[Please note: The Client’s name and case key details may have been altered to preserve the identity of the client. This Success Story is not intended to be an offer of service or case plan. Every case is unique. The Success Story is presented for information purposes only.]
Felix, an intellectually brilliant but emotionally troubled person from the Dominican Republic, came to us, as the holder of a two-year, marriage-based green card, seeking to obtain legal permanent residency even though he was in the process of divorcing his wife on the grounds of physical and psychological abuse.
Accompanying Felix on all his visits to our offices was his brother, Johanny, himself a U.S. citizen who, with the help of his wife, Jackie, managed Felix’s affairs and took care of him for reasons that, to our team were increasingly obvious.
To put it simply, Felix was tremendous when he came to analyzing economic data or economics in general but, on a personal level, he had a very difficult time remembering things like the age difference between his wife, Victoria, and himself as well as the names of her children/his stepchildren.
Moreover, Felix was a very anxious person who tended to ramble and frequently interrupt those who conversed with him. When people other Johanny or Jackie tried to assist him, Felix became hostile and suspicious.
Johanny privately told us that Felix had been plagued with such problems since childhood and even though he excelled academically, his temperament kept him from advancing and, due to his reputation both in his homeland and in the United States, no one would hire him for anything except temporary consulting work.
As for the case, itself, Felix elaborated on how he had journeyed to Northeast Ohio on a work-related assignment, as well as to visit his beloved brother, when he met and became involved with Victoria, mother of two teenagers, who compulsively wanted to marry him right away which he agreed to do because he had never been married before and was lonely.
Their marriage was good in the beginning, so Victoria was able to secure a marriage-based green card for Felix although their union soon turned tumultuous since they both had volatile personalities. Along these lines, both Felix and Victoria filed several police reports against each other claiming the other party subjected him/her to physical, as well as mental, cruelty.
On one occasion, Victoria even accused Felix of sexually assaulting her but, fortunately for Felix, his attorney was able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Felix was working at the time of the alleged happening so the case was dismissed.
Much to the relief of Johanny and Jackie, Felix finally separated from Victoria and moved into his own apartment that Johanny helped him pay for because the alternative would have been for Felix to stay with him and his family which wasn’t possible because Felix always complained about how noisy and disrespectful his brother’s children were; along these lines he also despised Victoria’s kids and grimaced whenever their names were brought up.
To be sure, Felix told us that he would have been out of the relationship a long time ago, but he really liked the United States and wanted to remain here if possible. In fact, one of the few positive things that our team heard Felix say during our meetings was that he really liked living in this country due to the freedoms afforded to him by the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights and, as an economist, he highly approved of laissez faire.
Our team told Felix that even though he was planning to divorce Victoria, he still had a good chance at remaining in the United States since abuse was a factor in the dissolution of marriage. Therefore, we filed an I-751 (Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence) on Felix’s behalf at the end of December of 2019.
Since the evidence that Felix initially gave us regarding his mistreatment was scant, our team was not surprised when a “request for evidence” aka RFE was issued by USCIS several months later.
Because Felix kept insisting that he had nothing more because Victoria had burned all his legal papers out of spite, we suggested that he allow Johanny to do some research which Felix did although he insisted that it would do no good.
Nevertheless, Johanny, with our guidance, managed to come up with the necessary documentation such as police reports pertaining to the abuse and joint bank accounts, rental agreements, photos taken by Jackie and himself, substantiating the contention that, at least in the beginning, Felix and Victoria were serious about trying to achieve a nurturing marriage.
To his credit, Felix did arrange for our representation to talk to his psychologist who was more than willing to provide his with a detailed affidavit that supported Felix’s claim that he was indeed largely the victim when it came to matters involving Victoria.
Because we were concerned that Felix might be considered a “public charge” due to his need for continued health care, Johanny secured authentication that his brother was a beneficiary on his about-to-be ex-wife’s private insurance policy and that the divorce agreement stipulated that he would continue to be for an extended period after the divorce became final.
By the first of June, our team had put together a formidable package which we submitted in response to the RFE. Subsequently, our case moved forward and a USCIS interview was set for the first of December of 2020.
When we prepped Felix for the interview, two days prior to it taking place, he had a very difficult time remembering items like the address of the house that he shared with Victoria. He got increasingly testy and said that he didn’t like working with our paralegal who was a woman and asked if he could work with a man instead.
However, Ms. Wong cut in and quietly but firmly told Felix that our office recognizes gender equity and that the all our attorneys and paralegals are highly competent, professional people; therefore, Felix must continue to work with the party assigned to him.
At this point, Johanny, once again thankfully on hand, sharply told his brother to “knock it off” before giving us an undated copy of Felix’s medical records showing that he was quite ill. Therefore, our team decided to submit these records to the ISO as a supplement labeled “hardship” which would explain his erratic behavior.
As we expected, during the USCIS interview, itself, Felix was quite emotional and nearly cried but we were able, due to the psychological/medical reports, to demonstrate that he was depressed and on prescribed medications that the ISO happened to be familiar with since he too had an afflicted relative.
By the end of January, Felix’s I-751 was approved and he received his permanent green card. Due to his divorce, now final, he would have to wait five years until he could apply for U.S. citizenship instead of the usual three years if he had remained married, but this didn’t seem to matter much too him; he was content just to be clear of Victoria and able to stay in the U.S.
Felix’s brother Johanny gave us a glowing on-line review and recommended a couple of his friends from the Dominican Republic consult Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC on immigration matters.
Felix’s psychologist also submitted a carefully worded but quite commendable review praising our “patience and understanding” when dealing with “problematic situations.”