Erroneously Denied Green Card Issued
We are delighted to have assisted a couple in rapidly reversing a denial by USCIS of form I-485, application for Lawful Permanent Residence or a “green card.” The couple, a U.S. citizen and a European, had properly filed an I-130/I-485 “onestep” application to obtain Lawful Permanent Residence for the foreign wife, based on the I-130 petition filed by her U.S. citizen husband. Because the wife had earlier participated in a “J-1” visa exchange program which subjected her to the two-year “home residence requirement,” the couple had also applied for, and been granted, a Form I-612 waiver based on a “no objection” letter. In fact, they had done everything necessary to obtain the wife’s green card. However, the immigration officer interviewing the couple was somehow unaware of the approved waiver, although the USCIS computer system should have reflected the approval, and the couple handed the officer a folder of documents containing the I-612 approval notice. When the couple got home and realized that the officer had not taken the approval notice, they called USCIS immediately with the receipt number and date of approval. Despite this prompt action, the wife’s green card was denied, based on the supposed lack of a waiver. To add to the stress, the denial stated that the wife’s work permit would be revoked in 18 days, endangering her ability to carry out her research and supervise her students. We met with the couple on November 30, 2016 and immediately prepared to file a timely motion to reopen and reconsider, while simultaneously reaching out to the Service Center Director and liaison regarding the mistaken denial. Two days after hiring us, USCIS notified the clients that the I-485 had been reopened and approved. Ten days later, the physical card had already been delivered. We are thrilled that USCIS took such unusually prompt action to remedy its mistake, and that the wife no longer has to worry about her ability to carry out her responsibilities at work or to travel abroad.
Removal of conditions on permanent residence with waiver of joint filing requirement
We are delighted that one of our clients was recently approved for her Permanent Resident Card after filing a petition to remove the conditions on her residence, with a waiver of the joint filing requirement. We documented the good faith of the marriage and the treatment to which our client had been subjected by her former husband, including infidelity. After filing the petition, we waited for nearly a year before receiving a request for further evidence, and had to wait another 10 months before receiving the approval notice. In the meantime, we made numerous requests about the status of the petition as it was outside of normal processing times. Our client has since remarried and is now happily settled with her new husband in Virginia. We are thrilled that she will now be able to move on with her life as a permanent resident.
Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility Success Story
We are thrilled to have helped another beautiful and deserving family to remain together in the United States. After three years of complex legal procedures, our office was successful in obtaining lawful permanent residency for our client, an accomplished professional, exemplary mother of two young children and devoted wife of a US citizen. Needless to say, our client and her family are extremely happy and grateful for the outcome of the case.
With our client’s permission, we are happy to share with our readers some of their words of gratitude: “What words can we possibly use to say what is in our heart right now, you made it happen with your meticulous and diligent work. Many thanks for all of your effort, kindness and knowledge of the law and of our family’s feelings and needs. You are an awesome group of professionals!”
This immigration matter started as a fairly common removal of conditions on residence case. However, soon enough, the case took an unexpected turn. During the first interview at USCIS, the immigration officer alleged that fifteen years ago, our client had submitted a fraudulent asylum application by using a false name and false biographic information. After the first interview, the case was continued for further investigation by USCIS. At a second interview, our client admitted that, indeed, a long time ago, when she was very young and desperately seeking a way to unite with her family members in the United States, she unfortunately relied on someone else to fill out and submit an asylum application on her behalf. To our surprise, despite this admission, USCIS went on and approved our client’s request to remove conditions on residency, and issued her lawful permanent resident card.
However, two months later, USCIS issued a notice of intent to rescind our client’s lawful permanent resident status, stating that her misrepresentations (pertaining to the asylum claim) made her inadmissible under INA Section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) and that although she might have been eligible to seek a waiver of the inadmissibility as a spouse of a US citizen, she failed to file Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility. In response to this notice, our office filed a nunc pro tunc Form I-601 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility which unfortunately was subsequently denied by USCIS. Following the denial of the nunc pro tunc waiver application, we persuaded USCIS to give our client a second chance and allow her to submit a new application to adjust status, along with a new waiver application and a nunc pro tunc application to reapply for admission after removal, in exchange for our client’s voluntary consent to the rescission of her previously obtained lawful permanent resident status.
Our team prepared a very thorough and well-documented new waiver application. In support of the application, we emphasized that our client is an extremely accomplished professional, a devoted mother and wife, and a valuable member of the community and that her removal from the United States would result in extreme hardship to her US citizen husband. We are delighted that USCIS was persuaded by our arguments and evidence and approved our client’s new applications to adjust status and waive the grounds of inadmissibility. Our client can now fulfill her quintessential “American dream” of working hard, raising her children and giving back to the community. Our heartfelt congratulations to our client and her lovely family!
Asylum granted for FGM survivor
We are so happy that asylum has finally been granted to a survivor of female genital cutting who has been separated from her older children and husband for years due to seeking to protect herself and her youngest daughter. The Asylum Office had initially refused to grant asylum to our client despite the persecution she had suffered, which included involuntary female genital cutting and forced marriage. They also placed the client in removal (deportation) proceedings in immigration court. However, after strong advocacy, including numerous inquiries, meetings, a brief, and a second asylum interview, the asylum office reversed its initial erroneous decision that “changed circumstances” meant our client did not qualify for asylum.
Our client had been subjected to female genital cutting during infancy, as well as a forced marriage as a young woman. Although the client grew to love and respect her husband, the effects of the genital cutting caused her difficulties and pain, which impacted her marital relationship. Both she and her husband opposed the procedure, having seen its negative effects. Yet, due to the power of elders in their culture, they were unable to prevent their older female children from being subjected to the same damaging procedure. Our client had the opportunity to travel to the U.S., and while here, applied for asylum based upon the persecution she had undergone as a female member of her tribe. She also explained her fear that her youngest daughter, who had been born in the U.S., would be subjected to genital cutting, and that our client and her husband would be powerless to prevent it, and/or would be subjected to mistreatment or even termination of parental rights for attempting to do so. An expert report and copious documentation demonstrated that our client’s fears were realistic, and that the government of her country would not protect her or her children. Upon re-considering the case, the asylum office granted asylum and the court terminated removal proceedings against the client. The rest of the client’s family will soon be joining her and the newest member of their family here in the U.S.
Asylum victory for Middle Eastern client
BKM&M is delighted that an asylum applicant from the Middle East and her two children have been granted final asylum approval. Our client had received death threats in her native country due to her work for an international company with ties to the U.S. Virtually all of this individual’s former colleagues had also received serious threats, and some had been kidnapped or killed. In the most horrific case, a colleague’s body showed clear evidence of torture using a drill. In addition to the danger due to her previous job, the client was in danger for additional reasons, including extremist groups’ hostility toward her ethnic group, her actual and imputed political opinion, and her status as a woman living in a household without a man. After our client’s interview with the Arlington Asylum Office, she first obtained a recommended grant. This means that the government agreed that she had a well-founded fear of persecution based on one or more protected grounds. However, they had not yet completed all background checks, a process that is often delayed for Middle Eastern and/or Muslim clients. With the final grant, our client and her family are now on a track toward lawful permanent residence and eventual citizenship. We are thrilled for her, and so proud of all that she has already accomplished here—mastering English, getting a job in a new field, and impressing her employer so much that she was offered a promotion after only a few months.
Naturalization of long-time client who was previously detained by ICE
We are thrilled that a beautiful family now has the right to be together forever in the U.S. with the recent naturalization of a long-time client. We were first approached by a frantic U.S. citizen in 2007. She was frightened and confused because her fiancé, who had come to the U.S. as a student, had just been arrested by ICE and was in detention. Fortunately, we were able to assist the couple through many steps in their case and lives: obtaining release of the non-citizen, assisting the couple in filing the necessary documents after their marriage, representing them before USCIS and the Immigration Court, and obtaining a judicial order granting the husband a Permanent Residence Card (Green Card). The couple has moved several times and now has two children together. Throughout all these changes in their lives, we have been privileged to continue to work with them and share their happiness that the entire family now enjoys U.S. citizenship.
Family-based visa petition reaffirmed after attempted revocation by US Embassy in Ethiopia
Our office recently assisted a mother and her adult daughter in defending the validity of an approved I-130 family-based visa petition. The mother, a native of Ethiopia and a US lawful permanent resident, had filed the visa petition for her daughter several years ago, under the Family 2B category as the unmarried adult daughter of a lawful permanent resident. When the priority date recently became current, the daughter attended an interview at the US Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to apply for the immigrant visa. Based on information obtained at the interview, the Embassy official concluded that the daughter had married her long-time partner under Ethiopian common law and denied the visa. The Embassy sent the petition back to USCIS with the recommendation that it be revoked. Our office was able to demonstrate to USCIS, using provisions of the Ethiopian civil family law and factual information provided by our clients, that her relationship was not legally considered a marriage under Ethiopian law, and therefore our client was correctly categorized as “unmarried” for purposes of US immigration law. USCIS agreed with our arguments and reaffirmed the approval of the visa petition, which is being sent back to the Embassy to allow our client to obtain the immigrant visa.
Citizenship granted for client with previous criminal history
We are happy for one of our long-term clients who has now reached his ultimate goal of becoming a U.S. citizen. Because of a long-ago brush with the law, obtaining lawful permanent residence for him required us to demonstrate that his offense did not make him “inadmissible.” Upon application for naturalization, we provided documentation of the many ways in which he has contributed to his community, meeting or surpassing the standard for good moral character, and meeting all requirements for naturalization. Now that he has been sworn in as a citizen, he is truly a full member of our society, and looks forward to being able to vote in his first election.
TPS for Sierra Leoneans
We are delighted that we recently received approvals for a parent and child from Sierra Leone for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and employment authorization. This permits our clients to remain safely in the U.S. rather than risking their health by returning to Sierra Leone.
Minor child of World Bank employee granted permanent residence
We are happy to report that we recently received an approval for the green card of a minor child of a World Bank employee. The child was eligible to adjust his status from G-4 non-immigrant to permanent resident as he was younger than twenty-five years old and had fulfilled the requisite physical presence requirements: while in non-immigrant status, the child resided and was physically present in the U.S. for a total of at least half of the last seven years; and the child had a combined period of physical residence in the U.S. of at least seven years between the ages of five and twenty-one. The child’s new permanent resident status puts him on the path to U.S. citizenship and to possibly sponsoring his parents for permanent resident status as well.
Client granted waiver of inadmissibility for unlawful presence and permanent residency
We recently helped a young man from Mexico become a lawful permanent resident. Our client was the beneficiary of an approved I-130 petition filed by his stepmother, but needed a waiver of inadmissibility for unlawful presence in the US before he could become a permanent resident. We were able to demonstrate the extreme hardship that the family – our client’s father, stepmother, and three younger sisters – would have faced, both financially and emotionally, if he were forced to leave the US. This included a response to a lengthy Request for Evidence from USCIS, which requested further proof of this extreme hardship. Happily, the waiver application was approved and we successfully assisted our client with the immigrant visa and consular interview processes. We are overjoyed that our client will be able to remain in the US as a permanent resident and will not be separated from a loving, supportive family.
FGM-based asylum victory: The Gambia
An Immigration Judge in Detroit, MI recently granted asylum to our clients, a married couple from the Gambia from the Fula and Mandinka tribes. The wife, who was the principal applicant, had been forced to undergo Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as a young girl, an extremely painful and psychologically damaging procedure that left her with significant physical and emotional scars. Our client sought asylum in the US after family members back in the Gambia began planning to perform FGM against her US born 2 year old daughter against her will. As our client explained in her claim, police and other government officials would not assist her with protecting her child as the practice of FGM is so widespread and accepted in the Gambia. The Immigration Judge agreed that our client had suffered past persecution as a victim of FGM and that she had a well-founded fear of persecution so as to qualify for asylum. The win was particularly gratifying as the initial Immigration Judge that heard the case before retiring at one point indicated that he would make a finding that our client’s asylum application was frivolous based on what he perceived to be intentional omissions and inconsistencies in the record. Working carefully with the client to understand the circumstances that lead to such issues with the record, we were able to successfully explain why our client had chosen not to reveal certain personal information that was not relevant to her application. We are thrilled that this young family will now be able to remain together in the safety of the US and that the couple’s two (a second daughter was born while the case was pending) US citizen children can avoid such a torturous procedure.
Client granted expedited naturalization
Earlier this year, we represented a young woman from South America who is married to a United States citizen. The representation resulted in our client being granted permanent residency status in March 2014. Normally, someone obtaining residency status based on a marriage has to wait at least three years before applying for naturalization. However, this client needed to become naturalized more quickly so that she could join her husband who was stationed overseas in Asia, working in an important post with a company engaged in the development of foreign trade and commerce of the United States. Relying on a provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act which allows for expedited naturalization under certain, strictly construed instances, we were able to use this provision to advocate for the client in her application and interview process so that she was sworn in as a US citizen in slightly over three months. The case required our attorneys to appear in person at the local immigration office on four separate occasions to make sure that the various stages of the case proceeded as rapidly as possible. Our client, now a U.S. citizen, is happy to be living with her husband as he performs his important duties to the benefit of US foreign commerce.
EB-1, Extraordinary ability petition approval
We have recently assisted an extraordinarily talented individual to obtain permanent residency based on his expertise in the field of water resource management and climate change. Our client holds a Ph.D. in irrigation engineering from a reputable U.S. university and has been recognized globally as an expert in his field.
Generally, there is a very high legal standard that has to be met in order to demonstrate eligibility for the EB-1 extraordinary ability classification. For this purpose, a petitioner must establish that he or she is one of those few individuals who have been recognized as being at the top of their field of expertise. To demonstrate extraordinary ability, a petitioner must meet at least three out of the ten regulatory criteria. Also, petitioners need to establish their intention to come to the United States to work in their field.
We worked closely with our client to develop a strong case and we argued that he met four out of the ten eligibility criteria. First, we noted that, through his valuable academic research and work projects, our client made numerous original scholarly and scientific contributions to the field of water resource management. Second, we noted that he is the author of scholarly articles in professional publications and other major media, and explained his role and contributions in each of these publications. We also showed that he acted as peer reviewer for the work of other professionals and that he is a member of professional associations which require outstanding achievements of their members and where membership can be obtained by invitation only.
As a lawful permanent resident, our client continues to bring important contributions by optimizing irrigation systems and developing new strategies that deal with the challenges imposed by climate change and the continuous increase of water demand in the United States. This is a clear example of how our nation can benefit from the expertise of highly skilled international professionals who enrich this country by living and working here. We are delighted that our client, together with his wife and their adorable two-year-old daughter, are now officially U.S. lawful permanent residents.
Asylum granted in Immigration Court
Recently a BKM&M client was granted asylum by an Immigration Judge in Baltimore after demonstrating past persecution and a well-founded fear of persecution on account of his sexual orientation. Our client had lived in several countries in Africa’s Great Lakes region where same sex relationships are either officially or unofficially condemned. Due to the harsh legal punishment and severe societal discrimination, our client initially tried to keep his sexuality a secret but when it was inadvertently discovered his life was threatened and a close family member was killed by authorities. He also suffered unlawful detention, custodial abuse, and employment termination all on account of his homosexuality. Since coming to the US our client has been able to resume his studies and get counseling. Now with a grant of asylum he will be able to work, enroll in a matriculating university program and hopefully gain a sense of peace and safety after all he has been through. We were thrilled and honored to be able to help this courageous, deserving individual gain a safe haven and a chance to rebuild his life.
Young man with TPS granted permanent residency through marriage
Usually we feature particularly difficult or unusual cases in our success stories. However, a lovely young couple with a relatively straightforward case asked to be a “success story.” We know that much can go wrong even with an “ordinary” case and are so pleased to share in this family’s happiness. A Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) woman petitioned for her husband, who had Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Although he was allowed to work and stay here, he had no path to citizenship and never knew whether Congress might terminate TPS for his country. Because he had entered the country illegally initially, he needed to enter with an Advance Parole to be able to adjust status to become an LPR. The husband traveled to his home country using Advance Parole (AP). Under the case Arrabelly and Yerrabelly, this permitted him to adjust status in the U.S. because the AP counted as a lawful entry, but the travel did not trigger the 3-year or 10-year bars for leaving the U.S. It was as if he came in without ever going out! His wife filed a Form I-130 petition for him, and when his priority date was reached, we submitted form I-485 and the other necessary forms. The couple was soon scheduled for an interview, which took less than 15 minutes before the officer congratulated the husband and told him he would be recommending him for LPR status. The family is overjoyed to know that the husband is now on a path to U.S. citizenship. And we are overjoyed that these hardworking and kind members of our community feel more stability as they raise their children, and they will be able to vote and participate fully in our democracy when they become U.S. citizens.
Young couple with newborn son recently reunited!
BKM&M recently assisted a young engaged couple to reunite in time for their son’s first birthday. Our client came to the US on a visitor’s visa and met his fiancé while visiting family in Virginia. After his US citizen fiancé became pregnant the couple decided to marry and went to see another attorney about his immigration options. At that point our client had overstayed his visa by approximately three months. Unfortunately the other attorney was not aware of our client’s ability to marry here in the US and be sponsored for permanent residence by his US citizen wife and instead advised the client to leave the US and return to his home country. This meant that he was separated from his fiancé and missed the birth of his son. We assisted the couple with a successful fiancé visa which allowed him to return and reunite with his young family.
Immigration Judge asylum denial reversed
We are overjoyed that a client from Africa who suffered severe persecution will now be granted asylum. Attorney Toni Maschler appealed the erroneous denial of asylum by the immigration court, after taking over the case from another firm. A three-judge panel of the Board of Immigration Appeals (Board) agreed unanimously that the judge’s adverse credibility finding was “clearly erroneous” and that our appeal should be sustained. The Board found that the judge’s “general sense of disbelief” was not supported by specific evidence to justify the negative credibility finding, pointing out several errors in the court’s analysis. Specifically, the decision mentioned that the court’s failure to give any weight to mental health documents because “they were based solely on the respondent’s statements” was improper. In addition, the Board disagreed with the judge’s finding that the client provided insufficient detail regarding the political activities in which the client had been involved as well as the persecution that the client had suffered. The decision also noted that the judge erred in finding a lack of corroborating evidence, describing the corroboration which had been provided. After pointing out the specific errors in the earlier decision, the Board held that the client had indeed suffered persecution and was eligible for asylum. Congratulations to Toni and our client!
Removal proceedings reopened for client eligible to become a lawful permanent resident
Our office successfully petitioned the Office of the Chief Counsel of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to join a motion to reopen removal proceedings for our client who is married to a US citizen and now eligible for adjustment of status. The client had previously applied for asylum in removal proceedings with another attorney and was ordered removed after her application was denied. She remained in the US under an order of supervision as ICE was not able to get travel documents to return her to her country of origin. During this time she married a US citizen and had a baby. Our client’s husband filed an I-130 petition on her behalf and once it was approved she became eligible to adjust her status. However because she was previously in removal proceedings, any application for adjustment of status would need to be presented to the Board of Immigration Appeals. As the time to present a motion to reopen had long expired, our client’s options were limited. Fortunately joint motions, presented by both the Respondent and ICE, fall under an exception to the usual filing deadline of 30 days for motions to reopen. We are thrilled that this client will now have the opportunity to become a lawful permanent resident.
Green card for individual with an advanced degree whose work is in the national interest
BKM&M recently assisted an international human rights lawyer in obtaining permanent residence as an employee with an advanced degree whose work is in the national interest. By demonstrating the national importance of his work advancing human rights in the field of public health, our client was able to waive the labor certification process that many employment-based permanent residence applications require and avoid having his employer sponsor him.
Marriage-based green card pursuant to INA § 245(i)
We are happy to report that our client, a mother of four US citizen children who has been living and working in the US since 1992, when she first entered at the age of ten, recently received her green card based on a visa petition filed by her US citizen husband. Because of our client’s young age, she did not remember the details of her entry to the US. Although she recalled presenting documents to an immigration official at a US airport, she did not have any proof of the entry.
Generally an applicant for adjustment of status needs to show that he or she was inspected and admitted at a US port of entry. However prior to April 30, 2001, individuals who did not make a lawful entry or who in some circumstances did not otherwise maintain their lawful status in the US, were still able to adjust their status (receive a green card) in the US by paying a penalty fine of $1000. Certain individuals who had visa petitions, applications to adjust status or labor certifications filed prior to April 30, 2001 and meet other requirements, may still take advantage of this provision known as 245(i); the corresponding section of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Fortunately our client remembered that in approximately 1995, her former stepfather had filed an immigration petition on her behalf. Although she attempted to apply for a green card based on the petition, the marriage between her mother and stepfather ended beforehand and her application was denied. Using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), we were able to obtain copies of the prior petition to demonstrate our client’s eligibility for the green card under 245(i). After living in the US for over twenty one years without lawful status, our client was thrilled to receive the news that her application would be approved and she is now a lawful permanent resident. We wish our client and her lovely family all the best!
Family of former police officer from South American country who fears persecution by drug cartels granted asylum
BKM&M recently assisted our clients, a former police officer from a South American country who specialized in anti-narcotics, and his wife and children, in obtaining asylum in the US. Our clients feared retaliation from powerful drug cartels after involvement in enforcement actions against their leaders. We are happy to learn that our clients will be able to remain in the safety of the US and continue to build their lives here.
Adjustment of status and waiver of grounds of inadmissibility
We have recently helped a young individual who came to our office with a challenging situation. The client had applied for lawful permanent residence based on his marriage to a US citizen. However, a couple of years ago, he was arrested for possession of a very small quantity of marijuana. This incident, although minor, would have made him inadmissible under the current immigration laws, unless he proved that the arrest involved a single offense of simple possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana. Unfortunately, at the time of the arrest, the marijuana was not weighed and thus all the police reports failed to quantify the drug. Although the client had already submitted all existing reports, none of them specified the quantity of marijuana involved. We worked closely with our client and all parties involved in the criminal matter and obtained evidence that persuaded USCIS that amount in question was 30 grams or less. Thus, USCIS concluded that the client qualified for a waiver of grounds of inadmissibility under Section 212(h) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. We also assisted the client with his hardship waiver application and succeeded to establish that his US citizen spouse would suffer extreme hardship if her husband was removed to his home country. We were pleased to see that USCIS was satisfied with the documentation submitted and approved his application for lawful permanent residence in two weeks.
Adjustment of status through marriage
We recently assisted a delightful newlywed couple in obtaining lawful permanent residence status for the foreign national spouse, a citizen of New Zealand born in South Africa. The couple met while both were working on international development projects in Tanzania. When their African assignments ended they spent some time visiting each other but the long distance relationship became difficult and they decided to reunite in the US. The couple had this to say about their experience working with BKM&M: “[We] want to thank you so much for all of your support and consultation throughout the past year. We’re extraordinarily appreciative for your help; you made the residency process so clear and straightforward.” The happy couple is now settling down in the Virginia suburbs of DC where the wife helps develop curriculum for an inner-city teaching program and the husband designs websites for international development organizations. It was a pleasure helping a couple that is so dedicated to helping others!
Relief from Removal
We are delighted that a client who had been detained is now back with his family. The client, who was below 21, had been in temporary legal status in the U.S. when a parent was approved for a green card, making him eligible to “follow to join” the parent as a lawful permanent resident. Unfortunately, the client had been convicted of several minor crimes and was put in removal (deportation) proceedings. Because of the criminal history, we had to demonstrate that the client’s removal would cause his parent “extreme hardship,” and that the client deserved the Court’s positive exercise of discretion despite his previous mistakes. We were able to successfully demonstrate that separation from the son would cause hardship beyond “normal” hardship, and qualified as “extreme” due to multiple factors.
Furthermore, we were able to convince the Court that our client deserved the positive exercise of discretion. We look forward to hearing many positive things from this young man, who explained that he has learned from his mistakes, and is ready to “put away childish things” and be an asset to his family, community, church, and to this country.
Our client said that we were “a big part of this success story” – and nothing can make us happier than hearing these words. We are certainly so excited for this young individual, who has been scheduled for an oath ceremony and will soon become a US Citizen. The challenge in this case was to demonstrate that our client possessed the “good moral character” required to become a US Citizen despite two offenses that were committed more than seven years ago. We successfully demonstrated that his embezzlement offense was not an aggravated felony under Section 101(a)(43)(M)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. For this purpose, we argued that this was a “fraud” offense rather than a “theft” one and it involved a loss that was significantly less than the amount specified by the current regulations – therefore it did not qualify as an aggravated felony. We also argued that an offense involving possession of drug paraphernalia should be treated as the drug possession itself for the purposes of the exception provided by 8 CFR Section 316.10(b)(2)(iii), which excludes “a single offense for simple possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana” from the realm of offenses whose commission would mandate the finding of lack of good moral character. We are pleased that the Government agreed with our assessment that the client met the eligibility criteria provided by current laws and regulations, including the requirement for good moral character, and approved his application for naturalization.
Asylum case “unstuck”
An individual contacted us after his asylum case had been “stuck” for years. Although the individual made repeated inquiries, he was told only that his case was “pending.” Without a decision on his case, he had no way to see his family, as they could not visit the U.S. and he could not leave. We learned that the reason for the hold was a supposed association with a political party in his home country. We were able to demonstrate that the individual had no association with that political party, and get his case approved. Furthermore, once his approval was received, he was able to bring his family here, so they are permanently reunited.
Mandamus threat results in successful renewal of temporary visa
We successfully renewed a temporary worker case after USCIS delays endangered the organization and individual. Although there was absolutely no change in any relevant factor about the organization, the job, or the worker, USCIS mistakenly issued a notice of intent to deny and delayed deciding the case. The individual was at risk of losing his status, and the organization was at risk of losing their worker. We prepared to file suit, and sent a copy of the complaint to the highest levels we could reach at USCIS. Within two days, we received multiple calls and emails and the extension was approved less than a week afterwards.
Relief for abused spouse
A client received her 10-year green card after we filed to remove conditions on residence, with a waiver of the joint filing requirement. We documented the good faith of the marriage, and the mistreatment to which our client had been subjected by her American husband. The client is now doing great. She was able to travel home to visit family after a long time not seeing them, and is moving forward with her life. She looks forward to becoming a U.S. citizen soon, and being able to vote.
Suing the government for delayed naturalization
We successfully obtained naturalization for a client whose N-400 application had been “stuck” for years. Although the client had done nothing wrong, it turned out that at one time she had hired an unethical attorney who was later convicted of immigration fraud. USCIS placed a hold on all cases with which this attorney (now disbarred and in jail) had been connected. The client retained us to file a lawsuit in Federal District Court, which prompted USCIS to finally take action. Our former client was sworn in as a U.S. citizen and was so excited to be able to vote in a U.S. election for the first time.
Obtaining Permanent Residence in complex case
We successfully obtained Lawful Permanent Residence for an individual with a case that had apparently stumped other attorneys. Our client wrote us: “It has now been 5 months since my case was resolved favorably and I became a permanent resident of the United States. I felt so relieved, happy, amazing (you name it and I felt it) when a letter came for me in the mail that started off by saying ‘Welcome to the United States of America.’ I have also been able to spend a couple months in my hometown on the other side of the world. I had not seen my family in 15 years and my husband and son had never met my family in person. Traveling overseas was such a breeze and I felt so proud to return to the U.S. knowing that ‘I belong.’
Your office did something for me that at least 2 other lawyers wouldn’t even try and another wasn’t able to complete (these weren’t your run of the mill lawyers either). Over the course of 5 years and 5 interviews with 5 different USCIS officers, I fought to become a legal permanent resident and I believe it would not and could not have happened it weren’t for Liz and Alden.
… Your team will always hold a place in my heart for the unbearable weight they helped get off my chest when absolutely and I mean ABSOLUTELY no one else could!”
Thank you to our client for the kind words – no matter how often we have called clients with good news, each time is a new celebration.
Citizenship for adopted child
An American teenager is now officially a U.S. citizen after many years of being in limbo. He had been adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen when he was a baby. Unfortunately, his mother’s previous attorney did not handle the case properly, leaving the completely “American” kid with no lawful immigration status. After demonstrating that the adoption was full and final in accordance with the law of the child’s country of origin, and that the child had been inspected and admitted to the U.S. in a sloppy inspection, the young man became a Lawful Permanent Resident and then a U.S. citizen.
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
A high school student successfully obtained a green card through Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). This law permits a child who is determined by a Juvenile court to have been abandoned, neglected, or abused by his or her parent(s) to remain in the United States if it is in the child’s interest to do so. Sometimes the child may be in foster care, or with a friend. In this case, the teenager was happily living with relatives and was a star student. Our former client will shortly be attending college in the U.S.
Removal relief and naturalization
A former client was granted “212(c)” relief in Court, and ultimately naturalized. Our former client had lived in the U.S. since he was a kid. Less than five years after becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident while still “young and stupid” he made a mistake and helped a friend who was involved in bad activities. His attorney told him to plead guilty, which he did, not realizing that the conviction of a “Crime Involving Moral Turpitude” within five years of Lawful Permanent Residence made him deportable. His defense attorney had not told him anything about this. Fortunately, because of the date of his plea agreement, he qualified for a special kind of exception. He is a wonderful family man and community member who does substantial volunteer work, and has more than made up for his one mistake.
Successful Appeal of denied asylum case
A client who had been persecuted in her home country based on her political opinion was found not to be “credible” by the immigration judge, who denied her case. We successfully pointed out that the Judge had not based his decision on facts in the record, but instead on speculation. The Board of Immigration Appeals agreed with us and remanded the case back to the immigration judge, who granted it.
Successful reversal of finding on “firm resettlement” and “discretionary factors”
We appealed an asylum denial which had been based on an erroneous understanding of the case. In this unusual case, the Court had granted “Withholding of Removal” which requires showing a 51% chance of persecution, and denied asylum (which requires a 10% chance). The reason for this odd result was the Court’s finding that the asylum seeker had been “firmly resettled” in another country prior to coming to the U.S. as well as supposed negative “discretionary factors.” Although the client had indeed lived in another country after leaving the country where he had suffered and feared persecution, his status there was temporary and precarious. We successfully demonstrated that the client had not been firmly resettled, and that there were no negative discretionary factors, or certainly none significant enough to justify a denial of asylum. Our former client and his family are now safely all in the U.S.
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