After a difficult fight, client becomes a Permanent Resident
Mr. Chan contacted me back in 2012. At that time, he was living in Utah with his wife and children. This family continues to live in Utah.
In 2001, Mr. Chan traveled from China to the USA. When he got off of his flight, in Los Angeles, he sought to be admitted as a returning lawful permanent resident (“LPR”). The Immigration Inspector realized that the document that Mr. Chan had presented was a fake. Mr. Chan was detained. He informed the INS, what we now call ICE, that he needed asylum in the USA because he had been persecuted in China. After an Asylum Officer interviewed him, the INS paroled (that is, released) Mr. Chan into the USA and placed him in removal proceedings. A paroled alien is also known as an arriving alien.
Mr. Chan pursued his asylum claim in Immigration Court, in New York City. He lost his case in Immigration Court, and his appeal to the BIA was dismissed. ICE did not deport Mr. Chan or even ask him to leave the USA. A few years later, Mr. Chan met his future wife, who naturalized in 2010. The couple has two children, each born in the USA. Mr. Chan and his wife have owned an operated a restaurant in Utah for over six years.
I filed the adjustment of status package for Mr. Chan and his wife. I also filed Form I-601, a waiver application, in an effort to overcome the immigration fraud that Mr. Chan had committed at the Los Angeles airport. On top of those applications, I placed a letter, which explained in great detail that, Mr. Chan, as an arriving alien, was eligible to adjust status in the USA.
I went to Salt Lake City for the adjustment interview. I met with my clients for hours the night before the interview. My clients brought a translator with them. After a short wait, we were called into an Officer’s office. When the four of us had sat down, the Officer, Ms. BQ, said: I was not supposed to have this File. I’m taking it from someone else. BQ swore in the translator, and then swore in my clients. BQ had two files in front of her. One appeared to be the one created for Mr. Chan’s removal proceedings, the other one for adjustment of status. Because BQ did not have an opportunity to review the files before she called us in, she took ten to fifteen minutes to review the two files. We waited for her to start the interview.
We gave BQ updated documents and papers. The interview only touched on the basics. I had the impression that BQ did not know what she was doing, or, at the least, she was displeased that she had gotten “stuck” with this interview. For example, she asked Mr. Chan three times: Are you married? This kind of superfluous questioning went on for at least forty-five minutes.
A few minutes later, the BQ said to Mr. Chan: Because you never left the USA after you got your Final Order of removal, ICE will be here in a few minutes to pick you up.
I then prodded BQ on the issue of Mr. Chan’s eligibility for AOS. The ISO answered: Normally, an arriving alien in his situation is eligible for adjustment of status, but because your client tried to enter the USA with a fake document, he is not an arriving alien. I suggested that she look at the Notice to Appear in Removal Proceedings (“NTA”), the document with which the INS had initiated removal proceedings against Mr. Chan. The first line in the body of the NTA states: “You are an arriving alien.” BQ did not respond, and chose not to look at the NTA. Then, two Deportation Officers arrived, and said that they were going to put Mr. Chan on an Order of Supervision (“OSUP”). All of us then went to the local ICE office, Mr. Chan was “processed,” and given his OSUP. The D Os promised to return the A file to the ISO the same day.
After promising Mr. Chan and wife to do everything possible for them, I returned to New York City.
The next morning, I prepared an Application for a Stay of Removal and sent it to Mr Chan, with instructions as to how he should go about filing it. Next, I obtained the name and mailing address of the USCIS Salt Lake City Field Office Director. I sent her a long and detailed letter that day. And, thanks to an immigration attorney in Salt Lake City, I also obtained her e-mail address.
One week later, I received a call from ICE Officer JS. He said: We have denied the stay application. He also told me that the USCIS will approve the visa petition of Mr. Chan’s wife, but will not adjudicate Mr. Chan’s applications I-485 and I-601. He added: The next time your client reports to us, he will be told that he will be given a chance to self-deport. I informed Mr. Chan and his wife of these developments, which increased their worries and stress.
As soon as I got off the phone with JS, I typed up and faxed a letter of complaint to the USCIS in Washington, D.C. I then sent an e-mail to the Field Office Director, in which I explained that Officers under her supervision did not understand how the immigration laws applied to Mr. Chan.
Ten days later, the Field Office Director called me. She said: All three applications will be approved, and my Office will inform the Deportation Unit about this. I thanked her profusely.
Yes, the applications were approved, and six days after my conversation with the Field Office Director, Mr. Chan received his Resident Alien card in the mail.
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