by Danielle Conley, Partner
It is safe to say that although October has been quite a busy month in Immigration Court, it has been well worth it! Just today, I won my sixth of six merit hearings on behalf of six different individuals and their families who now have the privilege of remaining together in the United States!
It all started on October 2, 2012, when the Atlanta Immigration Court correctly found that a mother and son who were both in removal proceedings were each in their own right entitled to green cards in the United States as a result of the impact that their loss would have had on the mother’s two teenage daughters. Her eldest son became the man of the family after they were devastated by the deportation of their father in 2008, and the judge simply could not bear the thought of the emotional impact on the two girls if they then lost their mother and brother after everything they have already been through.
On October 4, 2012, my client had his day in court where he too was requesting a green card and permission to remain in the U.S. after being here for 20 years of his life. Once again, the Immigration Judge recognized where justice was due in the case of a man who was the sole support for his wife who suffers from diabetes and his three young boys who all have severe issues with asthma and are on home nebulizer treatments every twelve hours around the clock.
On October 10, my client became overwhelmed with emotion in court after the Immigration Judge issued a decision granting him Lawful Permanent Residence status in the U.S. We were able to show that it would be devastating for my client’s two children, one of whom is a teenager, to lose their father permanently, especially after the trauma of the divorce of their parents. What made this case more heart-wrenching is the fact that the state court child custody order restricted the children from being taken out of the state, so a loss would have meant complete and permanent separation from their father. Fortunately, the children no longer have to be worried about losing their father!
On October 12, 2012, I made a very early drive down to Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia, over two hours from Atlanta, where I fought for a second chance on behalf of my client who was seeking the return of his green card before the Immigration Court. He is a citizen of Canada, but spent most of his years in the U.S. and is still a kid, at age 20. He was surrounded by his extremely supportive family, including his mother, father, brother who is active in the Air Force and was dressed in uniform, his brother-in-law who is an active member of the U.S. army and also dressed in uniform, and his sister-in-law. His testimony was truthful and remorseful to the point that the judge said he couldn’t possibly tear this family apart without giving my client a second chance in the U.S., and that the American justice system is about this very thing – everyone is entitled to a second chance! My client is now home and enjoying his time with his family for the first time in seven months!
On October 15, 2012, my client appeared in court after being present in the United States since 1989 with a pending asylum application. Fortunately, he was eligible for a special type of green card application based on his country of citizenship and the number of years he has been present in the U.S. After the judge granted his case, he had an expression that told me he didn’t quite understand what had happened, so I whispered to him that the judge gave him a green card and permission to remain in the U.S. permanently. For a man who has always been somewhat tough and serious, but kind, it was a treat to see him break down in tears for a good few minutes. He was of course joined by the tears of his wife and 16 year-old daughter who could barely contain themselves in the back row of the courtroom. Those are certainly some of the moments that make it completely worthwhile!
Finally, earlier in the afternoon on October 18, 2012, the Immigration Judge together with the agreement of the Department of Homeland Security granted a green card to a young man, not quite 30 years old, who has been present in the U.S. from Colombia for the last eight years. More excited even than my client could have been his ten-year old stepdaughter who couldn’t keep the ear-to-ear grin off of her face. The first thing she did was give her father the biggest hug, and she never let go. It was so important for this man to have the opportunity to remain in the U.S. and continue to be the only father that this little girl knows and a fantastic and dependable husband to her mother.
Congratulations to each and every one of my clients who are all so deserving of this great opportunity to become a permanent part of the United States of America!