By the Attorneys of Reeves Miller Zhang & Diza
At Reeves Miller Zhang & Diza, we handle cases in all avenues of immigration law: family-based, employment-based, business and investments, deportation defense, naturalization, appeals and federal litigation. The cases are very different but a common theme that runs through how we handle them is: never give up. A friend of mine once told me that she knew my philosophy is “it ain’t over till the alien wins”. That is true for all the lawyers and support staff of RMZD. This week and next, we will give a few examples of the practical application of that philosophy.
Some cases require persistence from the client and skill and comprehensive knowledge of immigration law to get them over the finish line. “Jane” was petitioned by her father, a citizen by virtue of his service to the U.S. Armed Forces in World War II. Just as the visa was finally available, Jane’s father fell ill and passed away. Several years later Jane came to RMZD and we set to work preparing and filing a request for humanitarian reinstatement of the petition. Despite our efforts, USCIS initially denied the request. But we did not give up. We filed a comprehensive motion to reconsider pointing out the numerous errors in the USCIS decision. After a few months USCIS issued a decision approving the motion and reinstating the petition. By now, Jane herself had five children two of whom were over the age of 21. She feared that they would not be allowed to immigrate with the family and, indeed, initially the National Visa Center excluded the overage children from the case. But we struck back and explained to the NVC and then again to the Embassy that both children were eligible under the Child Status Protection Act. In the end, Jane and her five children as well as her husband were finally able to immigrate to the United States and fulfill Jane’s father’s wish for his family.
In this next case, “Mary” did not know she had a removal [deportation] order for failure to appear at a hearing before the immigration judge. Mary had never received notice of the hearing. RMZD successfully reopened her case which allowed her to stop fearing that “knock on the door”. Unfortunately, many circumstances, including how she entered the United States, made most forms of relief unavailable to her. Mary applied for asylum based on her membership in a particular social group which was denied. Notwithstanding the denial, we strongly encouraged her to seek counseling for past traumatic experiences. In counseling, Mary disclosed the terrible abuse she had suffered by her relatives in the U.S. which potentially makes her eligible for relief under the Violence Against Women Act. Meanwhile, her asylum appeal had been dismissed by the Board of Immigration Appeals, and a Petition for Review was pending before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. We were able to successfully reopen her case before the Board of Immigration Appeals based on reconsideration of past traumatic experiences that impacted her ability to seek asylum within one year of her entry. We are now preparing to present her VAWA case to the immigration judge. Success will give Mary a green card.
“Ana” entered the U.S. more than 25 years ago and did not have valid immigration status for the vast majority of that time. Not only was she undocumented, she also had an outstanding order of deportation for many of those years. The man she married was a U.S. citizen and so were their children but she felt hopeless about her immigration situation. She was not willing to return to her native country to complete the process for her green card since she knew she would be barred from returning for 10 years due to her deportation order and her unlawful presence in the U.S., and she also knew that she was ineligible for adjustment of status. Her RMZD attorney explained that she would be eligible for her green card through adjustment of status if we could get her court case reopened. We contacted the Department of Homeland Security and explained all of the reasons why we believed Ana’s case should be reopened. And we are now happy to say that not only was her case reopened, but that she is a proud lawful permanent resident of the U.S. And while she is thrilled with her green card, she cannot wait to apply for U.S. citizenship!
Having a lawyer who knows the law is important. But having a lawyer who knows the law and never gives up can make all the difference. Stay tuned for more success stories next week.