[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.]
In July of 2018, an undocumented woman from Nigeria named Omolara living in Cleveland was picked up by ICE and then detained for over a month before being deported back to her homeland in early September.
Omolara had fled Nigeria in 2002 and entered the United States on a fake passport a month later. She felt that she had to leave because FGM was a common practice in her village and because she did not want this to happen to her. Plus, her father was planning an arranged marriage for her which involved a man that she didn’t like, let alone love.
A few months after her arrival, Omolara, with the help of an attorney, filed a claim for asylum that was denied in 2003. Later that year, Omolara agreed to do a voluntary departure and return to Nigeria but she never left the United States, and the asylum case was never appealed.
Instead, Omolara moved to Northeast Ohio where she met a man named Chuk, a legal permanent resident and later a U.S. citizen, also from Nigeria, who she fell in love with and later married. Over the years Omolara and Chuk had three children, two of them girls, and it always concerned her that someday she might be apprehended by the authorities and the whole family would be deported to Nigeria where her daughters might be subjected to FGM.
In 2017, Omolara decided that something had to be done so she sought the guidance of Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC. Wong’s Cleveland team who reviewed her case. To be sure, we considered filing a Motion to Reopen (MTR) regarding the asylum matter, but we didn’t believe that it would be successful because the laws in Nigeria regarding FGM had, thankfully, been changed in favor of women.
Instead, we filed an I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) in which Chuk petitioned on behalf of his wife and this was approved in May of 2018.
All told, our next steps involved Omolara returning to Nigeria for an extended period and then apply to be rightfully re-admitted to the United States. Accordingly, we then planned to file an I-601 (Application of Waiver for Grounds of Inadmissibility) to waive the 10-Year ban for being unlawfully in the USA for many years as well as an I-212 (Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission). When this was done, we could apply for legal permanent residency for Omolara as the wife and mother of U.S. citizens.
ICE, however, intervened and Omolara was deported which was unquestionably traumatic for both her and her family. Nevertheless, Chuk did a fine job caring for the children and within a few months they joined Omolara in Nigeria where, as a skilled auto mechanic, he was quick to find work.
Omolara, herself, reconciled with her father and discovered that the status of women in her homeland had very much improved especially in the urban area city where they made their temporary new home.
During this time, the family was in contact with the Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC. Wong team which worked to make it possible for Omolara, Chuk, and their children to return to the United States together although we knew this would take several years.
In February of 2021, we received word that the I-601 and the I-212 had been approved by USCIS. Of course, Omolara’s journey to return to the United States and apply for legal permanent resident would still take a while, our team was glad to have created a pathway.