Case Status Update: Approvals- Work Permits (EAD), Asylee & Family-Based Green Cards, Conditions Removed, Fiancé Visa, DACA Renewal
Based on Pending Asylum Application:
Native and Citizen of Kenya:
Native and citizen of Cote d'Ivoire:
Renewal Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) Approved: We received the following approval notices for Renewal Work Permits (EAD):
Based on Pending Asylum Application:
Native and Citizen of Sierra Leone
Based on Grant of Withholding of Removal: Work permits granted under this category are for individuals who were granted Withholding of Removal by the Immigration Judge. Individuals granted Withholding of Removal are required to their work permits every year in order to continue to work legally in the United States.
Native and citizen of Indonesia
Employment Authorization Approval Based on a Final Order of Removal and Deportation & an Order of Supervision: Applicant's in this category have been ordered removed or deported by an Immigration Judge and are under an Order of Supervision (OOS), which requires an individual to periodically report to Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), similar to probation. Every check-in can end in the individual being arrested by ICE and deported shortly thereafter. We often attend OOS appointments with clients in order to inform ICE that we are in the process of filing relief from removal to decrease the chances that the person will be arrested at the check-in.
Why is someone allowed to remain in the United States if he or she has already been order removed/ deported? There are a variety of reasons ranging from an appeal of the final order is still making its' way though the court system, to the individual's home country refuses to take him or her back by issuing a travel document. Regardless of the reason, the Supreme Court has ruled that it is unconstitutional for ICE to detain an immigrant indefinitely, and combined with the fact that there is limited detention space for ICE detainees, OOS are used by ICE to keep tabs on people who with final orders. Many people are under OOS for years, and thus they are allowed to apply for and renew work permits while they remain here.
A client, (hereinafter, client "X"), a native and citizen of Senegal, received an initial work permit (EAD) under this category. X was ordered removed by an immigration judge in 2016 after he was caught crossing the U.S./ Mexico border. X was given a credible fear interview but never filed an asylum application due to the fact that he was detained and did not have access to a lawyer. As a result, he received an expedited order of removal, but released from detention and issued an OOS. I recently attended an OOS check-in with X and informed his ICE Officer that we have filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request for X's entire immigration file so that we can review what has happened and determine if he was denied due process since he requested a lawyer, but was in detention and was unable to access one and appeared without a lawyer before the Immigration Court.
We also received an approval notice for a renewal work permit (EAD) for a client, (hereinafter, "W"), who is a native and citizen of Mali. W's work permit (EAD) is also based on a final order of deportation and OOS. W was previously granted Voluntary Departure but did not leave the country as promised. W was previously detained by ICE, who was actively trying to deport him after he failed to voluntarily depart the country. However, W filed a Writ of Habeas Corpus with the U.S. District Court because he was held so long in ICE Detention. The Writ was granted and W was released from ICE detention with on an OOS since ICE was unable to deport him back to Mali. W has a U.S. Citizen Wife and Children and we have also ordered his FOIA file to see if he was properly-advised in deciding to accept Voluntary Departure, rather than pursue another avenue of relief from removal.
I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions, filed with a Waiver based on a Marriage entered into in Good Faith but Terminated due to Divorce Approved - We also received an approval notice for an I-751, self-petition, for a client, (hereinafter, "V"), who is a native and citizen of Mali. V initially received a Conditional Green Card based on his marriage to a U.S. Citizen. After he received his 2-Year Green Card, he timely filed a Joint Petition to Remove Conditions on his Residency with his Wife in 2014. While that petition was pending, V found out that his wife was cheating on him and filed for divorce. V missed his I-751 interview because he did not receive the interview notice and did not know it was ever scheduled. For some reason, V's I-751 interview never got re-scheduled nor did the Petition get denied. V came to us and we wrote to USCIS to get his interview re-scheduled and we were able to change the filing to a self-petition based on a marriage that was entered into in good faith but terminated due to divorce. Attorney Shaffer attended the interview with V and help him explain the situation to the USCIS officer. As a result, V's I-751 Petition was approved without him having to re-file.
Replacement I-94 Approved - A client, (hereinafter, Client "R"), who is a native and citizen of Cote d'Ivoire entered the U.S. in 1998 with a B-1 Visa. R was previously order removed in absentiain 2002, but her case was reopened in 2013 and then administratively closed. R is now married to a U.S. Citizen who is going to file a marriage petition on her behalf, but R now longer had her I-94 to prove that she was lawfully admitted to the country. Without her I-94, R would have to file an I-601A Unlawful Presence Waiver, which is never an easy task. Fortunately, we were able to get R's I-94 so we can now file the I-130 marriage petition and once it is approved, we will file a Motion to Recalendar her case so that she can adjust her status before the Immigration Judge.
I-485, Application to Adjust Status to a Lawful Permanent Resident Approved for Asylee - We also received an approval notice for a client, (hereinafter, "P"), who is a native and citizen of Mali. P has been waiting a long time to become a Permanent Resident!
P initially entered the U.S. with a B-2 Visitor Visa in 1990. In 1995, P and her husband were placed into Removal Proceedings. P's husband filed for Asylum and listed P as a rider on the application. In 1996, P's husband withdrew his asylum application and both were granted Voluntary Departure, but they did not leave the country as promised so it was automatically converted into an Order of Removal. In 2009, P and her husband filed a Motion to Reopen that was granted by the Immigration Court. In 2012, P filed her own Asylum Application and testified at her Individual Hearing.
Although P did not file within 1-year of her entry, the Immigration Judge (IJ) found that she qualified for an exception to the 1-year filing deadline based on changed circumstances. Specifically, a few months before filing to reopen her case, the Attorney General issued a new decision that materially affected her eligibility for asylum that did not exist prior to 1-year filing deadline and P filed within a reasonable period after the new decision was issued. However, it still was not smooth sailing for P.
After the Individual Hearing in 2012, 3 years passed and P and her husband still had yet to receive a decision from the IJ. In addition, their previous attorney stopped taking their calls, so P and her husband decided to change attorneys and hired us.
We filed a motion to substitute counsel and a request with the IJ to provide us with a case status update. A few months later, we received a response from the IJ with an order granting P's application for Asylum. A year later we filed for P and her husband's Green Cards based on their Asylee status. Although we filed both P and her husband's Adjustment of Status applications at the same time, P's husband's application was granted back in September, but P's application remained pending. P is relieved that her application was finally granted! P and her husband have 4 U.S. Citizen children and they will be able to apply for Naturalization in 2021.
*This case is a great example of why it is so important to always stay up-to-date with new decisions, laws and country conditions as this is the main path to reopen old Orders of Removal/ Deportation. If there is a change in circumstance that would warrant reopening your case, you have to act fast! The Immigration Court will only reopen your case if you file within a "reasonable period" after the change in circumstance. There is no definition of "reasonable period," as the IJ will look decide what is reasonable on a case-by-case basis, so it is extremely important to stay current on these matters to ensure that you do file in time.
*This case is also shows the importance of staying on top of the Immigration Court when a decision takes too long. We have seen many cases get lost in limbo and if you do not check-in with the Court, you can wait years for a decision or even worse, a decision may never come or may have been issued and you may not even know (for example, if you move and your change of address was not properly updated in the court system). Your lawyer has a continuing obligation to you as a client to continue taking your calls and to stay on top of your case until your case is complete or your attorney's representation officially ends through withdrawal or if you decide to change attorneys. If we did not reach out to the Immigration Court for P and her husband, there is a good chance they would still be waiting for their decision!
I-485, Adjustment of Status Application Granted for Parent of U.S. Citizen -We also received an approval notice for a an Adjustment of Status Application (Green Card) (hereinafter, Client "O"), (who is a native and citizen of Mali. O's Green Card is based on the I-130 Alien Relative Petition filed by her U.S. Citizen Son. O was previously granted Withholding of Removal by the Immigration Court. When O's U.S. Citizen son turned age 21, her previous attorney filed a Motion to Reopen with the Immigration Court so that her son could petition for her Green Card. However, O's previous attorney told her the wrong date for court, so she was ordered removed in absentia.
O then hired us to file a new Motion to Reopen, this time based on ineffective assistance of counsel with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). O's attorney admitted his mistake in a response a disciplinary complaint O had filed against him. The BIA granted our motion, reversed the in absentia Order of Removal and remanded the case back to the Immigration Court. When we received the I-130 approval, we filed a Motion to Terminate O's Removal Proceedings. The IJ granted our request and terminated the case. We then filed an Adjustment of Status application with USCIS. The application was approved and O is now happy to be a Lawful Permanent Resident!
K-1 Fiancé Visa Approved - We also received an approval notice for a K-1 Fiancé Visa for a client, (hereinafter, Client "Z"), who is a naturalized U.S. Citizen, initially from Mali. Z's fiancee is also from Mali and Z is thrilled that they can now be together. Z's fiancee has 4 months to enter the U.S. using the K-1 Visa and then the couple have to wed within 90 days of her entry. Once they get married, Z's fiancee will be able to file for Adjustment of Status to get her Green Card!
I-485, Adjustment of Status Application Approved for Asylee - We received another approval notice for a Client, (hereinafter, Client "Y"), based on status as an Asylee. Y is also a native and citizen of Mali, but Y was not the one granted asylum. Y's wife was the principal applicant and listed Y on the application as her spouse. Y was thus able to obtain status as an Asylee as a derivative. Y came to us after he filed the Adjustment of Status application and received a Request For Evidence (RFE) from USCIS asking for proof of his good faith marriage. In the past, USCIS never requested proof of a good faith marriage for derivative spouse Asylees, this has been a new change seen in the past year. Fortunately, Y and his wife did have plenty of joint financial evidence and other proof that they had a real marriage to submit. We prepared a nice evidence package for Y and mailed it to USCIS. Y's application was approved shortly thereafter.
DACA Renewal Approved - Finally, we received an approval for a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Renewal for a Client, (hereinafter, Client "T"), who is a native and citizen of Guatemala. T is extremely happy and relieved that her DACA Renewal was approved, especially in light of President Trump's announcement to end DACA while her renewal application was pending. T's DACA renewal will be good until 2020, but she is now married to a U.S. Citizen and the have a child together. T's husband will be filing a marriage petition for her shortly. In the meantime, T can continue to legally work and remain in the country without fear of deportation. We look forward to assisting T and her husband in filing the marriage petition and adjustment of status application soon.
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!**
(*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*)