CASE: Asylum, Withholding of Removal, and CAT in Immigration Court
LOCATION: Memphis Immigration Court
Our Cameroonian client came to the United States in December 1999 on an F-1 student visa. In July 2001, he filed an asylum application to the USCIS, was interviewed by the USCIS, and later his case was referred to the Immigration Court. Thereafter, a Notice to Appear was issued and our client was placed in removal proceedings. After he got the Notice to Appear, he appeared at his initial master calendar hearing at the Memphis Immigration Court with his previous attorney.
His removal proceedings were continued, but he could not appear at his individual hearing in April 2003 due to hospitalization. Thus, the Court found him removable and ordered him removed in absentia.
Later, in April 2011, he filed Motion to Reopen with assistance of his previous immigration counsel. However, this Motion to Reopen was denied by the Court in July 2011.
Thereafter, he contacted our office to determine whether he can file a Motion to Reopen again. After consultation, we explained to him that the only way the Court can reopen his case is based on changed country conditions in Cameroon. It is because our client’s second Motion to Reopen can be considered untimely filed and numerically barred.
Our client decided to retain our office on November 22, 2011 for a Motion to Reopen based on changed country conditions.
Under immigration law, if an applicant seeks to make an asylum claim and a final order of removal has been entered and the ninety-day filing deadline for motions to reopen has passed, the BIA and the majority of Circuit Courts have found that the applicant may only file the asylum application through a motion to reopen and only under the “changed country conditions” provision of 8 C.F.R. § 1003.23(b)(4)(i). Thus, our office prepared the Motion to Reopen based on the changed country conditions in Cameroon.
On March 6, 2012, our office filed the Motion to Reopen with the Memphis Immigration Court.
W included a detailed affidavit regarding his involvement in a political activist group in Cameroon, and several affidavits from his fellow members who confirmed his involvement with the organization. We claimed that the number of arrests and detentions of his political group member had recently escalated since his original removal hearing in 2003 resulting in changed country conditions. We also attached a letter from a human rights officer in which he stated that he knew our client’s political involvement in Cameroon. Moreover, other supporting documents such as newspaper articles and a country report of Cameroon were submitted (24 exhibits). On March 29, 2012, the DHS filed a Response in Opposition to our Motion. Nevertheless, on May 2, 2012, the Memphis Immigration Court granted our motion and reopened our client’s case.
Once his case was reopened, he retained our office again. Our attorney Sung Hee (Glen) Yu appeared at his master calendar hearing via telephonic appearance and his individual hearing was scheduled on September 29, 2014 at the Memphis Immigration Court.
Our client was persecuted and harmed in Cameroon based on his political opinion and movement. Our client was scared to go back home to Cameroon, fearing that he will be persecuted based on his political opinion. Moreover, our client’s late father and his uncle were mistreated and harmed in Cameroon due to their political opinion as well.
We helped him file his asylum application and represented him in immigration court hearings. We also asked him to provide supporting documents corroborating his claim, some of which were a letter from his family, colleagues and friends in Cameroon. Our firm also did some research on articles related to his claim, and the type of persecution he will experience in Cameroon if sent back.
Our client’s individual hearing was scheduled on September 29, 2014 at the Memphis Immigration Court. Attorney Sung Hee Yu from our firm prepared him extensively. He also represented our client at his Individual Hearing at the Memphis Immigration Court.
Prior to the hearing, the Immigration Judge held a pre-trial conference with Attorney Yu and the DHS counsel. During the pre-trial conference, all of the possible issues were examined. At the conclusion of the conference, withholding of removal was granted.
After the hearing, the Immigration Judge granted Withholding of Removal for our client based on his persecution in Cameroon. His removal will be withheld and our client can get his Employment Authorization Document and will not be deported.