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Case Status Updates: Green Card for Asylee, and Cancellation of Removal

Case Status Update | The Shapiro Law Firm, LLC

Asylee Green Card Approval: The Shapiro Law Firm would like to congratulate 1 of our clients, (hereinafter, "Client X"), who was approved to adjust his status from an Asylee to a Permanent Resident! X is a native and citizen of Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast). X came to the U.S. in July of 2010 on a B1/B2 Visitor Visa and timely filed for Asylum (within a year of his entry.). Prior to coming to the United States, X and his father where members of the RDR Political Party (“Rassemblement Des Republicains”) in Cote d'Ivoire. X also worked as a Publicist. In 2008, X was nominated as the Secretary of the local branch of the RDR.

In 2005, X's father was arrested by the the government forces of President Laurent Gbagbo for being an activist and was taken to jail where he was beaten, tortured and killed.

X, himself, was arrested on 4 separate occasions for peacefully protesting (in 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2009). 3 of the 4 times, X was detained for long periods of time and was beaten, tortured, interrogated and subject to deplorable living conditions. After spending about a week in detention, X was released as a result of pressure from NGO and human rights groups. At that point, he and his family decided that it was no longer safe for X in Cote d'Ivoire, so X applied for and obtained a Visitor Visa to come to the United States.

About a month after X came to the Untied States, government forces went to his home looking for him and when X was not there, they destroyed his home and threatened and beat his wife, who subsequently suffered a miscarriage from the beating.

Although X timely applied for Asylum, he had to prove his case in Immigration Court because the U.S. Department of Homeland Security claimed that since Laurent Gbagbo lost the 2011 election to Alassane Ouattara, X no longer had a fear of future persecution, as his political party was now allegedly in power. In actuality, Gbagbo infamously refused to give up power and the two political parties had a roe of violent clashes before Gbagbo was forcefully removed from the Presidency. Even after Gbagbo was removed from power, his supporters continued to attack the members of X's political party.

Laurent Gbagbo became the first head of state to be indicted and tried by the International Criminal Court in January 2016 for human rights violations and war crimes that resulted in over 3,000 deaths. Gbagbo's trial is set to conclude any day, and he has been detained pending the outcome of the trial.

After a trial on the merits, the Immigration Judge found X to be credible and granted his claim for asylum.

What is next for X? X's wife and children, still in Cote d'Ivoire, have approved Asylee Relative Petitions and are looking forward to finally being able to join X safely in the United States. In addition, since X's Green Card was based on his status as an Asylee, X only has to wait 4 years to apply for his citizenship (instead of the normal 5 years).

Green Card Approval based on Approved Cancellation of Removal: The Shapiro Law Firm would also like to congratulate 1 of our clients, (hereinafter, "Client Y"), who received a Green Card based on her approved Cancellation of Removal application. Y is a native and citizen of Indonesia who entered the U.S. in March of 2001 as a B1/B2 Visa Holder.

Y applied for asylum in 2011. Although it was more than a year after her entry into the United States, Y argued that she was entitled to the 1-year exception to the filing requirement due to changed country conditions. Like many other Chinese Christian Indonesians, Y fled her native country after the 1998 riots. When she arrived safely in the United States, she was too afraid to apply for any protection from the government. Since she failed to file within a year of entry, Y's case was sent to the Immigration Court.

Since Y has been in the U.S., she has gotten married and has given birth to two U.S. Citizen children. When Y came to our office, we explained that although she has suffered past persecution and the new country conditions may excuse her untimely filing, it would be a tough hill to climb. However, Y had been physically present in the U.S. at that point for over 10 years and had good moral character. In addition, her U.S. Citizen daughter suffers from autism and sever pas PlanoValgus bilateral feet with abnormality of Gait. Based on this information, we concluded that Y presented a strong case for cancellation of removal, since her daughter's medical conditions could not be properly treated in Indonesia, and thus Y's U.S. Citizen daughter would suffer an extreme hardship in the event that Y was ordered removed.

Y had her Individual Hearing in Immigration Court in November of 2014, but since only 4,000 cancellation applications can be approved each year, Y did not receive a decision until this past September when she finally learned that her cancellation of removal application was approved. Cancellation applicants must file their adjustment of status applications concurrently, and thus her status was automatically changed to a Permanent Resident.

What is next for Y and her family? Y and her family are happily living together in Brooklyn, New York. Y can now file a marriage petition for her husband so that he may become a Permanent Resident as well.

(*please note that all identification information has been removed in order to protect our clients' privacy and in order to fully comply with attorney advertising rules and regulations*)