Getson & Schatz represented an Uzbeki national who entered the United States on a F-1 Visa. She violated her F-1 status and was placed into removal proceedings. However, she never received a Notice to Appear (NTA) from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) since DHS did not send it to her correct address in Philadelphia. Therefore, she did not attend her removal proceedings, something she most definitely would have done had she received the NTA, and was ordered removed in abstentia. The Immigration Court issued this in abstentia order even though an alien may only be subject to such an order if she has in fact received the NTA. Our client never received that NTA, and found out about the order after her Form I-485 application for adjustment of status, which she filed in conjunction with her U.S.-citizen-husband’s Form I-130 petition on her behalf for Permanent Resident status, was terminated on the basis of her in abstentia order.
Following the denial of her I-485 application our client retained our legal services. To combat this outcome, our immigration lawyers first filed a motion to reopen her removal proceedings on the grounds that the in abstentia order was invalid due to the fact that she never received her NTA from DHS. Our lawyers highlighted that she could prove she did not live at the address in Philadelphia to which DHS sent her NTA by submitting proof of residence at another location in the form of a signed lease agreement, select rent checks, and utility bills for the property. Our lawyers also raised the issue that even though DHS did not have record of having her NTA returned for failure to reach our client, her actual receipt of the NTA was controlling. An Immigration Judge in Philadelphia found these arguments to be persuasive and granted our client’s motion to reopen.
After successfully reopening our client’s removal proceedings, our lawyers guided our client and her husband through the process of adjusting her status to that of a Permanent Resident. A key element of this process was establishing they had entered into a bona fide marriage during her removal proceedings. To do so, our client’s husband submitted clear and convincing evidence that the marriage they had entered into during removal proceedings was entered in good faith, not for immigration purposes, and not connected with the payment of anything but an attorney’s fee. Our client’s affidavit stating that she did not have any knowledge of the outstanding order against her was strong evidence in this regard. We also offered the couple’s jointly filed tax returns for the years preceding this matter as support of their good faith marriage. Further, our lawyers helped our client and her husband compile all of the documentation needed to enable her to become a Permanent Resident, including securing co-sponsors for her petition. In addition to guiding our client in filing her Form I-485 with the Immigration Judge in the reopened removal proceedings, our lawyers also instructed her in filing a Form I-765 for work authorization. In the end, our client successfully adjusted her status to that of a Permanent Resident..
Our Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers represented a native and citizen of Mexico in applying for relief from removal proceedings in the form of Cancellation of Removal for Non-Permanent Residents under Section 240A(b) of the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA). To fulfill the requirements of the statute, we demonstrated to the Immigration Court that our client had been continuously physically present in the United States for more than 10 years prior to issuance of the Notice to Appear, that he was a person of good moral character, that he had not been convicted of a crime that would make him inadmissible to the United States, and that if the removal were carried out, it would result in “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” to his U.S. citizen children. By presenting extensive evidence to the court, we were able to meet the demanding standard of the exceptional and extremely unusual hardship requirement of the statute is rarely met. We showed that one of our client’s U.S. citizen children would have suffered exceptional and extremely unusual hardship if our client had been removed from the United States. Our client’s 14-year old daughter has a severe lifelong learning disability similar to autism and she has been medically diagnosed as having the mental capacity of an 8-year old. She is enrolled in a school for children with special needs. She only speaks English, and her learning disability prevents her from learning Spanish. Her mother, our client’s wife, only speaks Spanish, has less than a high school education, and is not able to learn English. We successfully argued that because of the vital role our client played in taking care of his daughter, and because of the lack of availability of the type of special education needed by his daughter and her inability to adapt to life in Mexico, removal of her father to Mexico would represent exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to her. To establish our client’s continuous physical presence in the United States for 10 years, we presented the court with our client’s federal tax records for each year since 1999. To establish the exceptional and extremely unusual hardship removal would cause to our client’s US Citizen daughter, we presented the court with a report of results of educational testing performed at the time his daughter entered kindergarten, a letter from his daughter’s school verifying her attendance and that the school’s program is a special education program, and minutes of a meeting held by school psychologists, speech therapists, and other special education specialists to consider placing his daughter in a more restricted setting. Our client’s employer provided an affidavit stating that he had employed our client since 1997, that to his knowledge our client had not been absent from the United States during that period, and that he knows our client’s daughter who suffers from a lifelong learning disability. Our client provided a sworn affidavit detailing his family situation: his daughter’s lifelong learning disability, his vital role in caring for his daughter and interpreting all communications between his daughter and her mother, his wife’s inability to support his daughter, and the unavailability of the necessary special education in Mexico. Our client’s wife and a close family friend also provided sworn affidavits attesting to the specifics of their family situation and were prepared to testify in court on our client’s behalf. His daughter’s primary care physician, a Developmental Pediatrician who had evaluated her medically, and her Middle School Counselor wrote letters explaining her situation and that in their professional opinions it was crucial to her well-being that both she and her father remain in the United States. We also submitted to the court two academic articles detailing the shortcomings and scarcity of special needs education in Mexico, and the disparity in cultural acceptance and availability of suitable educational opportunities for those with symptoms of autism in the United States as compared with Mexico. The Immigration Court considered the evidence presented along with our EOIR 42B Application for Cancellation of Removal and granted Cancellation under INA 240A(b)(2).
Our Philadelphia Immigration attorneys represented an individual detained in York County Prison who had been a lawful permanent resident since 1986 when he was 7 years old. He had been arrested multiple times but had only one conviction for Carrying Firearms without a License pursuant to 18 Pa C.S. § 6106 in 2001. He was married to a lawful permanent resident. Our client was eligible for cancellation of removal and we filed an application to ask the Immigration Judge to allow him to remain in the United States as a permanent resident. We submitted a detailed Affidavit from our client wherein he outlined his arrests, took responsibility for his prior actions, and established his history in the United States and his lack of ties to his home country. We also provided extensive supporting documentation on his behalf including proof of his family ties and proof of payment of taxes. At the trial we asked our client questions to allow our client to testify about his arrest record and his strong ties to the United States including his family and employment history and his involvement in the community. We also brought numerous witnesses to his hearing to testify on his behalf if necessary. The Immigration Judge granted our client’s application for cancellation of removal and the lawyer for the Department of Homeland Security did not appeal the Judge’s decision. Our client was released from York County Prison to remain in the United States with his family.
Getson & Schatz represented a client from Ethiopia who entered the U.S. on a nonimmigrant F-1 student visa. The client subsequently stopped attending the school for which his F-1 student visa was granted and was employed without employment authorization. The Department of Homeland Security eventually found our client to be out of status and placed him into removal proceedings by serving a Notice to Appear. Our firm requested a discretionary relief for our client in the form of adjustment of status based upon his bona fide marriage to a US Citizen. The government puts the burden on the foreign national to prove that he is eligible for this relief under the law and that he deserves such relief as an exercise of discretion. Several requirements must be met in order for the foreign national to be considered for the relief of adjustment of status including that the foreign national is admissible and an immigrant visa is immediately available at the time of application. In order to seek this discretionary relief, we had to prove that the positive factors relevant to our client’s application outweighed the negative factors. Some of the evidence that we presented included his strong family ties in the United States including his U.S. citizen wife, U.S. citizen children, his U.S. citizen siblings, and his legal permanent resident mother. A significant hurdle our client faced was proving that he was admissible to the United States because the Department of Homeland Security argued before the Immigration Judge that our client had made a material misrepresentation on Form I-9 with his private employer. Our firm successfully argued to the Immigration Judge that our client did not make a material misrepresentation on his private employment-related I-9 form under a statute that would make him inadmissible. The Court subsequently granted the discretionary relief to our client. Our client is now able to remain in the United States with his wife, children, and his other family members as a Permanent Resident.
Last week, an Immigration Judge in York, Pennsylvania granted our client’s green card case after a long legal battle that had kept him in jail for almost one year. Our client came to the U.S. many years ago and had a green card through his mother. He came to the U.S. when he was a small child, and does not even remember his home country. However, he never became a citizen, and when he was 21, he had been convicted of a marijuana offense. Marijuana is illegal and there are strict criminal penalties for selling marijuana. Also, immigrants are often deported for marijuana crimes even though U.S. citizens may not even get jail time for some of these crimes. Drug crimes usually make it impossible to avoid deportation. There are only a few limited exceptions to this rule. For example, someone who has been convicted of possessing (not selling) less than 30 grams of marijuana can apply for a waiver. Some waiver cases are granted, but some are denied, so even if an immigrant is eligible to apply under this exception, the immigrant may not get a green card. Also, other immigrants, like our client, who already had a green card for more than 7 years may be eligible to keep their green card if they have a conviction for possessing drugs by applying for what is called cancellation of removal. However, any immigrant convicted of selling any type of drug is usually not legally eligible to apply for cancellation of removal. Our client was convicted of selling marijuana, and when he was first arrested by immigration officers, his family spoke with many lawyers who told him that there was nothing he could do and advised him to just accept a deportation order and be deported as soon as possible. However, these lawyers were not aware of a rare exception under the law that allows certain immigrants who are convicted of selling marijuana to apply for cancellation of removal. The exception is complicated and difficult to understand and is set forth in three different appeals court decisions. The important thing to understand is that sometimes, there is an exception to a rule and lawyers are paid to know these exceptions. If we did not know of this exception, our client might have just given up and been deported. Because the case was complicated, the Immigration Judge denied the case after our first trial, and we had to appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals. We knew this would take many more months, but our client has a wife and two step children that treat him as their father in the U.S., and he was willing to fight the case as long as it took. After five months, the appeals court issued its decision which agreed with our arguments and overturned the deportation order. The appeals court sent the file back to the Immigration Judge for a new decision and last week, the judge granted our client’s cancellation of removal application, released our client from jail and gave him his green card back. While our client was convicted of selling drugs, he has turned his life around since then. His conviction was when he was 21 years old and he has learned a lot since then. He had completed his high school diploma, started taking college classes, and was a good father to his step-children. Many Americans believe that all immigrants who commit crimes should be deported, but this case is a perfect example of how many immigrants deserve a second chance in life. We are confident that our client will prove to be a good man, a good husband, and a good father, and eventually a good citizen of the U.S.
We represented a client in removal proceedings who had been deemed inadmissible under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). “Inadmissibility” refers to a person’s ineligibility to receive a visa or to enter the United States. The INA specifies many grounds of inadmissibility under Section 212. Our client was inadmissible because he was convicted of a crime of moral turpitude. Our immigration laws and regulations do not define exactly what a crime of moral turpitude is. However, case-law generally refers to it as “conduct which is inherently base, vile, or depraved, and contrary to the accepted rules of morality and the duties owed between persons or to society in general … it is the nature of the act itself and not the statutory prohibition of it which renders a crime one of moral turpitude.” This quote was taken from Matter of Franklin, 20 I&N Dec. 867, 868 (BIA 1994), aff’d, 72 F.3d 571 (8th Cir. 1995). In this particular case, our client was convicted of counterfeiting goods, which is considered to be a crime of moral turpitude. This crime made him inadmissible. He had filed for a green card based upon a marriage to a US Citizen without the assistance of an attorney. He was unaware that he needed to file an I-601 Waiver Application and following his interview he was only given 30 days to submit a Waiver Application. He did not provide sufficient evidence to show his wife would suffer extreme hardship if he were removed from the U.S. and USCIS denied his Waiver Application and placed him into removal proceedings. Furthermore, he was detained without the opportunity for bond because of his criminal grounds of inadmissibility. We renewed his Form I-601 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility before the Immigration Judge under Section 212(h) of the Immigration & Nationality Act. To be eligible for the 212(h) Waiver, a person must demonstrate extreme hardship that goes beyond the normal hardship faced by a US Citizen or Permanent Resident spouse of parent if the alien were removed from the United States. Our firm submitted a detailed package including a report from a clinical psychologist establishing the extreme hardship that our client’s wife would face if he was removed back to his home country. Following detailed courtroom testimony about the extreme hardship, the Immigration Judge granted the Waiver and also granted our client relief from removal proceedings and adjusted his status to a permanent resident of the United States.
Our client came to us after escaping from a country whose government persecuted him because of his religion. One night, when our client and his family were celebrating a holiday, the police came. The police broke objects in the house while others confiscated religious items and burned them. The police also arrested the religious leader and at the time our client came to us the religious leader was still in police custody. Our client managed to escape to the United States and applied for asylum on his own with USCIS but his application was initially denied by USCIS and he was placed into removal proceedings. Following the denial of his asylum application our client hired us to represent him in removal proceedings. A person seeking asylum must already be in the United States and must establish that he or she cannot or is unwilling to return to the home country for fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. First, we supplemented our client’s Form I-589 Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal. We also provided guidance to our client when updating his Statement in Support of Form I-589. In this statement, an applicant demonstrates why he or she should be granted asylum. In addition to our client’s statement, we obtained affidavits from family and friends that described the treatment that our client had received. These affidavits also described the treatment our client was expected to receive if he returned to his home country. After examining all of the evidence we presented in support of our client’s asylum application and hearing testimony, the Immigration Judge granted the asylum application. The Department of Homeland Security did not appeal the decision of the Immigration Judge.
Our firm provided immigration representation to an individual who had originally entered the United States using a visitor visa. He overstayed his visa and was placed into removal proceedings but he had no knowledge of the removal proceedings as the Notice to Appear was mailed to an incorrect address. Our client was deported in absentia but did not know it. He eventually married a US Citizen and applied for a green card without attorney representation. At his green card interview he was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and taken to prison. Our client’s wife contacted us and we filed a Motion to Reopen the in absentia order which provided an automatic stay of our client’s removal. Based upon significant legal research about the improper procedure followed by the Department of Homeland Security in issuing our client a Notice to Appear to an incorrect address, the Immigration Judge reopened our client’s deportation order.they were issued in absentia. He never received a Notice to Appear. Therefore, our client’s spouse only found out about his removal proceedings when he received a notice of denial for Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status and Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative that his wife had previously filed for him. Our firm then prepared and filed a new Form I-130, and a detailed Evidence Package that included documents establishing the bona fides of the marriage. At the immigration hearing, the judge terminated the removal proceedings to allow our client to apply to adjust status of permanent resident directly with USCIS. Our client recently received his green card.
Getson & Schatz, P.C. provided immigration representation to a client whose spouse petitioned for her to obtain a green-card through their marriage. The couple married in 2005. The spouse received conditional residency status for 2 years. Although their marriage was entered in good faith, the marriage ended in divorce in 2007. Our client had previously filed Form I-751 seeking a waiver of the joint filing requirement without the assistance of an attorney but it was denied. Our client was placed into removal proceedings and she retained our services. We prepared and filed a new Form I-751 Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence, along with an extensive evidence package that demonstrated that the marriage had been entered into in good faith. The evidence package included affidavits from the client as well as the client’s ex-husband’s family members and friends attesting to the bona fides of the marriage. We convinced family members of the client’s ex-husband to attend the proceedings. The Immigration Judge approved the renewal of our client’s I-751 waiver petition. With our help, our client obtained permanent resident status.
Our client is a native of Barbados who married a United States citizen in 2003. They have 3 United States citizen children. Our client had utilized the services of a non-lawyer to file her initial green card application. The green card application was not prepared properly and was denied. Our client had changed her address after the filing of the green card application the non-lawyer told our client he would notify the Immigration Service of the address change but never did. When the green card application was denied our client was placed into removal proceedings but she never received the notice that she had to attend a hearing in Immigration Court because the Immigration Service sent the notice to her old address. Our client was ordered removed in absentia. Several years later, our client was arrested and detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement for failing to depart the United States following the removal order which she did not even know about. Our client’s family retained us for assistance and we immediately filed a motion to re-open the in absentia removal order which automatically stayed the removal. We also filed a bond motion for our client to be released from detention. We successfully re-opened the in absentia removal order on the basis that our client did not receive notice of her hearing and our client was granted a bond by the Immigration Judge. Once she was released from prison we represented her husband in the filing of Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative on her behalf and filed a new I-485 adjustment of status application on her behalf. The I-130 Petition was approved and we thereafter filed a motion to terminate removal proceedings which was granted. The file was transferred to USCIS where our client was interviewed by a USCIS Officer on her I-485 adjustment of status application and the application was approved. Our client went from having a final order of removal against her to being a Permanent Resident of the United States.
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