We’re just past the half-way mark for the month, but I’m already so excited by the approvals our firm has received this month for our clients. In all of these stories, what kept the cases going was our clients’ hope. They didn’t give up – even though they were scared, had prior denials, were in deportation proceedings, and just weren’t sure they could do it. Regardless, they had hope that life could be better and that their immigration story could be a happy one. I am grateful for their trust in us and for not giving up! Names have been changed.
- Manny was one of the first clients our firm had. I went to visit him in jail just a few months after we opened our doors. Manny was in removal proceedings because of reckless conduct conviction – he had shot a gun up in the air. After talking with Manny, I realized he was a great candidate for a U visa because he had been shot at by someone a few years earlier. In fact, it was that very same assailant who had been chasing Manny when he decided to shoot in the air as a warning. We got Manny a U visa and his life turned around. He stopped drinking, he focused on his family and he even became a pastor. When we applied for his green card, though, USCIS gave us a very hard time. Without going into detail, let’s just say that there were two denials and it took over three years to get the decision we wanted. I’ll never forget the sound of Manny’s sobs of relief when we told him his green card was approved.
- Fatima hired us a few years ago to file a Good Faith Waiver I-751. The Joint I-751 had been denied and she was in removal proceedings. Fatima told me a story of abuse and control and we were able to get her I-751 approved AND get her out of removal proceedings. Earlier this month, she became a U.S. citizen!
- Jacques has lived in the US as a lawful permanent resident for 30 years, but never applied for naturalization. Why? Because he had 29 different arrests from over the years. Most of the arrests were traffic related – speeding, drag racing, broken tail light, etc. The sheer number made him think that he was ineligible to ever become a U.S. citizen. I looked through the records though and saw that there were only three things that were of concern – a DUI and two possession of marijuana charges, one of which was dropped. After reviewing the sentencing records and Georgia law, I saw that Jacques was eligible, but knew it might be a bit of a fight with such an extensive record. We went to his interview earlier this month and he’ll become a U.S. citizen in early February!
- I have known Samand since before I opened my law firm. He had an arrest from many years ago and his green card was complicated, but we got it approved. Fast forward nearly 12 years later and he’s ready for naturalization. He found me and hired me to complete the application. If I had a Pakistani grandfather, Samand would be it. He is kind, thoughtful, and enjoys teasing me for looking young (not so much these days with all the gray hair and wrinkles starting to appear!). He had his naturalization interview in November and while it went well, it seemed that the officer wasn’t convinced that the earlier arrest wasn’t an issue for naturalization. We discussed it, but didn’t receive a decision until this week. Samand will soon become a U.S. citizen. I called him today with the news and he told me he had been in the hospital, on oxygen, for the last two weeks – just being able to breathe on his own yesterday. There’s something miraculous about the timing of his case getting approved and his health improving.
Please don’t give up. Yes, immigration is hard and complicated, but you don’t have to have a perfect record to get the benefit you need. It’s so important, though, to make sure you have the right attorney to help you understand the issues, the potential problems, and the risks involved. Remember…there is always hope!