When a client hires the Law Offices of Reeves & Hanlon, a Professional Law Corporation, we accept the responsibility to obtain the benefits for which the client hired us. This includes court action if the INS refuses to make a decision, unreasonably delays the case or otherwise acts improperly. For our own client, we do not charge any additional fee if we find it necessary to go to the Federal Court to force the INS to grant the relief sought. We expect the INS to pay our clients’ attorney fees for the extra work done in the Federal Court. Presently, the INS District Office in Los Angeles is in an absolute state of chaos. Nobody seems to know or care what is going on.
We are presently representing over 200 clients in the U.S. District Court in order to force the INS to do its job such as grant our clients’ applications for naturalization, permanent resident status and to produce documents from our clients’ INS files.
The following are summaries and results of some of these cases.
Morales v. INS, No. 96-8738, Judge John G. Davies: This is a lawsuit to force the adjudication of applications for permanent resident status (“green cards”) submitted by 16 of our clients. These clients waited more than 12 months from the date of filing for their applications to be adjudicated. Some of the plaintiffs waited for more than two years before they hired us to force the INS to adjudicate their cases. All but one of these clients have now received their green cards, and we expect the one remaining client to receive hers shortly.
Bautista v. INS, No. 97-5381, Judge Richard A. Paez: This is another lawsuit to compel the INS to follow the law and adjudicate applications for permanent resident status for 42 of our clients whose cases have been unreasonably delayed. Almost immediately after the suit was filed two of the plaintiffs had their applications approved. We expect the INS to adjudicate all of these cases in a very short period of time.
Verde v. INS, CV 97-4684, Judge Consuelo B. Marshall: This is a lawsuit to make the INS adjudicate naturalization applications for 21 of our clients who have either not been granted timely interviews or timely oath-taking ceremony after the approval of their application. At least one plaintiff is suffering from terminal cancer as she waits for her overdue application to be processed. The INS is aware that her doctors told her she has only a few more months to live. Her dream is to live as an American, even if for only a short period of time. We expect to make that come true. Since the lawsuit was filed, the INS has scheduled interviews and oath-taking ceremonies for at least 9 of the plaintiffs. We expect the INS will follow the law very quickly in these cases, now that they have to report to a federal court judge and explain why they have not done their jobs.
Cosio v. INS, CV 97-5380, Judge Ronald S.W. Lew: In this class action lawsuit, we are compelling the INS to comply with over 60 of our clients’ requests under the Freedom of Information Act for documents about their cases.
In the Matter of Gubatina, CV-97-90-MISC., Judge Fern M. Smith: This is a motion in federal court to force the INS to calendar a naturalization hearing. Ms. Gubatina was interviewed in July 1996, but did not receive her adjudication for over 11 months. Soon after this motion was filed by our office her application was granted.
These lawsuits require attorneys who have the training, experience and the legal wherewithal to pursue the cases in the U.S. District or Immigration Courts. In a recent battle in the INS Court, we represented one member of a family consisting of a mother and seven children. We will call them Mrs. T and family, case number A73 955 747 (no name or picture is included out of respect for our clients’ right to privacy). The mother was already a United States citizen. She brought her children to the U.S. under visitor’s visas, since expired. The mother filed petitions for her children to make them lawful permanent residents. The petitions were successful, except that, unfortunately, the eldest child turned 21 before the INS adjudicated his petition, thus making him ineligible for approval. This meant that he faced the possibility of being deported while his brothers, sisters and mother remained in the U.S.
After several years of living in the U.S. unlawfully, the family hired us. The eldest child, under the representation of Reeves & Hanlon, surrendered to the INS and asked to be placed in deportation proceedings. We believed we could win a suspension of deportation for him. We demonstrated to the court how deportation would result in exceptional hardship for him and his family. Furthermore, we brought to the judge’s attention how INS allowed him to turn 21 before his interview, resulting in a denial of his green card application.
The hearing judge agreed that our client deserved suspension from deportation and now he is living here legally along with his family. We knew it was a risk to have the client surrender and enter deportation proceedings, but we also knew our ability to demonstrate to the court that our client has good moral character and that he and his family would suffer extreme hardship if he was deported. We also know that we have extensive experience and a track record for winning substantially all of these kinds of cases. At Reeves & Hanlon, we will not tolerate INS delays, misconduct or accept any unjustifiable denials.