Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Best Laid Plans, Part I


Several weeks ago I was contacted by a United States citizen, Lucy, whose fiancé, Samuel, a native of Chile, had been arrested on a charge of Assault on a Police Officer, and who had an ICE detainer. Turns out he had been brought into the country many years ago as a young teenager, on a tourist visa, and had overstayed.

We discussed what could be done to solve his problems, and step one involved getting the couple married. Not a problem, I’ve done that before. In fact, in this case it was even easier than the previous case I have written about, because our local jail is willing to have marriages done without going the “guerilla” route. With a judge’s order in hand, the happy couple was soon wed, and once again a client had avoided the problems of a marriage in proceedings.

So, now I had a client who was the immediate relative of a United States citizen and who was eligible to adjust his status as a result of his lawful entry. Lucy and I quickly assembled an I-130 petition and got it filed. Progress is being made, and we are moving along nicely.

The next hurdle was the criminal charge, which was one that the immigration authorities view harshly, and which could hurt his chances of being granted a discretionary adjustment of status before the immigration judge, and would cause problems when seeking a bond from ICE. I contacted the police officer involved, and explained the potentially devastating consequences to Samuel and his wife. After we discussed the circumstances of the arrest, the officer told me that he would be happy to see the charge dismissed because he thought Samuel was just drunk and didn’t really intend to assault him. In fact, he said he would write a letter to that effect if needed. The District Attorney agreed to reduce the charge to one of drunk and disorderly, and Samuel was on his way to ICE custody.

Within a day, ICE agreed to set a bond for Samuel, and we wouldn’t have to worry about him getting shipped to Georgia, or having to file for a bond hearing in immigration court. We continue to move along nicely.

Yesterday, I heard that Lucy had posted the bond. Samuel was out and home. Things are looking good, and we schedule a meeting to go over the next steps: adjustment of status before the immigration judge or, if we were lucky, the government might even agree to administratively close proceedings.

Midway through this afternoon, I got a frantic text from Lucy to say Samuel had just been arrested at the DMV. It turns out he had tried to get a drivers license by presenting a fake ID. Needless to say, he is back in the jail and ICE plans on detaining him again. I wonder to myself, “What was he thinking?” Followed by, “What on earth can I say to ICE to get them to let him bond out again?”

…..to be continued. Stay tuned.

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