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Posts Tagged ‘Immigration Judge’

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.

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.

Obama Announces Plans to Halt Deportation Court Cases

March 30th, 2012 No comments
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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) today announced its plans to expand backdoor amnesty.  Beginning in late April, DHS will suspend all non-detained dockets for illegal immigrants in four additional jurisdictions, as it previously did in Baltimore and Denver, for two weeks.  These jurisdictions include Detroit, New Orleans, Orlando, and Seattle.  In May, DHS will partially suspend the non-detained docket in New York City and then in July, it will implement the same procedures in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

This means that DHS intends to solely focus on detained cases in these jurisdictions, meaning those who come to the attention of law enforcement.  But if the illegal or criminal immigrant bonds out of jail, they can be put on the non-detained docket and could potentially remain in the U.S.  This decision is just another part of the Obama administration’s plan to grant administrative amnesty to potentially millions of illegal immigrants.

If you or a loved one is in immigration court in Los Angeles or San Diego, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a free consultation.

After 9 years, Client is Approved for Green Card through Diversity Lottery Process

October 29th, 2011 1 comment
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Recently one of our clients was approved for a green card through the diversity lottery process. He originally came to the United States in 2000 as a student. He met his wife a year later and the couple married. She petitioned for him to get his green card, but after at least 5 interviews, two motions to reopen and countless requests for evidence, he was placed in removal proceedings. He was ordered deported in absentia.

He hired The Nunez Firm two years ago asking us to reopen his deportation case and fight for his adjustment of status to permanent residency. We were successful in reopening his case. The immigration judge agreed to terminate the removal proceedings because we argued that my client still had an open case with USCIS that was awaiting adjudication.

After the removal proceedings were terminated, my client won the diversity lottery and asked me to assist in processing the green card. The processing of a diversity lottery based adjustment is generally fairly routine; however, his other case with USCIS had been pending for over 8 years already. Initially, I told him that I believed we had a less than 50% chance to win his case because there were several issues complicating his adjustment.

We filed for the adjustment of status earlier this year. After not hearing from USCIS for several months, I followed up with them asking why we had not received an interview notice. USCIS agreed to schedule an interview. At the interview, the officer seemed to stone-walling us. She had not read the file and was not prepared. She said she would have a decision to us within 30 days. I reminded her that diversity lottery adjustment cases must be adjudicated by September 30th or they become moot.

After 30 days, we did not receive a decision. I drove to LA again and asked to speak with her. She said she still had not reviewed the file, but she did not believe he was eligible for adjustment because he was out of status. I explained that despite being out of status, the case law I provided in my legal brief clearly stated that he was eligible for adjustment of status despite falling out of status because he was still a spouse of a US citizen.

She said she would review that case law and would have a decision to me within a week. I reminded her that we only had 20 days left before September 30th.

Once again, she did not issue a decision. I drove back to LA three more times over the next three weeks including a visit on September 28th to speak to a supervisor. We contacted US congressmen to get them involved as well. Finally, on September 30th, my client called me. He was very excited and announced that he just checked his case status online and the case was approved. I was shocked as well, but very happy for him.

If you are considering the adjustment of status process, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a free consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you at our Irvine office and discuss your case and any possible options available to you.

Motion to Terminate Granted for Husband of US Citizen in Los Angeles Immigration Court

August 9th, 2011 No comments
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We recently had a case terminated by the Immigration Court in Los Angeles. The client is married to a US citizen, and one year ago the I-130 was approved by USCIS. USCIS found that the marriage was bona fide despite the fact that the husband had been previously married to a US Citizen and had the green card and adjustment of status denied.

We asked the immigration judge to terminate the case, and after some discussion with the ICE government attorney, ICE and the Immigration Judge agreed that terminating the deportation proceedings was the most appropriate procedure.

The client was very happy that he will not be required to attend further immigration court proceedings. Now, we will notify USCIS that we intend to administratively process the adjustment of status. USCIS will schedule an interview, and the couple and I will attend the interview in Santa Ana.

If you are currently in immigration court proceedings in Los Angeles or San Diego, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a free consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you to discuss your situation and whether The Nunez Firm can help you.

Immigration Judge Calls for Independent Immigration Courts as Part of Immigration Reform

July 15th, 2011 1 comment
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The National Association of Immigration Judges believes that establishment of an independent agency or Article I court (like the tax or bankruptcy courts) rather than the current placement of the courts within the Department of Justice, is an essential reform. Only with this independence will the immigration courts be able to obtain the resources needed to ensure that each and every asylum case gets the in-depth scrutiny that both the applicant and the people of the United States deserve it receive.

Asylum adjudications are emotionally charged and legally complex. If a genuine refugee is erroneously denied relief, she may face torture or death in her home country. Because someone fleeing persecution may not be able to obtain documents, many cases are decided on testimony alone.

The immigration courts are a crucial checkpoint where fraudulent asylum claims can be ferreted out. Credibility determinations made at this juncture are given great deference by reviewing courts. As important as their role is, immigration courts are often the forgotten piece of this system, with funding a mere afterthought. Drastically under-resourced, the average pending caseload of an immigration judge is 1,200 cases. Judges struggle with one judicial law clerk for every four judges, instead of the three clerks that most federal district court judges have, although they handle one third the number of cases.

Dana Leigh Marks, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, July 12, 2011. She has served as an immigration judge in San Francisco since 1987.

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.”

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.

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