Client’s Application for Permanent Resident Status Approved at the Last Minute
Mr. Liu is a native and citizen of the People’s Republic of China . He was born in Lanchi, Fujian Province, on November 2, 1980. He arrived at the Los Angeles International Airport, without documents, on January 9, 1997. He was detained. After an Asylum Officer found him to have a credible fear of persecution, should he be returned to China, he was paroled into the USA and placed in removal proceedings. Before an Immigration Judge in New York City, represented by former counsel, Mr. Liu applied for asylum, withholding as to China, and Convention Against Torture (“CAT”) relief. The final hearing took place on March 4, 2003. At the conclusion of the merits hearing, the Immigration Judge denied all of the alien’s relief applications and ruled that Mr. Liu had filed a frivolous asylum application. Mr. Liu’s pro se appeal was summarily dismissed by the BIA.
Mr. Liu did not leave the United States. He settled down in Utah, married a Permanent Resident, had two children with her, and worked to support his family. Several years later, his wife naturalized. A little over one year ago, with the help of another attorney, Mr. Liu correctly and properly filed an adjustment package, based on the facts that (1) his wife is a U.S. citizen and (2) he was paroled into the USA. When his wife and he appeared for the adjustment interview, without counsel, ICE took the alien into custody and put him under an Order of Supervision (“OSUP”). His wife’s Form I-130, visa petition, was approved, and the I-485 was denied. It was then that the Respondent retained my services.
First, I filed a proposed joint motion to reopen with the DHS attorneys in New York City. Then I filed a motion to reopen with the BIA, which requested that the BIA vacate the Immigration Judge’s “frivolous finding.” Simultaneously, I sought from the BIA a stay of removal. The stay was granted, which prevented my client’s removal to China, which had been set for December 29, 2014. Some weeks later, Mr. Liu, without having consulted the undersigned, filed another Form I-485 with the Chicago Lockbox. USCIS Salt Lake City scheduled my client for a March 3, 2015 AOS interview. I wrote to that office, informed it that my client’s MTR was still pending before the BIA, and asked it to reset the AOS interview to a date after April 30, 2015. In response to my letter, USCIS Salt Lake City administratively closed the matter! In taking this action, that office erroneously stated that (1) Mr. Liu was “granted Withholding of Removal by an Immigration Judge on December 29, 2014, (2) Mr. Liu is not an arriving alien, and (3) jurisdiction over his I-485 lies with the Immigration Court. Working together with my client, I then filed another Form I-485 with the Chicago Lockbox. The BIA vacated the IJ’s frivolous finding in a decision dated February 27, 2015.
My client does not have any kind of criminal history. He has never been arrested by the police. He works in a family business, a Chinese restaurant, to support his wife and children. His wife and he have filed federal and state tax returns, and the couple has paid its income taxes. This couple has provided their children with a good home. As you can imagine, what Mr. Liu went through for over a year had taken its toll on his wife.
I used every form of communication and supplication to convince the USCIS to schedule my client for another adjustment of status interview, to no avail. In addition, ICE Utah went to his job and took him into custody. The Officers told him: You do not have a pending application for adjustment of status, you are not a paroled alien, and you have a Final Order of Removal. At least ICE’s third assertion was accurate; the first two were not. Despite my pleas to various ICE Officers, I could not obtain my client’s release. His wife was overcome by doubts and the fear that her husband would be deported. This situation continued without any change for more than three weeks. ICE told my client and me that he would be deported in the very near future.
Then, one afternoon, I got a call from an Immigration Officer in Salt Lake City. She told me that Mr. Liu’s application for adjustment of status had been approved and that my client would be released in a few hours. Not long after that, Mr. Liu’s wife picked him up from the detention center and brought him home. He received his permanent resident card ten days later.
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