Case Status Update: Work Permits (EAD) Approvals, VAWA Prima Face Case Established, DHS Agrees to Remand I-130 Denial
Replacement of Initial Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) for Asylum Applicant - We received the following approval notices for a replacement of an initial Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) or Work Permits for a client (hereinafter “Y”), who is a native and citizen of Nigeria. Y is a rider on his father’s asylum application which is based on their religion. Y's initial work permit was to her house but she never received it so she had to file for a replacement. The replacement card will be mailed to our office to ensure that it is not stolen or misplaced.
Initial Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) for Asylum Applicant - A client (hereinafter “Z”) is also a native and citizen of Nigeria. Z is a rider on his mother's asylum application that is also based on religion. This is Z's initial work permit. He and his family are awaiting their interview with the Asylum Office.
Renewal Employment Authorization Documents (EAD: We also received the following approval notices for Work Permit (EAD) renewals:
A client, (hereinafter, "X"), who is a native of United Arab Emirates and citizen of Pakistan. X's work permit is based on her pending asylum application. X is currently waiting for her first hearing before the Immigration Judge. Her work permit is valid for 2 years.
We also received an approval notice for a renewal work permit (EAD) for a client, (hereinafter, "W"), who is a native and citizen of Grenada. W's work permit (EAD) is based on her pending adjustment of status application and marriage petition filed by her U.S. Citizen Husband. W and her husband came to us a few months ago because they did not initially use a lawyer to file their applications and it had been over a year since their marriage interview with USCIS, yet they had received no further communications from the government. We have since sent a case status inquiry letter to USCIS and are awaiting a response to find out what the hold up is. We are confident that we will receive a response from USCIS soon. In the meantime, W can continue to legally work while she waits.
Finally, we received an approval notice for a work permit renewal for a client, (hereinafter “V”), a native and citizen of Mali. V's work permit is based on her grant of Withholding of Removal.V is required to renew her work permit every year to legally work in the United States.
Prima Facie Case Established for Violence Against Women's Act (VAWA) Self-Petitioner - We also received a notice that a VAWA Prima Face Case has been Established for a client, (hereinafter "U"), a native and citizen of Jamaica. U filed a for a Green Card as a VAWA Self-Petitioner based on the abuse and extreme cruelty that she has suffered at the hands of her U.S. Citizen spouse.
A Prima Face Determination does not mean that U's VAWA petition will ultimately be approved. What it does mean is that U has presented some evidence of each element of a VAWA claim to move on to the next stage of adjudication. It is a necessary first hurdle that VAWA petitioners must get over. It also allows U to apply for certain public benefits while her petition is pending, which can be very helpful for spouses who had to flee their marital home.
I-130 Marriage Petition Appeal of Denial - Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Agrees Case Needs to Be Reversed & Remanded - Finally, we received an excellent response to our appeal of the denial of an I-130 marriage petition for a client, (hereinafter "T"), who is a native and citizen of The Gambia.
T married her husband, a Naturalized U.S. Citizen, in March of 2014. T and her husband have 1 U.S. Citizen Child together. T's husband filed a marriage petition on T's behalf about a year after getting married. After filing, T and her husband attended 2 interviews with USCIS, the second of which was a Stokes Interview in January of 2016. They did not use an attorney for the filings or to attend the interviews with them.
In September of 2016, USCIS sent a Notice of Decision (NOD) denying the I-130 stating that they did not believe the marriage was real. The NOD based the denial on discrepancies between the answers of T and her husband during their interview and a lack of financial documentation. T and her husband were given 30 days to appeal this decision or it would become final. That is when T and her husband came to our office. Upon review of the NOD, it was clear that USCIS made factual and legal errors in makings its decision. USCIS is required to list each question where there was a discrepancy between the 2 answers and what each person answered. Although we were not at the interview, I was able to tell there were errors before I asked my clients to explain the divergent responses. The NOD also is required to list all of the documents submitted in support of the good faith marriage. The NOD only listed two items, but our clients submitted at least 8 separate types of documents as proof that their marriage is real.
It is very common for a client to come to us at this point in the process looking to appeal in the decision. If you do not appeal, you can always refile and try again. Of course there are risks involved if you have to re-file, but appeals are very hard to win and very expensive so in most cases they do not make sense. We will not agree to file appeals for clients if we do not think we will. Because of this approach, we have never had an appeal that we filed denied. Ultimately, if your appeal is denied, although you can re-file, you have just wasted a lot of time and a lot of money. That is why were are very honest with our clients about the likelihood of success of these appeals and will only do it if there clear errors were made.
So, after a little more than a year, we finally received a response from the Associate Counsel of USCIS who agreed with us! Now, the appeal is with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) who must officially remand it back to USCIS so that USCIS can reverse its' decision and approve the marriage petition. We hope to have the case back with USCIS soon so that the marriage petition can be approved and T can reopen her Green Card application.
We wish all of our recently-approved clients the best of luck!
**If you need representation in Removal/ Deportation proceedings or with help filing for immigration benefits, contact an experienced immigration attorney at The Shapiro Law Firm today to get started!**
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