A Crazy Day as an Immigration Lawyer

Yesterday was a crazy day.

Seems like immigration land always heats up in those days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.

Lots of people start moving on getting an immigration benefit right before the end of the year.

7:45 am

The day began with me editing a brief for the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.  We are appealing a decision by District Court Judge John Ross in which he dismissed my client’s case.

I like and respect Judge Ross a lot.  But I think he got this one wrong.

Our client waited two years for USCIS to rule on his naturalization application.  The law says that if 120 days pass after a naturalization applicant’s interview, the person can file an action in federal court and ask the judge to naturalize them.

That is the lawsuit that we filed.  One week after we filed the lawsuit, USCIS issued a denial of our client’s case.  Then they filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.  We opposed the motion but Judge Ross agreed with the government and dismissed the case.

We filed an appeal to the Eighth Circuit.  We don’t have high hopes for our chances at the Eighth Circuit.  This court rarely rules in favor of an immigrant in cases against the government.  In fact, there was a streak where they ruled for the government in 150 cases in a row or so.  Crazy.

I made the edits to the brief and left tt for my colleague, Elise Frisella, to keep editing the brief.  She wrote the first draft and did a great job.

8:45 am

Headed down to USCIS for an N-336 appeal.

An N-336 appeal is what you file when someone’s naturalization application is denied.  In this case, USCIS manufactured some totally bogus reasons for denying my client’s application.

They claimed that he had not disclosed a traffic ticket when he obtained his 10 year green card.  But the application specifically said that he did not have to disclose traffic stuff.

USCIS also claimed that he hadn’t told them about a warrant that he never knew about.

When I filed this appeal, I asked the agency to issue subpoenas to various witnesses.  They never did.

We finally got into the hearing around 10 am.  We had a supervisor and supervisor’s supervisor.

She went through the motions of asking my client about the warrant and the traffic ticket and you could tell her heart was just not into it.

I told the office how ridiculous the denial was.  How it was ridiculous that our client had to pay for the appeal and to pay me to attend.  Ridiculous that he had to take off work to come to the hearing.

And I told them that they were not following the law by refusing to issue the subpoenas for witnesses that I requested.  They nodded.

I told them that if they planned on doing anything other than quickly approving my client for citizenship that we were going to sue them for not following their own damn rules.

11 am

Headed back to the office to work on email, check on the brief and keep things moving.

12 pm

Went to the Lodge of Des Peres for a lower-body workout with my trainer.  She kicked my butt.

2:30 pm

Met a new client of the firm.  Apparently, he really likes our YouTube videos.  He flew up from Dallas to hire us to file his naturalization case.  He was very excited to meet me.

3 pm

Had a leadership team meeting to help plan our firm retreat for Friday.  Came up with a great outline of topics to discuss with the whole team later this week.

4:30 pm

Reviewed Elise’s revisions to the brief.  Filed it electronically.  We still have to file hard copies but that will be later this week.

5:30 pm

Receive word that the Supreme Court is going to let the Travel Ban 3.0 go into effect while appeals are pending.  Note to self: need to read the decision and be able to discuss.

 

6 pm

Files suit in the federal district court in Washington, D.C., for an Iranian-American fellow from Chicago.  He has been waiting more than 19 months for the State Department to issue his dad a visa.  Our suit alleges that the delay is unreasonable and that the fellow’s father is being discriminated against because he comes from a predominantly-Muslim country.

7:30 pm

Head home for a quick dinner with Amany.

8:20 pm

Electricity goes out due to the brief storm.  Head to bed early after a long, exciting day.