After an emotion-packed hearing, Judge Ingrid Hrycenko terminated exclusion proceedings and admitted Ms. M, who wishes to remain anonymous, as a lawful permanent resident, thereby allowing her to remain with her in the United States and ending a decade-long ordeal for Ms. M who came to the United States in 1986. As a result of Judge Hrycenko’s ruling, Ms. M, who has not had lawful status in the United States since her 1986 arrival, is now immediately eligible to become a Naturalized United States citizen. Although Ms. M does not want publicity, she does want her story to be told in the hope that other Filipinos will be able to avoid the fate she nearly suffered at the hands of a “famous” but relatively inexperienced attorney who nearly got her deported.
Ms. M traveled to the United States in 1986 with her sister, who was handicapped and could not travel alone. Her sister was immigrating through a petition from their father who was, and still is, a permanent resident. Ms. M was immigrating to Join her U.S. citizen husband. Although Ms. M’s sister was eventually admitted to the United States, Ms. M was “paroled in” pending further investigation of her marriage.
The INS’s investigation took nearly ten years and ended in 1995 when the INS revoked Ms. M’s immigrant visa after it concluded that her marriage was fraudulent. After revoking Ms. M’s visa in 1995, the INS put her in Exclusion Proceedings since she had never been admittedly paroled into the United States.
Aliens in Exclusion Proceedings have very few options available to them. Many of the humanitarian forms of relief available in Deportation Proceedings, such as Suspension of Deportation, are unavailable in Exclusion Proceedings. An alien in Exclusion Proceedings isn’t even eligible for Voluntary Departure. If Ms. M were ordered excluded and deported, she would have to leave the United States within days of the Order, even though she had been living here and supporting her family for nearly ten years.
She first went to a T.V. attorney thinking that this attorney was her last hope and paid him almost six thousand dollars ($6,000.000) to help her. However, when he asked her for another $5,000 to file an application for Suspension of Deportation, she decided to get a second opinion from Attorney Reeves.
During her consultation at Mr. Reeves’ Office, she learned that she wasn’t eligible for Suspension of Deportation and that if she applied for Suspension Of Deportation, her application would be denied and she would be ordered Excluded and Deported. However, she did discover that she was eligible to apply for a waiver of her alleged fraud under section 212(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Since her marriage had already ended and her father had never petitioned her, obtaining this waiver would be difficult. However, it was the only chance she had to remain with her family in the United States.
At her exclusion hearing, both the Judge Hrycenko and the INS trial attorney were impressed by Ms. M’s devotion to her family but were initially unconvinced that she was entitled to a 212(i) waiver since her marriage had already ended. However, Attorney Reeves’ office ultimately persuaded Judge Hrycenko that Ms. M’s application should be granted and that she should be allowed to remain in the United States to take care of her family. In making her ruling, Judge Hrycenko summarized Ms. M’s good fortune: “I find Counsel’s argument persuasive. Accordingly, this Exclusion Proceeding is Terminated and Ms. M is granted Permanent Residence in the United States.” The judge told Ms. M that she was lucky to have hired such a competent lawyer.
After the judge made her ruling, Ms. M realized that her decade-long ordeal was over. Weeping with joy, she hugged her family, all of whom had been present during the hearing. “When I went to Attorney Reeves Office, I had no hope,” said Ms. M. I had paid thousands of dollars to a supposedly “famous” attorney and had nothing to show for it. I have no way to adequately thank Attorney Reeves for what he has done.
The result we achieved in this case is not a miracle, said Attorney Reeves. It just shows what happens when you have a well-prepared case that is presented properly. This is the level of service all our clients have come to know and expect from us.
All attorneys should be honest with their clients. If they only have a couple of years experience in Immigration Law and have not handled complicated cases, they should decline it or refer to a more experienced attorney. One should not try to fool the public with negotiation hocus-pocus, (another word for begging), just because they lack the knowledge and experience to take the INS in the Federal Court when INS act improperly or unreasonably delays their clients’ cases.