Immigration law has been a challenging area to navigate, particularly over the past few years.
These challenges have highlighted the need for legal representation. Immigrants need strong advocates. We recognize that the current immigration climate necessitates that IRC increase direct legal services to many of our immigrant community members, and we’ve done everything we can to be strong advocates on behalf of our many clients.
During a time where disheartening news inundates our daily lives, we’d like to share some case highlights that celebrate the victories of individuals who have succeeded in obtaining the immigration benefit sought.
- Omer Ahmet* is a U.S. citizen who called IRC to petition for his wife. He had previously attempted to submit a green card application for Ekrem* through an unqualified attorney, who told him that he could do so, although Omer was a lawful permanent resident at the time, and Ekrem did not qualify to immediately adjust through her husband. Ekrem, a Turkish national who remained in the U.S. after her visitor visa expired, was apprehended by ICE officials, who took her in for processing and issued her a Notice to Appear in immigration court. An IRC attorney represented Ekrem through her proceedings, which spanned more than two years. The process was trying for her and her husband, who lived in uncertainty for years. Ekrem was unable to return to Turkey to visit her ailing parent. Earlier this month, we successfully represented her in immigration court, and the judge granted her lawful permanent residence in the U.S. Both Ekrem and Omer were overjoyed. The two of them, along with their two-year-old daughter, can securely build a life in the U.S. as a family.
- Yousef Herzallah* is an elderly paraplegic gentleman with a stage four pressure ulcer, which requires him to be linked to a machine. His ulcer and various other illnesses leave him bed-ridden most of the time. He reached out to IRC to seek assistance with submitting a naturalization application. IRC submitted an accommodations request asking that USCIS conduct an in-house appointment for his biometrics, interview, and oath ceremony. IRC staff had to review hundreds of pages from Yousef’s medical record to pull out the relevant documents. IRC also had to coordinate with his doctor’s office to secure a letter from his medical provider supporting the request. This evidence was combined with a detailed cover letter and sent to USCIS. After lengthy follow up attempts, USCIS approved the request and offered to come to his house on a date and time that he prefers for his biometrics appointment.
- Yasser Sultan* retained IRC to help him submit his naturalization application on October 19, 2018. He was scheduled for an interview on July 29, 2019. After the USCIS officer opened the door to let Yasser into his office, the officer said that, “We are not making a decision on your naturalization application. You will be questioned for your pending green card application.” Yasser tried to remain calm, but the officer questioned him rigorously and Yasser grew nervous. Needless to say, the interview went poorly. Despite living in Orange County, Yasser was scheduled for a second interview in San Bernardino at 6:45 AM because the USCIS officer determined that his English was not good enough to pass the English exam. IRC’s legal team believed that Yasser’s English was adequate enough to pass the exam. IRC staff conducted a practice interview to prepare Yasser for possible additional scrutiny from the USCIS officer. The practice interview and tips IRC staff provided Yasser helped him confidently demonstrate his understanding of the English language at his second interview. Despite the long distance and timing of the interview, IRC staff also attended his interview to provide Nour with support and ensure that the officer properly conducted the interview. The interview went well and Yasser was recommended for approval. Yasser received his notice to appear at his oath ceremony on October 8, 2019.
- Fatima Amiri* contacted IRC to help her family reunite with her husband who was in Iran. Fatima and her children came to the US based on lottery visas in 2014. Her husband’s immigrant visa application was delayed due to a background check, and he was unable to travel with his family to the U.S. Fatima assumed that their separation would be brief when she came to the U.S. Once she entered the U.S., she filed a petition for her husband. Regrettably, her husband’s application was affected by the Muslim Ban since the immigrant visa had not been approved prior to implementation of the Muslim Ban. Years of separation have caused Fatima and her family extreme stress, depression, and anxiety. In March of 2019, IRC staff submitted a Muslim Ban waiver on behalf of Fatima’s husband. The waiver application highlighted the harm of family separation for Fatima, her Iranian spouse, and their young children. In October of 2019, Fatima was informed that her husband’s visa was approved.
* Names of clients have been changed to protect their privacy.
CAIR-LA’s Immigrants’ Rights Center provides high-quality, low-cost or pro bono services to individuals otherwise unable to obtain legal assistance. If you are in need of immigration assistance, fill out this form or call the CAIR-LA legal services line at 714-776-1177.