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Archive for the ‘Los Angeles Immigration Hearings’ Category

Freedom of Information Act Request Results in Evidence to Help Huntington Beach Immigration Client Avoid Deportation

May 28th, 2011 No comments
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After numerous Freedom of Information Act Requests to US Department of Homeland Security, US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the State Department and US Customs and Border Patrol, we finally received the evidence we needed to prove that one of our clients legally entered the United States over 35 years ago.

Our client entered the United States in the early 1980s using a legal US visitor’s visa. He was a teenager at the time, and he was traveling with a Church group from Western Samoa. He overstayed the authorized stay and has been living in the United States ever since that time. At some point he lost his passport, visa and I-94 and all proof that he entered the US legally. About 20 years ago, he married his wife, who is a US citizen, and the couple had 5 children.

Using another law firm, his wife petitioned for him to get lawful permanent resident status through the adjustment of status process. The other law firm filed for a replacement I-94 along with the adjustment of status application. The I-94 card is issued to non-US citizens when they legally enter the United States. It is the Arrival-Departure Record for foreigners used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). USCIS could not locate the I-94, and they denied his adjustment of status. His case was sent to Immigration Court in Los Angeles for deportation proceedings.

The couple hired The Nunez Firm to see if we could help him avoid deportation. We filed FOIA requests with multiple government agencies trying to find any evidence that he entered legally and was, therefore, eligible to adjust status to lawful permanent resident status. We received notices from the Department of State, USCIS, USDHS and Congressmen’s office stating they could not find any records. Finally, we received a response from Customs and Border Protection with the missing I-94.

The couple is extremely happy. We can now prove to the immigration judge in Los Angeles that the husband entered legally and can adjust his status to permanent resident through his marriage to his wife. This couple will be able to live their lives in Huntington Beach without fear of deportation.

If you are considering the adjustment of status process or need representation in immigration court, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a free consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you during a confidential free consultation to discuss the options available to you.

Motion to Terminate Deportation Proceedings Granted and Removal Charges Dismissed for Irvine Client

February 17th, 2011 No comments
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This morning a Los Angeles Immigration Judge ruled that the Department of Homeland Security did not meet its evidentiary burden in trying to deport one of our Irvine clients.

The Government Attorney charged our client, who is a lawful permanent resident, with being removable because he was convicted of possession of more than 28.5 grams of marijuana in 2001. Under U.S. immigration laws, a green card holder can be deported from the United States if s/he is convicted of possession of more than 30 grams of marijuana.

We argued that nothing in the criminal complaint, judgment of conviction or plea agreement proved that the amount of marijuana was anything over 28.5 grams. The government argued that a probation report authored 6 months after the conviction specified the amount of marijuana as more than 200 grams.

After hours of research, Partner at The Nunez Firm Haseeb Omar, wrote a compelling brief to the immigration court explaining why the probation report was hearsay and should not be considered under Supreme Court precedent or Ninth Circuit case law. We argued that the amount of marijuana in question was never determined by the criminal court judge and nothing in the admissible portions of the criminal record proved the amount of marijuana.

The immigration judge agreed and granted the motion to terminate. The client is extremely happy, and he intends to pursue naturalization in the future.

If you are currently in removal or deportation proceedings in Los Angeles or San Diego, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. We can discuss your case with you during a free and confidential consultation.

Are Immigration Court Judges Overworked and Burning Out?

January 17th, 2011 No comments
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Immigration-court judges “suffer from significant symptoms of secondary traumatic stress and more burnout” than prison wardens or physicians in busy hospitals, according to a 2007 study led by Stuart Lustig, professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco.

More female judges reported being burned-out than male judges.

Writing anonymously, judges expressed how tough it is to hear asylum cases and how much stress they felt by the caseload burden, pressure from the Justice Department to complete cases and criticism by the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Here are some of their thoughts:

* “As an Immigration Judge, I have to hear the worst of the worst that has ever happened to any human being, particularly in asylum cases. I have to listen to the trauma suffered by individuals. I have to hear it on a daily basis. It’s emotionally draining and painful to listen to such horrors day in and day out.”

* “The combination of hearing traumatic stories and not knowing which ones to believe is what is so mentally and emotionally exhausting. It is really hard work, and we are not given enough recovery time within our busy schedules.”

* “The major stressors are having to complete a high volume of cases in an environment of completion goals and under the microscopic scrutiny of appellate courts, which may not understand the pressures the judge faces on a daily basis.”

Three New Immigration Judges to Begin in the Los Angeles Immigration Court in 2011

December 25th, 2010 No comments
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David Neumeister, Immigration Judge, Los Angeles Immigration Court
Attorney General Eric Holder appointed Judge Neumeister in December 2010. Judge
Neumeister received a bachelor of arts degree in 1973 and a master of arts degree in English in
1978, both from California State University, Dominguez Hills and a juris doctorate in 1980 from
Southwestern University School of Law. From 1980 to December 2010, he was in private
practice in Bakersfield, Calif., exclusively practicing immigration law since 1982. Judge
Neumeister is a member of the State Bar of California.

Lee A. O’Connor, Immigration Judge, Los Angeles Immigration Court
Attorney General Eric Holder appointed Judge O’Connor in December 2010. Judge
O’Connor received a bachelor of arts degree in 1981 from the University of California, Berkeley,
and a juris doctorate in 1984 from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. From 1999 to December
2010, he was the directing attorney of the Immigrants’ and Language Rights Center at Indiana
Legal Services Inc. From 1994 to 1999, he was senior attorney for the Legal Aid Society of San
Diego, Inc. During that time, Judge O’Connor was a judge pro tem for the San Diego Municipal
Court. From 1998 to 1999, he served as an adjunct professor of immigration law in the paralegal
program at Southwestern Community College, Chula Vista, Calif. From 1988 to 1994, he was a
staff attorney for the Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, Inc. During that
time, from 1993 to 1994, Judge O’Connor was a judge pro tem for the Los Angeles Municipal
Court. From 1985 to 1988, he was staff attorney for the Center for Human Rights and
Constitutional Law in Los Angeles. From 1984 to 1985, Judge O’Connor was an associate with
Overland, Berke, Wesley, Gits, Randolf & Levanas in Los Angeles. Judge O’Connor is a
member of the State Bar of California and the Indiana State Bar.

Rachel A. Ruane, Immigration Judge, Los Angeles Immigration Court
Attorney General Eric Holder appointed Judge Ruane in December 2010. Judge Ruane
received a bachelor of arts degree in 1997 from Wesleyan University and a juris doctorate in
2001 from Emory University School of Law. From October 2003 to December 2010, she served
as deputy chief counsel for the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs
Enforcement, Office of the Chief Counsel in Los Angeles, Calif. From 2002 to 2003, she was an
attorney advisor for the Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR)
in Los Angeles, Calif. From 2001 to 2002, she worked as a judicial law clerk for EOIR in
Boston. Judge Ruane is a member of the State Bar of Massachusetts.

Motion to Terminate Approved Based on Approved I-130 for Laguna Niguel Client

November 24th, 2010 No comments
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United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agreed to a joint motion to terminate proceedings for an Orange County client living in Laguna Niguel. The client is in removal proceedings in Los Angeles; however, she has been married to a US citizen for the last five years. The couple has an 18 month old son as well.

Due to an administrative error by USCIS, the couple’s adjustment of status was denied in 2008 and the wife was placed in removal proceedings. This occurred before the couple hired The Nunez Firm. The husband filed a visa petition for his wife and it was approved in June 2010. Based on the approved I-130 visa petition, we requested that the removal proceedings be terminated to allow the couple to adjust her status out of court.

The ICE attorney agreed and we filed a joint motion to terminate in October. We just received the court order approving termination. Now, the couple can handle the case through USCIS rather than driving to Los Angeles for immigration court.

If you are in removal proceedings in Los Angeles or San Diego, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a free consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will discuss your case with you and help you determine your options and likelihood of success.

Hamas Spy Seeks Asylum in California

July 3rd, 2010 No comments
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In San Diego, California, Mosab Hassan Yousef seeks asylum, claiming he will be killed if he is deported from the United States to the West Bank. Yousef, who abandoned Islam for Christianity, is the oldest son of one of Hamas’ founders, was an Israeli spy for a decade, and now is marked as a traitor.

However, Homeland Security called Yousef a terrorist danger when it denied asylum in February 2009

He is scheduled to plead his case on Wednesday to an immigration judge in San Diego. The Department of Homeland Security wants him deported; they believe he is a danger to the security of the United States.

Four months ago Mr. Yousef published a book, in which Yousef  describes growing up admiring Hamas and hating Israel.

Yousef, 34, settled in Southern California after arriving in Los Angeles with a tourist visa in January 2007. At this time, he remains free while his application for asylum is considered.

Asylum applicants can close their hearings to the public, however Yousef welcomes the publicity. He urges supporters to contact the Homeland Security attorney assigned to his case and invites anyone in the San Diego area to attend his hearing.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency within Homeland Security that is arguing the government’s case, declined to comment, stating that it respects the privacy of all individuals involved in the immigration litigation process.

Yousef says his father, a senior Hamas leader who is serving a six-year sentence in an Israeli prison, disowned him in March.

Non-LPR Cancellation of Removal and Numerical Limits on Adjustment of Status

June 14th, 2010 No comments
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Cancellation of Removal for non-lawful permanent residents is a form of relief from removal for aliens currently in the United States illegally. Cancellation of removal allows aliens to stay in the U.S. and avoid separation from their families if they meet certain requirements and warrant a favorable exercise of discretion. However, only a certain number of grants may be issued per fiscal year.

The Immigration and Nationality Act limits the number of aliens whose removal may be canceled and who may adjust status to 4,000 per fiscal year. The numerical cap applies only to non-LPR cancellation cases, and does not effect lawful permanent resident cancellations. INA 240A(e)(1)

Conditional grants of cancellation pending the availability (under the numerical cap) are not permitted for persons after FY 1998. 8 C.F.R. §1240.21(c)(1). Immigration judges must reserve their decision on potentially approvable cases until an approval is numerically available. Judges do not have to reserve their decision if they are certain the applicant is ineligible.

If the alien applies for and is granted another form of relief, such as asylum or withholding, the cancellation application shall be denied as a matter of discretion. 8 C.F.R. §1240.21(c)(2). Persons previously granted conditional cancellation (prior to fiscal year 1998) maintain their conditional status until the numerical limitation is available. They may travel during the conditional period. 8 C.F.R. §§1240.21(b)(3), (5).

If you are considering cancellation of removal, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a free consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally discuss your situation with you and help you decide if cancellation of removal is right for you.

The Office of the Chief Immigration Judge has Introduced a New Complaint Procedure for Problematic Immigration Judges

May 24th, 2010 2 comments
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The Office of the Chief Immigration Judge (OCIJ) regularly monitors immigration judge (IJ)
performance and conduct through EOIR’s performance management program, and through its
daily supervision of the courts. In instances where concerns regarding an immigration judge’s
conduct arise, the OCIJ is committed to ensuring that any allegations are investigated and
resolved in a fair and expeditious manner.

Complaints against IJs may be initiated in one of two ways.

First, an individual or group may
file a formal complaint with either the Assistant Chief Immigration Judge for Conduct and
Professionalism (ACIJ C/P) or the appropriate supervisory Assistant Chief Immigration Judge
(ACIJ). The complaint may be communicated either in writing or orally, and it may be
anonymous. A written or oral complaint must contain at least a brief statement describing the
IJ’s alleged conduct that gave rise to concern.

Second, OCIJ may itself become aware of information that suggests an IJ may have engaged in
inappropriate conduct. Such information may come to the attention of OCIJ in a variety of
circumstances including, but not limited to, news reports, referrals from other components or
agencies, such as the Board of Immigration Appeals or Office of Immigration Litigation, or
routine reviews of agency and court decisions.

Upon the receipt or identification of a complaint, OCIJ will assign a number to the complaint and
create an entry for it in OCIJ’s complaint tracking database. When the complaint came from an
identifiable complainant who has provided contact information, OCIJ will acknowledge its
receipt of the complaint.

If you are currently in deportation or removal proceedings in immigration court in Los Angeles or San Diego, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a free consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally discuss your case with you and help you better understand the options available to you.

ACLU Challenges Prolonged Detention for Immigrants – 350 Detainees Held for Over Six Months

May 21st, 2010 No comments
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According to a list recently released by the federal government, more than 350 immigrant detainees in Los Angeles have been held in detention for more than six months while fighting deportation.

The list of names was turned over to the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California last month as part of a class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. The ACLU is battling for the right of detainees held for six months or more to have hearings on whether they can be released from custody while their cases are pending.

The U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement declined to comment on the lawsuit. The department opposed releasing the names but was ordered to do so by a federal judge. Its lawyers are continuing to oppose the bond hearings.

Ahilan Arulanantham, who directs the immigrants’ rights and national security program for the ACLU of Southern California, said he was shocked that so many immigrants were being held in detention for longer than six months.

There are about more than a thousand immigrant detainees in the area, and at least 30% were never represented by an attorney.

The team of attorneys is sending letters to its clients. Many of the class members are seeking asylum and some have been held for years.

One of the class members, Damdin Borjgin, a Mongolian man seeking asylum in the United States, has been in custody at Mira Loma Detention Center in Lancaster since November 2007. Borjgin said he has never had a hearing to see if he would be eligible for release.

“I didn’t think I would be locked up in the jail for this much time,” Borjgin said through an interpreter in a recent interview. “I am living here as a prisoner. My rights are limited.”
Afraid for his safety, he came to the United States, where he was detained at Los Angeles International Airport and taken to the detention center.

Borjgin, who did not have an attorney, lost his case in Immigration Court and at the Board of Immigration Appeals. The case now is pending in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Currently, most immigrant detainees are not entitled to bond hearings: foreigners that are arrested upon arrival in the United States; foreigners who have committed certain crimes; or foreigners who have lost their cases and have final orders of deportation.  However, detainees who cannot be deported within six months of the conclusion of the case may be entitled to be released.

Arulanantham said that Borjgin might have never been placed behind bars in the first place. Immigration officials now release arriving asylum seekers from detention if they have a credible fear of persecution, prove their identity and pose neither a flight risk nor a danger to the community.

“ICE’s detention capacity is not unlimited,” said Virginia Kice, spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “We want to ensure we’re using our detention resources to keep criminals and other dangerous aliens in custody while we seek their removal from the country.”

The change was part of an overhaul of the detention system announced last year. John Morton, the chief of the immigration agency, said he would make immigration detention less reliant on prisons and jails and more specifically designed for civil detainees.

Since the announcement, the agency has reduced the number of detention facilities nationwide and canceled contracts at 10 sites because of reported problems. Visitation, recreation and legal access also have been expanded at some facilities.

If you are someone you know is being detained in Lancaster’s Mira Loma facility, Otay Mesa or another detention facility, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a free consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will discuss your situation with you and help you better understand your options.

Deportation Proceedings Terminated for Approved VAWA Client from Orange County

May 21st, 2010 1 comment
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My client’s deportation proceedings were terminated by the Immigration Court in Los Angeles this morning, which means she will not be subject to removal and will not be forced to return to the Los Angeles Immigration Court again. The Immigration Judge terminated the deportation case because my client was approved for VAWA a few months ago, which entitles her to keep her green card and lawful permanent resident status.

My client was married to an abusive husband for several years. He was physically and emotionally abusive, and he manipulated her into staying in the relationship because he threatened to have her deported if she ever spoke to the police. We spent months preparing a comprehensive and convincing VAWA case. We filed for VAWA in late 2008, and the case was approved in early 2010.

Unfortunately, this scenario occurs all the time in the United States. A dramatic power imbalance exists if the US citizen spouse decides to take advantage of the non-citizen spouse’s situation. Many US citizen spouses treat their alien spouses as servants and order them to do anything and everything using threats of deportation. Many abusive spouses beat and emotionally abuse their spouses, and the alien victims are afraid to report the crimes to the police due to fear that they will be arrested and deported, or that the police will believe a US citizen over a foreigner.

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provides several immigration benefits to abused spouses and children of US citizens and lawful permanent residents. VAWA was passed into law in 1994. VAWA provides lawful permanent resident status to spouses and children that have been battered by or subjected to extreme cruelty from the US citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse. Contrary to popular belief, abused male spouses are equally entitled to the immigration benefits provided by VAWA.

If you or someone you know is an alien victim of domestic violence, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a free consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally discuss your case with you during a confidential consultation. The Nunez Firm has helped countless domestic violence victims obtain green cards and break away from their dependence on their abusive spouses.

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