Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), the branch responsible for prosecuting deportation proceedings, has informed that “[t]oday Director John T. Morton announced that he will leave the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the end of July. Director Morton has dedicated more than twenty years to government service with the past four years as Director of ICE. He leaves to work in the private sector.”
A Miami high school valedictorian who gained national attention with her fight to avoid deportation back to Colombia has been granted a two-year reprieve by federal authorities who now say that their bigger goal is going after illegal immigrants who are criminals — and not dutiful students.
Daniela Pelaez, and her sister, Dayana, were ordered to leave the country just last week by a federal immigration judge. But U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Tuesday issued a statement saying the agency would defer carrying out the court order for at least two years.
The decision, which elated many in South Florida, followed growing local protests aimed at keeping the two teens in the United States, not to mention a steady din of news coverage about the family’s plight. Several lawmakers also interceded on the girls’ behalf, including Republican congresswoman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
Thousands took to the streets just last week in North Miami to protest the court ruling. They held banners and chanted “Justice for Daniela.” The Miami Herald said it was the single largest immigration demonstration in the area since then-President George W. Bush proposed legalizing millions of undocumented immigrants back in 2004.
Huge increases in deportations of people after they were arrested for breaking traffic or immigration laws or driving drunk helped the Obama administration set a record last year for the number of criminal immigrants forced to leave the country, documents show.
The U.S. deported nearly 393,000 people in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, half of whom were considered criminals. Of those, 27,635 had been arrested for drunken driving, more than double the 10,851 deported after drunken driving arrests in 2008, the last full year of the Bush administration, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement data provided to the Associated Press.
An additional 13,028 were deported last year after being arrested on less serious traffic law violations, nearly three times the 4,527 traffic offenders deported two years earlier, according to the data.
The spike in the numbers of people deported for traffic offenses as well as a 78 percent increase in people deported for immigration-related offenses renewed skepticism about the administration’s claims that it is focusing on the most dangerous criminals.
President Obama regularly says his administration is enforcing immigration laws more wisely than his predecessor by focusing on arresting the “worst of the worst.” He promised in his 2008 presidential campaign to focus immigration enforcement on dangerous criminals.
If you or a loved one are in deportation or removal proceedings in immigration court, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a free consultation. Managing partner Jay Nunez will personally meet with you and help you understand your situation.
We finally received the approval notice for an I-130 visa petition that was filed by a husband for his wife. The couple married two years ago, but the wife was already in deportation proceedings at the time of marriage.
In general, there is a prohibition against approval of visa petition filed on behalf of an alien by a United States Citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse if the marriage creating the relationship occurred on or after November 10, 1986, and while the alien was in deportation or removal proceedings. An exemption is available under 8 CFR 245.1(c)(9). The burden is on petitioner to show through clear and convincing evidence that: the marriage was entered into in good faith; and the marriage was not entered into for the purposes of obtaining lawful permanent residence.
Generally, it is very difficult to persuade USCIS that a marriage entered into while in removal proceedings is worthy of approval. I firmly believed that this couple’s marriage was entered into in good faith. I would not have accepted their case if I was not convinced.
We provided a great deal of evidence to USCIS to show that the marriage was entered into in good faith. In late 2010 we were interviewed by USCIS regarding the I-130. The officer separated my clients and asked them 47 identical questions. I wrote down every question and every answer. The couple answered 45 of the questions identically. The other two questions pertained to the husband’s estranged family. The husband had not spoken to certain members of his family for many years; therefore, his wife’s knowledge of those family members was limited.
After a 3 hour interview, USCIS requested more evidence. We provided it within a week, yet we did not receive a decision on the I-130 for over 8 months. I wrote to the officer 3 times requesting a decision. Finally, we attended an infopass appointment and the infopass officer looked into the matter more extensively. Within a few days, we received an approval.
The couple is very happy now that they know the I-130 was approved. We will still need to adjust status in the immigration court, but with an approved I-130, there should not be too many issues with adjusting status in immigration court.
If you are considering applying for a marriage based green card, contact The Nunez Firm to schedule a free consultation. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you to discuss your case and the options available to you.
Freedom of Information Act Request Results in Evidence to Help Huntington Beach Immigration Client Avoid Deportation
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.
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.
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.
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.