By: Reeves Miller Zhang & Diza
Each year, we are privileged to be entrusted by many people to help them work through the maze that is immigration law. Every case and every client is important and leaves an indelible impression on us. We want to spend the next two weeks reflecting on some of the ways that we have helped people in 2014. The voice is that of the attorney who worked on the case but the feelings are representative of all of us.
Maria came into our office with questions about her “pending” application for permanent resident status (Green card). By checking the relevant government databanks, we learned that Maria’s application had been denied and that she had been ordered deported for having failed to attend a hearing she knew nothing about. Maria entered the U.S. with a Fiancé(e) visa so that she could marry the love of her life. After they married, her dream turned into a nightmare. Maria fled their home after months of suffering abuse at the hands of her husband. Her green card application was denied because she did not attend the interview. The case was then referred to court. Her husband got the notice but did not tell her. When she did not appear, the judge ordered her deported. Maria thought all was lost but we told her it was not. We reopened her court case and convinced the judge that she was entitled to a green card based on her marriage (without her husband’s involvement). Today, Maria is safe and legal.
One of the very first cases I had the privilege to work on at Reeves Miller Zhang & Diza was a naturalization case for R, a lovely woman, a kindergarten teacher and mother of two. This case was especially touching because it was the last chapter in a long, hard-fought path to citizenship that began with R’s husband over 11 years ago. From the offices of USCIS to the immigration courts and back, our firm had waged a decade-long battle on behalf of our client’s husband to successfully terminate his removal proceedings and attain U.S. citizenship. After obtaining a spousal-based green card for R a little over three years ago, we were now approaching the final stretch: U.S. citizenship. R’s mother was arriving in the states for the holidays the following week and R was understandably anxious about the interview—she didn’t want anything to go wrong at this point in the process. R came into our office a week before the scheduled interview and we walked her through the process, giving her a mental roadmap for the interview so that she would feel extremely prepared. I am happy to say that her interview went well and that this very week, she will be sworn in as a citizen of the United States.
With the promise that he would someday be granted citizenship in the United States, Jose proudly fought as an elite Philippine Scout alongside American forces during World War II. Decades later, the promise made to Jose and many other brave Filipino soldiers finally became a reality, and in 1992 Jose became a United States citizen. Soon after obtaining his citizenship, Jose filed an immigrant visa petition so that his daughter, Maria, could join him in the United States. While the petition was ultimately approved, Maria faced a very long wait to immigrate due to visa backlog. Tragically, while she waited, Jose suddenly passed away. While struggling to cope with the loss of her father, Maria learned that her father’s passing had legally terminated the petition he had filed for her. Maria was devastated. She had never married, and she never had children. Lost, and without hope, Maria sought the assistance of the attorneys at Reeves, Miller, Zhang and Diza, who fought vigorously to have her father’s petition reinstated on humanitarian grounds. Although an extremely challenging task, this year Maria was informed that her request for the reinstatement of her father’s petition was granted. Now, twenty-two years after Jose sought to bring his daughter to the United States, Maria awaits the immigrant visa interview in Manila which will joyously reunite her with her family members in the United States; and keep the promise which a father made to his daughter so long ago.
Next week we will let more of our attorneys voice their gratitude for allowing us to help you. Happy Holiday Season from our family to yours!