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Posts Tagged ‘deportation’

Executive Office of Immigration Review Shifts Priorities for Immigration Court Cases

July 25th, 2014 No comments
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EOIR has reordered its priorities in the immigration courts to address the current border situation.

The Department of Justice recently announced new priorities in light of the ongoing migrant children crisis along the southern border. The Executive Office of Immigration Review (“EOIR”), which includes the immigration courts and Board of Immigration Appeals, has reordered its priorities in the immigration courts. EOIR has set as its top priority the adjudication of cases that fall into the following four groups:

  • unaccompanied children
  • adults with children in detention
  • adults with children released on “alternatives to detention”
  • other individuals in detention.

As EOIR prioritizes these cases of individuals who recently crossed the border, and continues to hear cases of those who are detained, the cases of individuals that do not fall into those priority categories may take longer to resolve. This could involve continued immigration proceedings for many aliens currently in immigration court.

Additional information is available in the DOJ press release and the fact-sheet.

 

 

 

Joint Motion to Terminate Removal Proceedings Granted by Immigration Judge for Client in Mission Viejo

March 25th, 2014 No comments
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United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) agreed to a join in a motion to terminate removal proceedings for an Orange County client living in Mission Viejo, Orange County. The client was in removal proceedings in Los Angeles; however, she married a US citizen several years ago. The couple has an 13 month old son.

Due to an USCIS error, the couple’s adjustment of status was denied in 2011 and the wife was placed in removal proceedings. This occurred before the couple hired me. The husband filed a visa petition for his wife and it was approved in June 2013. Based on the approved I-130 visa petition, I requested that ICE join in terminating the removal proceedings against my client. This would allow her to adjust her status out of court.

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

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

Green Card Issued After Immigration Judge Approves Adjustment of Status for Anaheim Client

January 14th, 2014 No comments
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One of our longest running cases was finally completed this week when our client received his green card. He originally filed for adjustment of status based on his marriage to his US citizen wife. He filed the case through another attorney, and the mistakes were made. The attorney did not include evidence that the applicant entered the US legally, which is a requirement for marriage-based adjustment of status cases. The attorney asked USCIS to search their records and find the I-94 proof of lawful entry, but USCIS could not locate it (most likely because it was over 30 years ago).

USCIS denied the adjustment of status application (I-485) and placed the individual in removal proceedings. That’s when he hired me. We tried everything to recover the I-94 proof of lawful entry, including numerous FOIAs to different immigration agencies, but nothing worked. Eventually, we tracked down witnesses that were on the same flight with my client when he entered the United States. The witnesses testified that they remember my client going through Customs with them when they landed in the US. The Los Angeles Immigration Court judge regarded the witnesses’ testimony as valid and trustworthy and found that my client had been admitted to the US and was eligible for adjustment of status.

Because my client had a criminal record, we also had to apply for a waiver of grounds of inadmissibility. We satisfied the judge that my client had been rehabilitated from his prior convictions and that it would cause my client’s family extreme hardship if he were not allowed to stay in the United States and live in Anaheim with his wife and children.

My client and his family were very pleased with the outcome. He plans to apply for naturalization in three years when he becomes eligible.

If you are in immigration court proceedings or planning to adjust status through marriage, contact The Nunez Firm. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you to help you better understand the process and help develop a strategy to accomplish your immigration goals.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Detained 13 Pregnant Women During Four Month Stretch in 2013

January 9th, 2014 No comments
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Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials in El Paso, Texas, detained 13 pregnant women from August to November 2013, according to an investigation by Fusion.

ICE confirmed the number to BuzzFeed and said the undocumented immigrant women were an enforcement priority because they had either recently entered the country or had been issued final orders of removal.

Fusion’s investigation was in part launched after Sergio Garcia-Leco, an undocumented activist, infiltrated the El Paso Processing Center in December.

The report describes 13 pregnant women who were detained during a four-month stretch after attempted border crossings; the time each woman was detained varied — some were released the same day, while others were kept days or even weeks, ICE told Fusion.

ICE told BuzzFeed they are unable to name all of the women because of medical privacy issues but did identify two.

Murillo-Prado v. Holder – Ninth Circuit Case

December 28th, 2013 No comments
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Alien’s indictment, plea agreement and sentencing order all provided clear and convincing evidence that he was convicted of a racketeering aggravated felony under 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1101(a)(43)(J). Indictment provided the subsections of the racketeering statute, all of which were included in the federal racketeering definition. Court of Appeals lacked jurisdiction to review removal order where BIA did not err in determining that alien’s Arizona conviction for racketeering constituted an aggravated felony.

Full Text Here.

If you are currently in removal or deportation proceedings or have an order of deportation, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will meet with you to discuss your situation and help figure out which strategies are available to prevent and/or delay deportation.

Taggar v. Holder – Ninth Circuit Case

December 24th, 2013 No comments
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A deadline may lawfully be imposed upon an application for relief to prevent removal under the Convention Against Torture. The standard of review applicable to an immigration judge’s decision to deem applications waived for failing to adhere to deadlines imposed under 8 C.F.R. Sec. 1003.31 is an abuse of discretion. Neither the immigration judge nor Board of Immigration Appeals committed an abuse of discretion in holding that plaintiff waived her application for relief by failing to adhere to statutory deadlines. Alien was not eligible for a discretionary waiver under 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1227(a)(1)(H), where she was being deported based on her conviction for falsifying documents rather than for being inadmissible upon entry.

Full text here.

If you are in removal proceedings in Los Angeles or San Diego, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you to help you better understand your options and possibilities for avoiding deportation.

Cancellation of Removal Approved for Vietnamese Client from Garden Grove

December 8th, 2013 No comments
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We recently won an immigration court case for one of our Garden Grove clients. The case had been pending for four years, but the immigration judge ruled that my client should be granted cancellation of removal for lawful permanent resident and allowed to keep her green card.

When she was younger she committed two crimes involving moral turpitude – theft and passing a fictitious check. The first offense occurred when she was 20 years old. The second occurred about a year later. She was charged and convicted of misdemeanors. She paid the fines and completed the community service.

In 2009, she was traveling abroad with a friend. When she returned to the United States, Customs and Border Protection ran her name through the criminal checks and found her conviction records. They placed her in removal proceedings in Texas (because her flight landed in a Texas airport). She hired us shortly thereafter. We filed for a change of venue to Los Angeles, and it was granted.

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Once the case moved to Los Angeles, we pursued cancellation of removal. We provided the court with evidence that my client had turned her life around since her convictions. We showed that she is currently employed and her mother depends on her a great deal to help around the house and with the bills. We explained that if my client were deported to Vietnam, her life and her mother’s life would be extremely difficult. I prepared my client thoroughly on what to expect when testifying. She did a great job testifying and both the government attorney and judge were convinced that my client deserved a second chance. The government attorney did not ask any questions on cross-examination.

My client plans to pursue naturalization in the next couple months. If you are in removal proceedings, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will help you better understand your options and which strategies might be available to you to avoid deportation.

Cancellation of Removal Approved in Los Angeles Immigration Court for Anaheim Client Despite Criminal Convictions

December 1st, 2013 No comments
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An immigration judge in Los Angeles approved my client for cancellation of removal for lawful permanent residents. My client, who lives and works in Anaheim, has resided in the United States for over fifteen years. When he was younger, he committed three theft related crimes. Although these crimes occurred more than seven years ago, he was stopped at the airport in 2009 when he was returning from a trip to Europe. He was put into immigration court proceedings and charged with being removable because he had two crimes involving moral turpitude.

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At trial, I argued that although he was deportable, he was eligible for cancellation of removal. He had been been a permanent resident for over five years and he had lived continuously in the US for over seven years. None of his crimes constituted aggravated felonies. Although he met the requirements for cancellation, we also had to convince the judge that he was worthy of a discretionary approval. There are many factors the immigration judge will consider when deciding whether a green card holder deserves to be approved for cancellation of removal. We provided evidence and testimony that he had minimal family in his home country. All of his family lived in the US. His parents rely on him for financial support and he has a good job. He testified about how much he regretted the crimes that he committed when he was younger. He took ownership of his ill-advised decision to commit the crime when he described what had happened. His family attended the hearing, and his mother and father testified on his behalf. They talked about the changes their son experienced after his last conviction – how he started working harder and spending more time with his family, how he stayed away from some of his old friends with whom he got in trouble.

I had prepped him for the trial well, and although the government attorney tried to trick him into making excuses for his crimes or not taking responsibility for them, he did an excellent job of admitting what he did and acknowledging the severity of his actions. At the end of the trial, the immigration judge stated that she was approving the case. The trial attorney for Department of Homeland Security did not reserve appeal, which means the case is closed and my client remains a permanent resident.

If you are in removal proceedings in Los Angeles, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you to help figure out which forms of deportation relief might work for you.

Just A Thought – If You Really Want To Stop Illegal Immigration, Consider This . . .

October 11th, 2013 No comments
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On this blog I rarely put forth my views on immigration policy. I generally use the blog to notify my readers of new developments in immigration reform, laws and policy. I also like to talk about recent immigration cases and approvals.

On the topic of preventing illegal immigration though, I have strong opinions. First, I think stopping, or at least curbing, illegal immigration and unlawful employment is not as difficult as many politicians make it seem. Second, I don’t think the US government is very serious about stopping the problem. Many people talk about increasing enforcement efforts, building bigger walls, militarizing the border, etc. Those same people, from my experience, also want government spending to be reduced.

In the comprehensive immigration reform senate bill that passed (68-32) S. 744, the Corker-Hoeven amendment creates mandatory border security spending of $30 billion; doubles the amount of deployed Customs and Border Patrol agents from 19,200 to 38,400; and increases the mandatory fencing along the southern border. Additionally, the Corker-Hoeven Amendment militarizes the southern border and mandates fixed towers, camera systems, mobile surveillance systems, hand-held devices, ground sensor systems, fiber-optic tank inspection scopes, contraband detectors, mobile targeting systems, unmanned aircraft drones, radar systems, and other technology infrastructure. All of this costs a lot of money.

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Wouldn’t it be something if we could stop illegal immigration and unlawful employment without spending so much? If you want to stop illegal immigration and unlawful employment, you need to devise a system whereby American employers do not see a benefit in hiring undocumented aliens. The pull factor must be eliminated. The lure of cheap labor must be outweighed so that the employer sees more potential cost than benefit in hiring undocumented immigrants. Of course, you can increase enforcement spending and hire more ICE investigators to go after employers, but that costs a lot of money and spending will go up.

Why not turn the undocumented employees against their employers? What if an undocumented worker could receive a green card for turning in his/her employer for unlawful employment?

The framework is already established in other areas of US immigration law. The U visa encourages undocumented immigrants to report crimes to the police. If an undocumented immigrant is the victim of certain serious crimes, s/he can report the crime to the police. If the immigrant cooperates with the prosecution and investigation, s/he can receive lawful status in the United States. This proposal has helped to reduce crime in immigrant communities and build a strong bond between law enforcement and law-abiding members of the community who would otherwise be afraid to communicate with police.

In the US effort to stop sex trafficking, they have set up the T visa system. If a victim of sex trafficking reports the crime to the appropriate law enforcement agency and cooperates in investigating and prosecuting the criminals, the victim can receive a T visa which will allow her to stay in the US.

The S visa process is similar. Often referred to as the “Snitch” visa, the S visa is reserved for those that cooperate with law enforcement in investigating and prosecuting criminals.

In the unlawful employment scenario, the US could pass a law saying that any undocumented alien who reports his/her employer to the appropriate federal agency (likely ICE) is eligible to receive an immigrant visa that will allow the individual to work and live in the United States. If I am living in the United States illegally and working at a minimum wage job, I would have no problem reporting my employer if I saw a benefit. Once reported, ICE can investigate the employer and fine it for the violation (say $20,000). An employer that is hit with a $20,000 fine will quickly decide that it is too risky to hire undocumented workers. This approach cuts down on enforcement spending as well. ICE need not hire investigators to go out exploring for violations. ICE can sit back and wait for the reports to come to them. Employers will stop looking for undocumented workers, and the pull factor on illegal immigration will cease over time. If undocumented immigrants cannot find work in the United States, they won’t see the benefit in coming to the United States.

If the US implemented this system, there would likely be a major push at the beginning. The US would give out many immigrant visas to undocumented workers, and fines to employers would abound. After that, employers would not hire undocumented workers because of the risk of fines. Undocumented immigrants would stop entering the country because they no longer would view it as a place to find jobs.

My opinion is that the US government is not serious about stopping illegal immigration. Illegal immigration is a huge industry. Private detention centers make billions housing undocumented aliens while they await deportation in immigration court. Their lobbyists wrote the Arizona law SB1070 that was struck down by the US Supreme Court. Additionally, undocumented workers drive the economy and keep the cost of many products down. Militarizing the southern border creates billions in defense spending.

To those of you that want to stop illegal immigration, what are your thoughts . . .

212(h) Waiver Approved and Adjustment of Status Granted in Los Angeles Immigration Court for Anaheim Client

August 27th, 2013 No comments
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One of our Anaheim clients was approved for lawful permanent resident status in the Los Angeles Immigration Court this morning. This case has been pending for several years and involved some fairly sticky issues. Our client, who is married to US citizen, always maintained that he entered the country legally when he was an adolescent; however, he lost his passport and I-94, which would help prove his lawful entry. His prior attorney filed the adjustment of status packet with USCIS without proof of lawful entry. The prior attorney filed an I-102 asking USCIS to check it’s records to find the missing I-94 proof of lawful entry. USCIS responded that it did not find any evidence of the lawful entry, denied the I-485, and put the applicant into removal proceedings. USCIS approved the I-130 visa petition.

The client came to me after he received his notice to appear in immigration court, and I agreed to represent him. First, we tried to obtain a copy of the I-94 from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and even the Department of State (DOS), through Freedom of Information Act requests, but no one produced any records helpful to our case. Eventually, we were able to track down passengers that were on the same flight as my client when he first entered the US legally in the early 80s. We were lucky that he entered with a large group of family and friends, and he maintained contact with these individuals over the years. After several witnesses testified that they were on the same flight and remember my client going through Customs at the airport, the judge ruled that she believed he was lawfully admitted into the US. This was a key issue, because in order to obtain lawful permanent resident status through his marriage to a US citizen, we had to show he entered the US legally. He was not eligible for adjustment of status under INA 245i.

The second major issue was that my client had a few criminal convictions when he was younger. The most recent was twenty years ago, before he was married, and before he had children. The criminal convictions were serious enough to bar him from obtaining permanent resident status; however, a 212(h) waiver was available. In order to obtain the waiver, we had to show that it would cause his US citizen wife and children extreme hardship if he were not allowed to stay in the United States. We provided evidence of the couple’s large family, mortgage difficulties, and that the family had never visited let alone lived in the husband’s home country. We showed that the children were excellent students that expected to go to college, and without my client’s income, it would be impossible for them to obtain higher education. We included letters from employers and church leaders about my client’s good moral character to show that he had changed since the mistakes he made as a young man.

The Immigration Judge and the opposing attorney agreed that my client should be granted lawful permanent residence and the case was approved. The government attorney did not reserve appeal. My client and his family were very happy that this four year ordeal was finally resolved. If you have received a notice to appear in deportation proceedings in Los Angeles, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you to help you better understand the options available to you.

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