Margaret W. Wong & Associates - Immigration Lawyers
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Success Stories: Motion to Reopen

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FIRM OVERVIEW

Margaret W. Wong & Associates LLC is a full-service immigration law practice that provides legal advice and representation to people and companies in the United States. The firm has over 80 years of combined legal experience among its attorneys and serves its clients from offices in Cleveland, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Nashville, Columbus, Minneapolis, and Raleigh. Contact us here to schedule a consultation to discuss your needs. 

TABLE OF CONTENTS (CLICK ONE TO VIEW THE STORY):

No Documents to Permanent Residency
Panamanian Man GC After Marriage
15 Years Undocumented to LPR
Status Changed After Detention
Reopen Daughter's Case for GC
Bulgarian Couple Return to US
USC Wife Wins LPR
Saudi Arabian Woman MTR
Overstay on Visa
Family of Three MTR
After 20 Chinese National Earns GC
Overstay Visitor's Visa
Motion to Terminate (BIA)
DHS Non Opposition

Woman from China Enters Without Documents in 2002; Married and Remained Through Numerous Denials with Other Attorneys; Hired Us in 2014, and Wins Lawful Permanent Residence Through Motion to Reopen and Terminate with Board of Immigration Appeals

Ms. Z, a 36 year old national and citizen of China entered the United States in 2002 near St. John, US Virgin Islands without inspection, by boat. At that time she was not in possession of a valid immigrant visa or other valid entry document. In 2003, Ms. Z was placed in removal proceedings upon service of the Notice to Appear charging her as removable under sections 212A (6) (A) (i) (present in the USA without being admitted or paroled) and 212A (7 )(A) (i) (I) of INA (not in possession of valid immigrant visa ). Ms. Z applied for asylum, withholding and CAT which were denied by an Immigration Judge in Guaynabo, in 2003. Her subsequent appeal to BIA was dismissed in 2004. She did not leave the US after she was ordered removal. She subsequently married a Chinese citizen who was in the process of applying for his permanent residency based on an approved I-130 Petition for Alien Relative that his sister had filed before April of 2001. Ms. Z hired our office to assist her with the case in 2014. After DHS initially declined to reopen her case, our office filed a motion reopen and terminate her case with the BIA (Board of Immigration Appeals) in order to allow her adjust status with USCIS. She was following to join her husband’s application for adjustment of status. BIA granted her case and subsequently our client filed I-485, application to adjust status to permanent resident with USCIS. The application was approved in November of 2016. Ms. Z is now a Lawful Permanent Resident. (Back to Top)

Panama Man Uses Motion to Reopen to Close Deportation Proceedings After Marriage to Green Card Holder

Mr. P, a national and citizen of Panama last entered the United States at NYC in 1989 on a B2 visa. He overstayed his visa and was placed in deportation proceedings and subsequently ordered deported by an immigration judge in 1989. He is married to Mrs. P. They were married in India in 1985. Mrs. P is a Legal Permanent Resident. In January 2016 Mr. P’s US Citizen Daughter filed an I-130 for him which was approved in May 2016. Our office filed a motion to reopen and terminate Mr. P’s deportation proceedings which was approved shortly after it was filed. Now Mr. P no longer has a deportation order and he will be filing his I-485, Application to Adjust Status to Permanent Resident with USCIS.(Back to Top)

Woman from India Legal Permanent Resident Fifteen Years After Undocumented Entry And Removal Order

Our client, a native and citizen of India entered the United States in June of 2001. Upon her entry without proper documentation, she was interviewed by an asylum officer who found she had a credible fear of persecution. She was then placed in removal proceedings by issuance of a Notice to appear charging her as being an arriving alien. She was paroled pending deportation proceedings and an I-94 was issued. She was ultimately ordered removed by an Immigration Judge on December 20, 2002, after her case was denied.

In October 2015 her US Citizen Daughter filed an I-130 Petition and our office also filed an I-485, Application to Adjust Status to Permanent Resident. Both applications were approved in March 2016. She is currently a permanent resident of the United States. However, due to the fact that she had an unexecuted removal order our office also filed a Motion to Reopen and Terminate her removal proceedings. The motion was granted and our client now enjoys the privilege of being a Legal Permanent Resident.(Back to Top)

A CITIZEN OF INDIA GOT HER STATUS CHANGED AFTER SHE WAS DETAINED FOR ILLEGAL ENTRY TO THE US

Mrs. A.P entered the US in April 2001 from India and was immediately issued a Notice to Appear (NTA) before an immigration judge and was placed in removal proceedings. When she came to us for help, she needed to file a Motion to Reopen; to adjust her status to Legal Permanent Resident and to apply for employment authorization. She had married a Permanent Resident husband with whom they had two US Citizen children.

Our client’s case was complex as the removal proceedings were not yet dismissed; so we needed to file diverse forms for her and to accompany her in the whole process, prepare her for diverse interviews until her status was changed. We filed the JMTR (Joint Motion to Reopen) and JMTT (Joint Motion to Terminate) requests to reopen and to terminate the removal case for our client and got approval.

Then various forms including the I-601 (Application for Waiver of Inadmissibility), the I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) and the I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization), the I-140 (Petition for Alien Worker) and others were prepared and filed by our competent team.

After all the process we went through, we successfully got the removal proceedings of our client terminated and her status changed as both the Application for Waiver of inadmissibility and the Application to Register Permanent Residence were approved. Our client and her family were extremely happy with the results as they now can live without fear of removal and as now our client can live and work legally in the US hoping to later become a US Citizen. She highly appreciated our services.(Back to Top)

60 Year Old Korea Man in USA 20 Years as Visitor Overstay Uses MTR Motion to Reopen and Daughter's I-130 Petition for Alien Relative to Win Green Card

Client is a 60-year old native and citizen of South Korea. He has been living here in the U.S. since 1996. He entered on a B1 visitor visa through Los Angeles, CA. He came to our offices to assist him in filing a Motion to Reopen and rescind his prior in absentia removal order. Although we knew he had already filed one motion to reopen with another attorney, we agreed to file another motion to reopen for him based on ineffective assistance of counsel. The Board of Immigration Appeals denied the motion. We appealed it to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals by filing a Petition for Review, which denied the Petition for Review. It was then that we urged client to have his 21-year old U.S. citizen daughter file an I-130 for him, which would allow him to adjust status pursuant to INA 245(a) since he lawfully entered the U.S.

The I-130 filed by the daughter was approved in 3 months. We put together a joint motion to reopen and sent it to Office of the Chief Counsel, DHS, arguing that he is eligible to adjust. We knew with this joint motion that we had to tread very carefully since the client’s wife gained lawful permanent residence through asylum and previously admitted facts to the Immigration Court that were inconsistent to what the client was claiming; specifically, whether client and his wife were married at the time wife was applying for asylum. The DHS attorney however caught onto their marital status issues, which we were able to resolve by recommending that client amend his tax returns to reflect the marital status, and resubmit a new financial package to supplement the joint motion to reopen. After several months, DHS agreed to sign off on the Joint Motion to Reopen, which we filed to the BIA. The BIA reopened and terminated proceedings within 1 month. We filed the I-485 and work permit to USCIS, which issued an interview in 4 months. We prepped client extensively for his interview since we also were worried about whether there would be questions asked about the client’s wife’s asylum case. The I-485 was approved 4 days after we attended the interview.

Client, his daughter and wife are very happy he was finally able to adjust status. We appreciated his patience as we pursued different strategies to finally get to his Green Card.(Back to Top)

Couple Returns to Bulgaria for Visa Interview, Miss Hearing, Receive Removal Order and 5 Year Bar; MTR and Terminate Succeed, and Client Returns to USA

Client is a 51-year old native and citizen of Bulgaria. Her husband came to visit our office to discuss his wife’s case. She was recently issued a 221(g) document, visa refusal, at the U.S. consulate in Bulgaria due to the consulate needing additional information regarding Client’s prior asylum application and outcome of removal proceedings when she previously resided in the U.S. He asked if we could assist them in providing the proper documents to submit back to the U.S. consulate.

We immediately filed an EOIR (court) FOIA and USCIS FOIA to understand what happened with client’s prior removal proceedings. We discovered the Client and her minor son entered the U.S. in 2008 and were caught at the border and detained at a family detention center in Pennsylvania. They were processed for credible fear interviews since they claimed a fear of returning to Bulgaria; they were found credible by DHS. They were released from the family detention center and issued Notices to Appear (NTA) ordering them to appear in immigration court. Client’s husband was a U.S. citizen who got adjustment of status as an asylee. A prior attorney tried to file a late I-730 Petition for Client which was denied, and so it became necessary for client to pursue her own asylum case in Immigration Court. Client’s husband also filed an I-130 Petition, which was approved while she was in removal proceedings.

With a lack of understanding of the immigration procedures for consulate processing and adjustment of status, Client and her husband abruptly returned to Bulgaria for their immigrant visa interview. They did so without their attorney terminating removal proceedings prior to their departure. The Immigration Judge ended up issuing a removal order in absentia, which automatically barred the client from getting an immigrant visa overseas through consulate processing for 5 years.

Our office explained the dangers of departing the country to pursue consulate processing while in removal proceedings. We successfully filed a Motion to Reopen and Terminate with the Immigration Judge, who granted our motion, reopened and terminated removal proceedings. We argued the exceptional circumstances with respect to Client’s failure to appear at her final hearing. We also argued that Client showed due diligence necessary for equitable tolling of the filing deadline for Motions to Reopen. Clients were able to submit the Immigration Judge’s order terminate proceedings to the U.S. consulate as a response to the 221(g).(Back to Top)

Man from India Ordered Deported, But Marries Second US Citizen Wife, and Wins Legal Permanent Residency

Mr. P a citizen of India came to the US in early 90s’ without inspection. He got married to a US Citizen in 1997 who filed an I-130, petition for alien relative on his behalf. However, their marriage did not work out and the couple was divorced. Mr. P had no legal status. He was subsequently ordered removed by an immigration judge in 2004 but did not leave the country. He then married his second wife who is a US Citizen. They hired our office to assist Mr. P with his green card application. Our office filed a motion to reopen Mr. P’s removal proceedings to allow him adjust status. Mr. P’s case was reopened and terminated and he filed I-485, Application to Adjust Status with USCIS. His application was approved in 2016 and he is now a Legal Permanent Resident.(Back to Top)

Saudi Arabian Woman Wins Motion to Reopen, Green Card through Naturalized Husband

Mrs. M, of Saudi Arabia, was married to a Green Card holder. Together they had three children born in the U.S.

Unfortunately Mrs. M had a long history of immigration proceedings. She had applied for asylum, which was denied. She was placed in court proceedings and ordered removed. It was at this point, in 2008, that she approached the Law Office of Margaret Wong and Associates. She was in a bleak place, but there was hope: her husband was due to naturalize in one more year.

We needed to buy time. We filed an appeal with the BIA, which was unfortunately denied. We then appealed to the 6th Circuit, and were again denied. Happily, her husband received his citizenship and filed an I-130 Immigrant Petition for Alien Relative on her behalf. We used this I-130 to request that the BIA reopen Mrs. M’s removal proceedings so that she could obtain her Green Card through her husband.

After so many rejections, the BIA did agree to reopen Mrs. M’s case. We terminated her removal proceedings with the immigration court, and filed for her Green Card with USCIS. Attorney Rebecca Tseng in our Los Angeles office attended the couple’s adjustment interview in San Bernardino. After so much turmoil and such a long case history, Atty. Tseng reported that the interview went very smoothly and the officer asked no questions about Mrs. M’s former case history. He asked only for a copy of the immigration judge’s order terminating her proceedings.

Mrs. M’s Green Card arrived in the mail one day shortly thereafter. It took many years, but Mrs. M and her husband never gave up. After so many years of living in fear, Mrs. M was finally a lawful permanent resident.(Back to Top)

Man from China Overstays Student Visa, Wins Permanent Status 15 Years Later

Mr. P.Y., a citizen of China, entered the United States on an F-1 student visa in 2001. He has remained in the U.S. ever since. As a result of the overstay, he was placed in removal proceedings and charged under section 237 (a) (1)(C)(i) of INA as amended, for failure to maintain non-immigrant status under which he was admitted.

He appeared in front of an immigration judge in 2010 and filed an application for asylum, withholding and CAT. He claimed that he would be harmed if he returned to China for attending his religion and as a member of an underground Church. He claimed that he was arrested and beaten by police in China. In 2011 the immigration judge denied his applications for relief. No voluntary departure was requested or granted. Subsequently he filed an appeal with the BIA which was dismissed and then a petition for review with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. He is now married to a U.S. Citizen. They were married in 2013. In 2013 his wife filed an I-130 which was approved in 2014.

He hired our office to assist him with his case. Our office worked diligently and filed a Motion to Reopen his case with BIA. The motion was granted and proceedings terminated. We then filed his I-485, application for adjustment of status with USCIS which was approved. Our client is now a legal permanent resident. The case was handled by our attorneys Fabiola Cini and William Low.(Back to Top)

Motion to Reopen and Terminate for Family of Three

Our clients are a family from Albania. The father was granted asylum but a different Immigration Judge (IJ) denied asylum to the mother and child. The father then filed I-730 petitions for his wife and child which were approved. The family then filed I-485s to adjust to legal permanent resident (LPR) status. However, when their N-400 naturalization application was denied based on a final order to remove.

We decided to file a motion to reopen and terminate (MTR and MTT) in light of the approved I-730s. We prepared affidavits for our clients as well as the motions and filed with them with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). Within two months we heard back from the BIA. The motions were granted. Our clients were thankful the guidance Margaret W. Wong and Associates provided through this frustrating and difficult time.(Back to Top)

After 20 years, Chinese national gets his green card

Our client, a Chinese national in his 40s, came to our office in 2010 seeking help with his extraordinarily complicated immigration case that spanned two decades, three marriages, and countless setbacks.

When our client was 24 years, he old took a boat from China to the United States. He landed on the shores of California where he and 200 others were detained and put into deportation proceedings.  He was improperly detained for nearly two years and denied bond over a technicality. After 20 months, he was released on bond, moved across the country and applied asylum. Unfortunately, his attorney at that time gave him some terrible advice. The attorney told him that he could ask the IJ for a work permit in order to save money to buy a ticket back to China. The attorney told him he’d be able to work legally and wait until the laws changed to make it easier for him to get a green card. The IJ granted him voluntary departure and on the bad advice of his attorney at the time, he stayed in the US.

Our client later filed a successful grievance against his attorney, but the damage was done and he had a final order of deportation.

In 1997 our client married a US citizen, who filed an I-130 marriage based petition on his behalf. They were happily married for four years and during that time they went to several interviews with immigration officers. They supplied additional information and documents whenever the officer requested them but, unfortunately, our client never received an approval due to his final order of deportation. Our client was scheduled for another interview in June 2001, but his attorney advised him not to attend because of the risk that he might be picked up and deported. Around this time, his marriage started to crumble due to the stress wrought by the uncertainty of his immigration status. His wife met another man and they divorced in 2002.

Despite this heartbreak and the constant doubt surrounding his status, our client moved on and in 2004 he married a legal permanent resident. With his second wife, he filed a motion to reopen his case but was denied because he had failed to leave the country when he was granted voluntary departure. Over the next two years, our client tried again and again to reopen his case, filing several motions and appeals with the Immigration Court and the Board of Immigration Appeals, all of which were denied because of his final order of deportation.

Again, the constant stress and anxiety of his unresolved immigration status took a toll on his personal relationships. His wife was eager to start a family but didn’t want to do so when he was in such an ambiguous and unstable position. She was frustrated that he couldn’t travel with her. Furthermore, she was embarrassed by his lack of status and ashamed to tell her family about their situation. Our client’s wife began to suffer from depression and their marriage fell apart. They separated in 2007 and were divorced four years later.

Our client then fell in love with a US Citizen and married her in 2011. He took on an active role in her daughter’s life and they bought a condo together. The couple also ran a successful business that employed many Americans. Our client was always eager to contribute to his community and over the past 20 years he paid more than $100,000 in taxes.

Having such a strong bond with his family and community, our client wanted to resolve his immigration once and for all. He didn’t want his wife and step-daughter to worry or fear that he could be taken away.

First, we filed an I-130 petition and then a joint motion to reopen. Our client met all the requirements to adjust status, except for his order of deportation. However, we were able to argue that our client was only ordered deported because of his then attorney’s failure to communicate to our client his commitment to abide by the voluntary departure. Furthermore, because of his strong family and community ties in the United States, we requested that the Department of Homeland Security exercise positive discretion in reopening his case.

The motion was granted and we proceeded to file for his adjustment to permanent resident status. After his I-485 interview, our client was approved for a green card! A few months later, his wife gave birth to a son. Our and his family are grateful that they no longer have to fear that he may be deported at any time and can now focus on their growing family and business.(Back to Top)

Motion to reopen for alien who entered on a visitors visa and overstayed

We successfully reopened our client's case so he can adjust to lawful permanent resident status. Our client came to the U.S. in the early 1990's on a visitor visa and overstayed. He was placed in removal proceedings and granted voluntary departure by the Immigration Court. He never left the U.S. Our client later married a U.S. citizen, with who he had a baby. His wife filed an I-130 petition for alien relative, which was approved. However, because our client had a final removal order, he could not adjust status unless his case was reopened. We filed a motion to reopen with the Cleveland Immigration Court explaining all of the equities in our client's case, including his family ties, responsibilities to take care of his U.S. citizen wife, baby, and elderly mother-in-law, his good moral character, his heart condition, the hardship that his removal would cause his U.S. citizen wife, and his eligibility to adjust status if his case is reopened. The court granted our motion after just 3 months. Now our client can adjust status and stay in the U.S. with his wife and baby son.(Back to Top)

BIA approval and motion to terminate

Attorney was successful in the grant of a motion to terminate deportation proceedings with the Board of Immigration Appeals.  One of our clients, a Chinese national married an American Citizen and has a young family.  He came to the United States almost 10 years ago seeking asylum.  His asylum case was not granted and this resulted in a final order of deportation.  When he first arrived in the United States and asked for asylum, the Immigration Officers granted him parole and allowed him to enter the United States to pursue his asylum application.  The granting of parole at a port of entry makes him an arriving alien.  When an alien is an arriving alien, USCIS can still grant lawful permanent residence even though the alien may already have a final order of deportation.  Since our client is married to a United States Citizen, our team filed an I-130 immigrant visa petition application and an I-485 application with USCIS.  Attorney even field a stay of deportation with Immigration and Customs and Enforcement.  Our client was too afraid to go to the interview since he thought he was going to be picked up by ICE and deported.  Our Attorney negotiated with ICE and when our client did not want to go, we asked USCIS to continue his case.  (Actually we begged with the USCIS Supervisor).  Because of the policy of the USCIS offices in different parts of the US, his case was denied because he did not appear for his interview.  After several conversations with our client, we finally convinced him to refile.  He refiled and he went to his interview the second time around and his case was approved!  Once his case was approved, we filed the Motion to Terminate Deportation with the Board of Immigration Appeals and proceedings were terminated.(Back to Top)

DHS non opposition to our motion. Green card approved

Our Attorney was successful in the grant of a motion to reopen sua sponte with the Board of Immigration Appeals.  Our client, an Indian National has been in the United States since she was nine years old.  Her parent filed an asylum application which was denied resulting in her acquiring a final order of deportation.  Our client did not know about this as she was extremely young and under the age of eighteen at this time.  Our client finished her high school career, undergraduate, and graduate work here in the United States.  Our client is a PH.D holder.  She is also married to an American Citizen.  Once Immigration and Customs Enforcement realized that she was still here, our team negotiated with ICE an order of supervision.  She was able to get a valid work authorization and be gainfully employed in the United States.  She is also married to a United States Citizen.  We filed the I-130 immigrant visa petitions and drafted a motion to reopen that told her life story and how she unknowingly had an order of deportation.  The Department of Homeland Security did not oppose the motion and given the significant equities in her case, she will be permitted to adjust status here in the United States in front of an immigration Judge.

A client from Panama entered the United States on a visa with his grandmother when he was a minor. He overstayed his visa and was placed into deportation proceedings. He applied for asylum and withholding of removal. The Immigration Judge denied his applications and granted voluntary departure. Our client appealed the decision, but the appeal was dismissed. He was given 30 days to leave. Our client did not leave because of a medical emergency with his grandmother who had a stroke. Our client attended high school and was a hard-working student. He met the love of his life in high school, and they eventually married after graduation. His wife became a U.S. citizen and filed an I-130 Petition on behalf of her husband which was approved. Our client hired a second lawyer to help him file a motion to reopen his case, but the lawyer incorrectly filed a motion to withdrawal his appeal which was already dismissed. His second attorney then filed a motion to reopen with the Immigration Court. The Court denied the motion stating that it did not have jurisdiction over the case. Our client's lawyer then filed a green card application with INS. His application was denied because he had a final order, and he was taken into custody by ICE. He hired a new lawyer to help him get out of jail. His third lawyer filed a motion to reopen again with the BIA. The BIA denied the motion for being untimely filed. Our client then retained our firm to help him with his case. We filed a joint motion to reopen with the government which was denied. We filed a second joint motion to reopen which was also denied. Then, we filed a new motion to reopen with the BIA arguing that the BIA should exercise its own authority to reopen the case because exceptional circumstances existed which warranted reopening. Our client now had four children and diligently tried to reopen his case over the years. But because of the actions of his second attorney, our client's case took a serious turn for the worse which delayed in the reopening of his case. Our client also never left because he had to help his grandmother who suffered from a stroke and is now partially paralyzed. The Board granted our motion. Sixteen years later his case was finally reopened. Now, he can apply for his green card with the court and stay with his beautiful family safely in the United States. Our client had four different lawyers and hit obstacle after obstacle, but our client and our firm persevered until the end. Our attorney Deborah Lee handled the case for the firm.

One of our clients, a national of Ghana, had an I-130 visa petition filed on his behalf by his United States Citizen Spouse. She passed away suddenly, without warning and at a very young age and before the couple was married for two years. The USCIS denied the visa petition and the I-485, application for permanent residence (AKA Greencard). Our office filed a Motion to Reconsider/Reopen with the USCIS Office that had jurisdiction over the case based upon the 6th Circuit decision in Lockhart v. Napolitano, 08-3321 (6th Cir. 2009). The USCIS agreed to reopen and adjudicate the case based upon our motion!

Our client was placed in removal proceedings after being convicted of a controlled substance offense. He is a lawful permanent resident. He was placed in ICE custody and was subject to mandatory detention. We filed a motion to vacate his criminal plea to the controlled substance offense. That motion was granted. We then moved to terminate removal proceedings. The motion was granted and the removal case was terminated. Our client was released from ICE custody. Scott Bratton handled the case.

Our client from Mexico was arrested by ICE and put in jail. He was told by Immigration officers that he had a final order of deportation, but our client had never even been to court. His family immediately hired our firm. We filed a FOIA request and received our client's court records. After a thorough review of the file and after speaking with our client at length about his immigration history we filed a Motion to Reopen the deportation order and argued that our client never received notice of his hearings and that this was a case of mistaken identity. DHS filed a response in opposition to our motion which we addressed. The Judge agreed with our position and reopened the case. Deborah Lee and Scott Bratton handled the case for the firm.

Our client from China entered the United States without inspection in 1988. He applied for asylum, and the Immigration Judge denied his case in 1996. Our client appealed his case, and the appeal was dismissed in 1997. He filed a motion to reopen based on changed country conditions in China which was denied in 2002. Our client married a Chinese woman who had also applied for asylum. Her case was granted in 2001. However, due to problems with the mail, our client and his wife never received the final approval until 2003. Our client married his wife prior to her grant of asylum, so she filed an I-730 Petition for relatives of asylees with the help of an attorney. The I-730 Petition was denied for being untimely filed outside the two-year deadline. She hired another attorney to help her file a motion to reopen which was also denied. Our client hired our firm to help us reopen the I-730 Petition, and our attorney Deborah Lee successfully argued that the late filing of the I-730 Petition was beyond the control of our client and his wife. USCIS reopened the case and approved the I-730 Petition in January 2009. After the approval, our attorney filed a joint motion to reopen with DHS, and DHS has agreed to join us in a motion to reopen the case. We are now filing a motion to reopen with the Immigration Court so that he can apply for a green card. Scott Bratton is handling the case for the firm.

Our client from India retained our firm to help her reopen her immigration case. She had a final order from 1995. She had entered the United States in 1991 and applied for political asylum. Her application was referred to the Immigration Judge. Our client retained a lawyer to represent her in Court. Her lawyer attended one hearing with her. He did not inform our client about the next hearing date and simply told her to wait. She tried to contact her lawyer to ask about the next hearing date and was simply told that she no longer needed to appear in court because her case was completed. Our client was young and did not know any English at the time. She also did not understand the immigration laws and simply trusted her lawyer to tell her the truth. She did not go to any hearing per her lawyer's instructions. It was not until 2009 that she found out that she had a final order of deportation when an ICE officer came to her door to arrest her. She retained our firm to help her to reopen her case. Our firm filed a FOIA request to retrieve all of her old court documents and tapes of the hearing and found out that her former attorney attended the final hearing and lied to the Judge about our client's whereabouts. Our client was shocked to hear the tape recording of what happened at her final hearing. We demonstrated that she was the victim of the ineffective assistance of her former lawyer. The Immigration Court agreed and reopened her case. Now, fourteen years later she has been given a chance to have her day in court and is eligible to apply for a green card. Deborah Lee and Scott Bratton handled the case for the firm.

Our client came to us after she had been ordered removed to Togo after her asylum application had been denied. In consulting with her, we learned that while in Togo, our client was forced to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM). This can serve as a grounds for asylum. However, it was never raised in her asylum application or at her hearing. Her former attorney never asked her about this. We filed a motion to reopen sua sponte requesting the court to allow her to file a new asylum claim based on her undergoing FGM in Togo. We also submitted substantial evidence in support of the motion. In January 2010, the immigration judge issued an order reopening the case sua sponte. This will allow our client to proceed on asylum based on the FGM. Scott Bratton is handling the case.(Back to Top)