Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Immigration Court Victory

Our client is a Canadian citizen. He is a computer professional. Before we were retained, he was hired by a United States company which provides computer consulting services to Fortune 500 companies on a contract specific basis. Our client had been granted Trade NAFTA Professional status on three occasions by the Department of Homeland Security to perform such services.

When the client was between contractual assignments, he went to Canada to visit family and friends and then returned to the United States, utilizing his TN status. On one such occasion, he was denied entry and told that he had been committing fraud on prior occasions when he returned to the United States while he was in between assignments, and as a result, that he was inadmissible for life.

At this point, he was referred to our office by his Canadian lawyer. We investigated all of the facts and circumstances and came to the conclusion that the Department of Homeland Security has misapplied the law. We attempted to persuade the Department of Homeland Security to change their position, but they refused to do so.

We then had an Immigration Court proceeding instituted so that an Immigration Judge could determine his admissibility. We submitted numerous exhibits to the Immigration Court on his behalf to substantiate our position. We then went to trial, and after hearing all of the testimony and reviewing all of the exhibits which we had admitted into evidence, the attorney for the Department of Homeland Security agreed with us that her client had made a mistake. We then entered into a stipulation in open court agreeing that no fraud or willful misrepresentation of a material fact had been made.

The Immigration Judge, who also had heard all of the testimony and reviewed all of the exhibits, also agreed and issued a Court Order to that effect. As a result, the Department of Homeland Security can no longer deny our client admission to the United States on the basis of the alleged fraud.

Call my office at 716-854-1541 to see how I can help you find a solution to your immigration problem.

Obama calls for Immigration Reform in State of the Union address

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Man the Deportations: Full Speed Ahead!

The Obama administration's FY2011 404,000 deportations mandate has changed the immigration landscape in ways that are far reaching. The mandate is clogging our immigration courts to the point where due process is being eviscerated. Immigration Judges are overwhelmed, and Assistant Chief Counsel in many jurisdictions simply do not have the resources to properly handle their caseload.

Since the Obama administration has consciously decided to deport as many immigrants as humanly possible I have witnessed a rush to remove people like no other. This President's administration has made it quite clear that they intend to deport as many immigrants as possible, and they intend to do it as quickly as possible. Due process be damned. It is as if the humanity has been sucked right out of the deportation system altogether.

There once was a time before this President took office that attorneys were given time required to prepare motions to reopen cases when one of their clients were facing immediate removal from the United States. Not any more.

For example, I have a current case I'm working on that involves a man that has been in the United States for over twenty years. He escaped his native country where as an army soldier he was brutally tortured by other soldiers as well as by his commanding officer directly on account of his ethnicity... And when I say brutally tortured, I mean BRUTALLY tortured. In any event, my client ultimately escaped his country in order to save his life when he saw commissioned officers of his own ethnicity deserting the army because their lives were also in serious jeopardy.

After arriving in the United States my client was immediately encountered by immigration officials who locked him up and instituted immigration court proceedings against him. A lawyer represented him before the Immigration Court who appears to have been incompetent because my client was never even asked the threshold question of whether he had any fears of returning to his native country. As a result, the only form of relief from deportation that was requested by this lawyer on my client's behalf was voluntary departure. Asylum was never requested, which would have been a slam dunk case. After being granted voluntary departure my client was released from custody. He never departed the United States, and he has remained here ever since.

Twenty years have now elapsed and my client is married to a United States citizen. When my client met his wife she had two children from a previous relationship and he raised them as if they were his own. Many years later his wife sponsored him for a Green Card. It was discovered that my client was subject to a twenty-year-old final order of deportation, and despite the fact that he has no criminal convictions, and has been a law abiding member of United States society since his arrival, he was taken into custody and moved six hours away from from his family to the Buffalo Federal Detention Center in Batavia, New York to await his deportation.

I was retained on the 30th of December. I immediately contacted the deportation officer who was assigned to my client's case. I advised him that I was in the process of preparing a motion to reopen the 20 year old deportation order, as well as a motion for emergency stay of removal, and explained what the grounds for reopening were. The deportation officer told me that despite the fact that my client had been persecuted in the past, and expressed new fears of persecution as a result of a material change of country conditions in his native country, that the deportation officer would be moving forward with effectuating my client's deportation unless and until the order for stay was granted by the Immigration Court. Real humanitarian.

When I got off the phone I immediately drove the hour drive from my office to the detention facility in Batavia. I met with my client and prepared an asylum application. It took my client about three hours to describe all of the abuse that he suffered at the hands of agents of the government in his home country. He showed me the scars that he still bears. When listening to him it was evident that his emotional wounds where just as deep as the physical scars on his body. Hearing the accounting of his ordeal was mentally exhausting.

Once finished, I drove back to my office, and prepared the motion to reopen based on a material change of circumstances in my client's native country, and obtained evidence on the internet to corroborate my client's claim for asylum that would form the basis for the motion. I also prepared an emergency motion for stay of removal, and a motion for change of venue. These motions were filed the very next day on New Year's Eve. The deportation officer was provided a complete copy of everything.

After the close of business yesterday I received the Immigration Judge's order staying the deportation of my client. First thing this morning I faxed the Deportation Officer the order and called and left him a message asking him to consider releasing my client from custody pending a determination on the motion. The is fairly common practice, at least here in Buffalo, and I have another client who the government literally just agreed to release under very similar circumstances.

The Deportation officer called me back fairly quickly and told me that he would not even consider releasing my client from custody because he was subject to a final order of deportation. I explained to him that my client isn't going anywhere for quite some time. The officer then re-advised me that should the motion be denied that he will again quickly move to deport my client. I explained to him that even if the motion was denied that there is an appeals process that will result in further stays of my client's deportation for what may be years.

The Deportation Officer's response: "We will see about that." My response: "We certainly will."

The point being, the response I received today from the Deportation Officer was not common prior to Obama's election. Quite the contrary. Deportation officers were willing to work with defense counsel, especially on issues of custody. Apparently this Officer didn't get the memo.

I guess I will just chalk this up to more "change" you can believe in.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Green cards approved in only three months

Our clients are a Canadian family who are natives of India. Previously, we obtained L-1A Intracompany Transferee status for the husband and father, and derivative L-2 status for the wife and mother, and for their unmarried son who is under 21 years of age.

The husband and father had been deported as an overstay from the United States less than 10 years ago, measured from the date of his departure. Because he was inadmissible to the United States for a period of 10 years as a result of this deportation, we prepared and filed a Form I-212, Permission to Reapply After Deportation, with supporting documentation showing why the Department of Homeland Security should favorably exercise discretion on his behalf prior to the expiration of 10 years. The application was approved.

Nine years ago the wife’s U. S. citizen sister filed a petition on her behalf requesting that she be approved for green card purposes, which petition was approved. In August, 2010 visas became available for the wife in the Family Fourth Preference category for persons born in India. In September, 2010, we filed applications for green cards for the entire family. On December 17, 2010, the applications were approved, and our clients are now Lawful Permanent Residents of the United States.

Rep. Barton on CNN: Partisan gap on immigration reform 'almost irreconcilable'