Unraveling 30 Years of Immigration History
In almost nine years of practicing immigration law, I have had the opportunity to handle many challenging and difficult cases. Some cases are challenging simply because the facts make it difficult to know what outcome we can expect, while others are challenging because the present situations not directly addressed in our immigration laws. And then there are people who have been in the U.S. for 20 or 30 years without a resolution in their case.
It is sad to see people who have struggled for decades and still not have a Green Card, let alone U.S. citizenship. But this does not stop us from wading into their history to try to determine what we can do to help get things back on track.
This past year, we had the opportunity to work with a few individuals with 20-30 years of immigration history that could potentially alter their options.
In one situation, we reviewed over 1,000 pages of documents provided in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request sent to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The FOIA response contained immigration history dating back to 1988, and included an article written in a local newspaper in which our client, Aaron, had lived.
The article contained an interview of Aaron’s former spouse, a U.S. citizen. In the interview, she described their process of applying for his residency based on their marriage, and why she decided to leave their marriage.
The article was completely one-sided in its description of Aaron’s situation, but the fact that it was in his USCIS file told us that they had reached back 26 years to research his history. Ultimately, we were able to explain the facts of Aaron’s case from 1988 to today, and are back on track in our pursuit of a greencard based on a subsequent marriage.
In another situation, we were able to review records from 1986 to the present which were also obtained through FOIA requests to USCIS, Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). After reviewing the records, we determined that USCIS had created two different immigration files for our client. This meant that he had been given a temporary resident card, and less than a week later, he was ordered deported for failing to attend a court hearing. Three decades after he filed his first immigration benefits application, we are hoping to help him to finally resolve his immigration issues.
We also had the pleasure of assisting an individual who had been present in the United States since 1991. Over the previous 12 years, he had three different employers submit a total of five separate petitions to obtain permanent residence based on employment. Fortunately, we were able to argue that he was eligible to become a resident based on one of these petitions and finally help him and his family find their way out of the maze they had been stuck navigating for years. I was shocked and overcome with excitement when I learned the family’s applications for residence had been approved. It happened within days of my birthday, and I considered it a birthday gift to learn that the case was resolved after the family had waited so many years.
Looking through 10, 20 or even 30 years of immigration history takes effort and expertise. Determining how the changes in our laws that occurred in 1990 and 1996 affect a person’s case come into play, and determining the options available to each client means spending the time to thoroughly review and evaluate every person’s unique situation. It’s the type of thing top immigration lawyers in Houston do. We’re happy to be Houston Immigration Attorneys serving people across the United States and the world in unraveling their immigration history and moving forward.