[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.]
Esteban came to the United States from Mexico as an EWI (entry without inspection) and re-settled in Tennessee where he eventually became an attendant in a facility that treated people who were mentally challenged. Within a short time, he saw that he had a natural rapport with the clientele, so he started taking classes to with the goal of becoming a psychiatric nurse.
During his studies, Esteban met a sweet woman named Jillian, a person who is bipolar, a professional librarian, and who took classes concerning psychology to better understand her diagnosis and learn how to deal with it. In time, they became romantically involved and eventually married. A few years later, they had two children.
For sure, by 2016, Esteban had almost earned his BA but needed an adjustment of status if he was to further progress at his job. Therefore, at Jillian’s urging, he sought the help of the Margaret W. Wong office in Nashville.
After much deliberation, our team decided to first file an I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) wherein Jillian sponsored her husband and an I-589 (Application for Asylum) on Esteban’s behalf and move forward from there.
Certainly, the asylum claim was warranted because Jillian’s first husband, Chris, a very disturbed and dangerous man, had fled the United States and was now living in Mexico. A very wealthy and well-connected individual, Chris had sent some very threatening letters to Jillian, after he found out about her marriage to Esteban, saying that if they ever returned to Mexico, he would find them and kill them.
Fortunately, Jillian had kept these letters as evidence so these, combined with Chris’ arrest record in the U.S. for violent assaults, created an excellent case for her and Esteban to stay out of Mexico and as far from Chris as possible.
To parallel the asylum claim, we planned to file an I-485 (Application for Legal Permanent Residency) for Esteban, but for it to be successful he would have to leave the United States and return on advance parole to counter the EWI.
Therefore, we sent Esteban to the Mexican Consulate in Atlanta to acquire a passport while we obtained for him a travel document as well as an EAD (employment authorization document) so that he could accept a long-awaited promotion at his workplace.
Accordingly, in July of 2017, Esteban and Jillian took their children to the Bahamas for three days where they enjoyed a rendezvous with Esteban’s relatives, several of them quite aged, who were thrilled to finally meet the new family. At the end of the visit, Esteban was able to legally re-enter the United States, so we were able to file for him an application for legal permanent residency.
A few months later, in November of 2017, Esteban had his first asylum interview which was basically a walk-through; the immigration official simply noted that Esteban had an I-485 pending and promised to hold off on issuing an NTA (Notice to Appear) for as long as possible; in fact, the sitch with Chris was not even mentioned.
Almost a year later, in September of 2018, a legal representative from our office accompanied Esteban and Jillian to his USCIS interview which we hoped would end with Esteban being granted a green card. Instead, the interview ended with the ISO saying that he would have to review the matter with his superiors. He then asked Esteban to sign a statement verifying that except for a speeding ticket in 2014, Esteban had not been involved in any “criminal misconduct” during his tenure in the United States.
A month later, though, we were stunned when we received notice that Esteban’s green card application had been denied because he had supposedly lied concerning the 2014 violation; in addition to speeding, he was cited for driving without a license.
Certainly, Esteban was very upset and had to struggle to regain composure before he tearfully exclaimed that he would have sworn on his life that the blasted ticket had been for speeding and nothing else.
Certainly, our team was quite perturbed, too, because USCIS had flatly denied Esteban’s claim instead of issuing a NOID (Notice of Intent to Deny) which would have given us time to file an I-601 (Application for Waiver on Ground of Inadmissibility) which would have addressed the falsehood/mistake and possibly resolved the matter.
Certainly, our team then filed an appeal that was ultimately denied.
Not to be deterred, though, the Margaret W. Wong team decided to start over by filing a new I-485, as well as the I-601, only this time including extensive documentation that pertained to Jillian’s bipolar depression and how much her relationship with Esteban had enhanced her life.
Of course, if Esteban were to be deported, Jillian’s condition would worsen and, if she and the children would have to move to Mexico to maintain their family unit, the impact of relocating might prove to be detrimental for Jillian.
Unfortunately, we had to hold off on filing/re-filing these applications because the NVC (National Visa Center) let it be known that the I-130 that we filed for Esteban in 2016 had been “terminated” due to various entanglements, even though we had diligently kept the NVC informed as to the progress of Esteban’s case. To remedy the dilemma, we filed a request for reinstatement that was finally granted in February of 2020 thus allowing us to move forward once again.
A few months later, in August, we were able to submit to USCIS a sizable package that included the new I-485 and the I-601 waiver request with an attachment containing a detailed account of Jillian’s history as documented by two doctors.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a USCIS interview was delayed for several months but we finally got a date in March of 2021, so we terminated the asylum application and got ready by thoroughly reviewing all that had transpired over the last few years and prepping Esteban and Jillian for at least two hours.
As it turned out, the ISO was tough on Esteban for “misrepresentation” on the driving without a license episode seven years before but went on to acknowledge that Esteban was “obviously a good man” who worked hard and was devoted to his family.
Since his own niece was bipolar, the ISO spoke to Esteban and Jillian about the chronic condition for a moment and congratulated Esteban who had just completed all his classes and was about to undergo the final round of testing to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner.
“It sounds like you’ve come a long way,” said the ISO with a smile, just before he granted legal permanent residency to our client.