At the outset, you will notice that there are no pictures of our happy clients here. We don't ask/demand clients for the right to use their pictures in this or other success stories because their privacy interests far outweigh any other interests at stake. While their story is a common one, the extraordinary results we obtained for them are not. Both their story and the wonderful ending are told below.
A husband and wife entered the United States in 1992. The husband entered first (under his correct name) while the wife entered several months later under a fake name. She used a fake name to come here because her previous applications for a tourist visa were denied.
After arriving in the United States, the couple decided to stay. An unscrupulous immigration practitioner caused an application for political asylum to be filed on the wife's behalf. The husband was listed on the application. When it was denied, both husband and wife were placed into deportation proceedings. The couples' 2 wonderful United States children were not yet born.
The couple was charged with being deportable from the United States for not having proper documents. An application for labor certification was filed on the wife's behalf with the U.S. Department of Labor. Given the time constraints involved, the family's former immigration lawyer prosecuted the application for asylum. It was denied again and an appeal filed with the Board of Immigration Appeals. The couple petitioned the Ninth Circuit for Review because the Board denied their case.
By this time, it was around 1997 and the wife had left her previous employer, to start a new job. Given her proven track record of employment, her new employer was willing to sponsor her. And, they did. A new labor certification was filed and approved.
Then, the family came to me at my old firm. While employed by another, I was able to file the I-140 petition with Citizenship and Immigration Services and get it approved. We were unable to file the adjustment of status applications at the time as a jurisdictional matter. In the majority of cases, once you are placed into court proceedings, it is only the immigration judge that can grant your case. Nevertheless, you still must have the petitions filed at the appropriate service center.
Prior to leaving my old employer and starting the firm of Wilner & O'Reilly, I obtained the Office of the Chief Counsel's-the lawyers for government-consent to file a joint motion to reopen with the Board of Immigration Appeals. The government joined in our motion because I continually obtained immigration service approval to extend my clients voluntary departure deadlines.
The Board approved our motion. Not wanting to pay new lawyer fees, my clients elected to stay with the firm that I used to work at. When a lawyer was assigned to their case and arrived in court not very familiar with the facts of their case, which resulted in yet another continuance, my clients smartly exercised their right to have whatever lawyer they want to represent them, and retained us.
I appeared with my clients in court and got the case up to speed. The judge who was in charge of their case at the very beginning was no longer a judge in Los Angeles, so the case was reassigned to another immigration judge. Prior to the conclusion of their case, however, the newly assigned judge was reassigned to another court. After repeated appearances in immigration court, however, the clerk's office had failed to appropriately assign the case to another judge. Long story short, I was able to get the case reassigned to another judge, who approved my clients' cases today!
Because my client entered under a false name, she was in need of a waiver. But, because her case was so old, the laws had changed. Today, I was successfully able to inform the court that although the laws had changed, one thing remained constant: that my clients were eligible for and deserving of long awaited relief.
Both the court and counsel for the government agreed. And, after my client testified as to the hardship that she and her family would suffer if they were required to move back to the Philippines, she and her husband were granted lawful permanent residence in the United States. As a result, my clients will be able to go to the Philippines for the first time in almost 14 years. Perhaps more importantly, they will be able to visit the gravesites of their respective parents whose funerals they were unable to attend.
When my clients asked what if anything they could do to thank me, I simply informed them that their tears of joy were more than enough. If they read this article, they will certainly know who I'm talking about. That said, we wish them nothing but the best of luck in all their future endeavors and look very forward to hearing from them in the upcoming years when its time to become citizens of the United States.