Eliminating an Order of Deportación for Failing to Remove Residency Conditions
Cindy Lee came to the U.S. to visit some family and friends that were living in the Boston area, and she was introduced to a young man whose family was from her town in Vietnam. Bobby was sweet and charming and very soon he asked her to marry him. As soon as they got married, Cindy and Bobby applied for Cindy’s U.S. permanent residency. When she received her Green Card, it was the conditional residency for 2 years, as it is usual in immigration cases of residency through marriage. Cindy and Bobby lived with Bobby’s family and Cindy worked at his mother’s salon.
After 2 years, Cindy had to apply for the removal of the conditions of her residency to obtain the full 10 year Green Card. Bobby, who was not working at the time, told her that he would take care of the paperwork and she believed him. Shortly thereafter, she received a notice to have her biometrics taken, but when she attended the biometrics appointment, she learned that her husband had filed the wrong form. He had filed an I-90 (renewal of green card) instead of an I-751 (removal of conditions for a green card).
At this point, Bobby assured Cindy that he would fix this and he used the services of a non-lawyer, an “immigration preparer / notary”, to fill out the I-751, which Cindy signed and she was told it would be filed. Later, when Cindy inquired about the status of her I-751 application, she was told that it was approved, even though she never received the actual 10 year Green Card. Cindy was at work all the time so she never checked the mail.
Cindy never needed her Green Card to work as she worked for her mother in law. She had a driver’s license and social security card, so she was able to continue living in the US without any issues. Little did she know however, her husband never signed the application nor did he mail it with the filing fees.
Eventually, immigration mailed a notice to her house saying that her residency was terminated due to her failure to file her removal of conditions (I-751). That notice was never given to her, instead, when her husband received it, he simply discarded it, not wanting her to know that he had failed to file the documents.
That notice was soon followed by a notice from the immigration court about her pending removal hearing. She never received that notice either. Cindy spent most of her days into the early evening working, while Bobby did not work. When Bobby received this notice from the court, he discarded it. Soon thereafter, Cindy and Bobby’s marriage ended, because of his laziness and lack of responsibility. Cindy found a place to stay and a new job despite the fact she only had her expired Green Card. Fortunately for Cindy, she eventually met a good person, re-married and was happy.
Nevertheless, her happiness was interrupted abruptly one morning. As Cindy left her apartment to go to work, she was greeted by immigration officers, telling her she had a warrant for removal and they arrested her. She was temporarily released from custody, but she was required to “check-in” with ICE each month, while they prepared for her removal from the U.S. At this time, she was recommended by a friend to the immigration lawyers of FitzGerald Law Company.
When attorney FitzGerald heard her story, he believed that her deportation could be vacated as the failure to file the proper documents was not her fault. He drafted a Motion to Reopen and included the biometrics appointment notice and her affidavit as evidence that her ex-husband had filed the wrong application and had lied to her about correcting his mistake. Attorney’s FitzGerald’s strategy was successful and Cindy’s deportation process with ICE was stopped, her proceedings before the immigration court were re-opened, and she was allowed to file an I-751 with USCIS.
Even after all of that, Cindy’s I-751, was not simple. She was no longer married to the husband though whom she had received her residency, so her I-751 had to be based upon her divorce, and it was filed with USCIS while she was in deportation. It is no surprise that Cindy’s I-751 took years to be processed by USCIS. Fortunately, Cindy listened carefully to the instructions that our firm gave her, and she was diligent in providing records of her prior marriage as well as evidence that she was a good person, working hard and paying her taxes well.
Finally, a Notice was received at FitzGerald Law Company with Cindy’s case number and a stamp in the corner that said “approved.” It was not the traditional approval notice, the I-751 “Case Status” on the USCIS website was not updated, and Cindy had not received the physical green card, but it was an official USCIS Notice and it had an “Approval” on it. Attorney FitzGerald decided that the Notice might be sufficient to have Cindy’s Removal/Deportation case in the Immigration Court terminated. He filed a Motion to Terminate removal proceedings with the Court and the Court granted the motion, ending a decade long deportation proceeding. At that moment, Cindy knew that she was going to be able to remain in the United States, with her husband and their child. Today we are processing Cindy’s U.S. citizenship petition.