get the fingerprints back. The RCMP were slow because of 9/11 and getting a waiver went from 90 days to over a year. It was brutal.
The initial waivers were all 1 year waivers after that. They all came from local ports. Eventually they started to centralize them a bit and through my friend at the new "Homeland Security" and trial and error I could see that if you handed in your waiver at Pearson Airport in Toronto, the waiver was processed in Minnesota, and they started to be more lenient. My first 5 year waiver was from that port. I started to insist all clients (even if they lived in SS Marie or Ottawa) apply at Pearson.
Eventually companies copied me, to the point where in 2018 some clients of other companies were still telling people they MUST go to Pearson. (just saying you get a longer waiver if you do that)
Eventually when all waivers were centralized in Herndon Va, this technique of sending the clients changed to my present day strategy. Send everyone to the Rainbow Bridge, because they have the best hours and do not allow trucks. It doesn't matter WHERE you hand it in, they are processed at the same place.
Now Pearson has not taken waivers since July 2018 and the Rainbow Bridge is by far the best place in my region to hand in waivers.
Ironically, in Montreal they have very different rules about what is in their waiver packages than Ontario. And Michelle has made it clear that out west they are different yet again.
As for the i-175, it WAS a 'permanent waiver' but it was NOT a September letter. You were not granted an I-175 because you no longer needed a waiver, you were granted it because you need a waiver but pre 9/11 they didn't require you to keep applying.
That why I asked for clarification from Ken Scott. I have had people who have come in and had this old card. I always tell them to travel to the border and "see what they say". I don't want them thinking I told them to pay for a waiver they don't actually need.
Here is what makes no sense. In 2019 Trump America, where ICE is grabbing anyone they can, and they can now look into your phone at the border, and people are denied entry because they ADMIT to smoking pot, they are going to accept some old I-175 granted by an non-existent agency and not require him to ever pay any more fees? Just because someone sent a "case presentation"?
I am skeptical but more than happy to shelve that with some proof or at least a further explanation.