Becoming a U.S. citizen before your child turns 21-years-old may be the difference between your child getting their green card immediately, or having to potentially wait several years to be granted permanent resident status. Because of this huge difference, RMZD went to great lengths to schedule a private naturalization ceremony for our client.
Henry sought the assistance of Reeves Miller Zhang & Diza on January 29, 2018. He had already passed his naturalization interview the week before, but his family was now facing a critical deadline. His daughter, Andrea, was turning 21-years-old in less than a week, and she desperately needed her father to become a U.S. citizen before her 21st birthday.
Andrea is a college student with DACA, but she still needed her father to immediately become a naturalized citizen so she could be protected by the Child Status Protection Act. If Henry could become a U.S. citizen before Andrea’s birthday, she would immediately be eligible for her green card. But if Henry was not able to take the oath of citizenship until on or after Andrea’s birthday, she would have to wait several years before she could be granted permanent resident status.
Most naturalization oaths are administered in public ceremonies with thousands of people. The next such ceremony was not scheduled until ten days after Andrea’s birthday. Henry’s lawyer, Attorney Lorella Hess, knew immediately that this would not help Andrea. Attorney Hess knew that Henry’s and Andrea’s only option was to arrange a special oath ceremony in federal court just for Henry. These types of private oath ceremonies simply for one new U.S. citizen are extremely rare, and the almost impossibly short deadline presented a tremendous additional challenge.
The stakes for Henry and Andrea and their family were very high, but Attorney Hess knew that “almost-impossible” means “still-maybe-possible.” So she started searching for a federal judge who might be the hero this family needed. Attorney Hess was ultimately able to communicate with a compassionate judge who was sympathetic to Henry’s and Andrea’s situation. In an answer to the family’s prayers, Henry became a U.S. citizen just four days after walking into RMZD’s office, and just two days before Andrea’s 21st birthday.
There was not a dry eye in the courtroom as Henry took the oath. Not only was he becoming a U.S. citizen, but Andrea would also be getting her green card in just a few short months. Henry says that this story will be told in his family “for generations.” Andrea is thankful to everybody who helped, including Attorney Hess and RMZD “for giving her and her family hope.”