A client requested asylum from an immigration judge based on his fear of returning to Mexico. In April of 2013, during the course of his immigration proceedings, the client was detained by ICE due to a 2012 DUI conviction. Bond was denied by ICE, the immigration judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals. Shortly after his detention, his asylum case was denied. While appealing the asylum case, we were able to go back to the criminal court and successfully vacate the DUI conviction allowing the client to withdraw his guilty plea. Without the DUI conviction, the client was eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). However, USCIS will not process DACA applications for applicants who are in immigration custody. Therefore, we continued to fight with the ICE for the release of our client.
We submitted evidence of the order granting the motion to vacate the DUI conviction, our client’s DACA eligibility and other equities in his case, which included a newborn U.S. citizen son. Shockingly, ICE continued to detain our client. We appealed the asylum decision to federal court, filed a Stay of Removal so that our client would not be deported, and filed a Writ of Habeas Corpus in federal court arguing that his continued detention was unconstitutional. Finally, in January of 2014, just when he was about to give up all hope, our client was released from immigration custody. He returned home to his U.S. citizen fiancé and was able to hold his newborn son for the first time. Once DACA is approved by USCIS, our client will be able to remain in the U.S. for a renewable two year period despite his removal order and obtain a work permit.
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