Success Stories! Asylum Granted After BIA MTR & Chinese Parent-Child Petition Saved After 14 Years
Asylum Application for Syrian Approved After 21 Years
In 1995, a Syrian Christian woman, in the U.S. on a work visa at the time, filed for Asylum with the former INS. She feared returning to her home country due to a fear of persecution on account of her gender and religious beliefs. Her request for asylum was denied by the former INS in 1997. Following her asylum denial, the case was referred to the immigration court, where again, the Immigration Judge denied the asylum case in 2000. Although the judge did not find the woman’s asylum case was frivolous, he did find that she did not meet her burden in proving that she suffered past persecution. The case was appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals, which dismissed the appeal. She was left hopeless and prepared to return to Syria. However, in speaking with friends and family there, she realized that the situation had worsened, and decided to remain in the U.S.
Motion to Reopen Asylum Case Granted by BIA
In 2014, almost 17 years after her initial application was denied, she opened her case with our law firm. In evaluating her background and the current situation in Syria, it was clear that a Motion to Reopen her previous removal order was a possibility. Because the last tribunal to decide her case was the BIA, the request to reopen the case would have to be made to the BIA directly. Last year, the BIA approved the motion to reopen and the matter was remanded to the Los Angeles immigration judge. The judge granted asylum last week, bringing to a close 21 years of waiting, hoping, trying and hiding. Our client is now a full-fledged Lawful Permanent resident of the United States.
Immediate Relative Immigrant Visa for Chinese Applicant Approved After 14 Years
In 2002, Chinese woman “Li” (not real name) became a US Citizen based on her marriage and petition from her US citizen husband. The same year, Li filed a petition for her daughter, who was under 21 years of age at the time. Li’s daughter appeared for her Immigrant Visa interview at the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China, about 5 weeks later. By the time of her interview, Li’s daughter was 21 years and 6 months of age. Because the petition for her daughter had been filed before she was 21 years of age, she is deemed an “immediate relative” by virtue of the Child Status Protection Act. However, in a mistake, the Consulate treated the petition as an F-1 (Adult Daughter of a U.S. Citizen) and denied the Immigrant Visa.
Li and her daughter’s immigration hopes were demolished at that moment, as they realized that their reunion in the United States would not be occurring within one year, as they had planned. Thus began a 14-year struggle to correct and conclude the immigration process.
USCIS Infopass Appointments and Congressional Inquiry
Over those 14 years, several attorneys researched the matter. Four inquiries were made to the Consulate, numerous Customer Service phone number calls were made, and three Infopass appointments were attended at the Los Angeles USCIS Office office (it helped that Li kept meticulous records of each interaction!) Also, Li contacted her Congressional representative, who stated that she reached out to the State Department regarding the case. None of these efforts bore fruit. All the while, Li and her daughter lived an ocean apart. Whereas Li intended for her daughter to study and start her professional career in the U.S., that simply did not appear possible.
In taking over the case in mid-2015, our Firm researched what had occurred. Over the course of the next several months, Immigration Attorney Jeff Khurgel obtained a copy of the government’s file in the case, contacted USCIS officials in Washington D.C., and put the puzzle pieces together. What emerged was a tragic and frustrating picture; the consulate had mistakenly returned the file to the USCIS California Service Center in Laguna Niguel, California via the National Visa Center. At some point through the years, inquiries were made at the Los Angeles USCIS office in downtown Los Angeles, which triggered the transfer of the file to that office. There, the file was somehow either simply destroyed or lost.
The Road Back to Guangzhou – Immigrant Visa Processing Resumes
Our Firm worked with the Los Angeles USCIS office to “re-create” Li’s 2002 petition and filing for her daughter. Then we closely followed as the “re-approved” petition made its way from Los Angeles, to the California Service Center in Laguna Niguel, to the National Visa Center in New Hampshire, and finally, back to the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou. Per our request, the daughter was protected under the Child Status Protection Act in that she was treated as an under-21 “immediate relative” and granted an immigrant visa quickly, despite her current age. In April of 2016, Li’s daughter finally joined her in the United States.
These are just two of numerous examples of cases that people thought were hopeless, but in which an experienced immigration attorney made all the difference in the world. If you or someone you know believes that an immigration case cannot be resolved, schedule a consultation with our law firm for a detailed evaluation.