CASE: Termination of Removal Proceedings with an Approved I-130 Petition / I-485 Adjustment of Status / Response to Notice of Intent to Revoke
LOCATION: New Orleans, LA
Our Nigerian client came to the United States in August 2011 with a valid F-1 student visa to study in a college. However, he did not maintain status and was placed in removal proceedings in July 2012. After he got a Notice to Appear, he appeared at his initial master calendar hearing at the New Orleans Immigration Court without an attorney.
In May of 2014, he contacted our office and asked us whether we can take his case. He was married to a US Citizen, but he also had two previous marriages and divorces, also to US Citizens. We told him an I-130 can be filed, but that we need bona fides from his first two marriages also. We explained that the strength of his wife’s I-130 for him would also depend on how he can prove that his first two marriages were in good faith.
He retained our office on May 16, 2014. He married his U.S. wife in May 2014 and our office filed the I-130 petition for our client with a bona fide marriage exemption letter and bona fide marital documents. We organized the exhibits so that bona fide evidence from his first two marriages were also shown. We filed the I-130 application to the USCIS on June 12, 2014.
On June 17, 2014, our attorney Glen Yu appeared at his master calendar hearings via telephonic appearance. Attorney Yu did pleadings for our client, requested adjustment of status relief for our client, and requested a continuance based on a pending I-130 petition. However, the DHS requested a Velarde hearing to the Court. The DHS requested this hearing to determine whether proceedings should be continued to allow USCIS to adjudicate the I-130. DHS argued that our client’s marriage to his U.S. citizen spouse is presumptively invalid under immigration purposes since he married his wife after initiation of removal proceedings.
A Velarde Hearing is a hearing to establish whether good cause exists to continue proceedings for adjudication of a pending I-130 petition. A variety of factors may be considered, including, but not limited to: (1) DHS’ response to the Motion to continue; (2) whether the underlying visa petition is prima facie approvable; (3) the Respondent’s statutory eligibility for adjustment of status; (4) whether the Respondent’s application for adjustment merits a favorable exercise of discretion; and (5) the reason for the continuance and any other relevant factors. Matter of Hashimi, 24 I&N Dec. 785 (BIA 2009).
The Velarde hearing for our client was scheduled for August 18, 2014. Prior to the hearing, our office filed a brief in support and more documents to demonstrate the bona fide nature of our client’s marriage to his U.S. citizen wife. Attorney Sung Hee Yu from our firm prepared him and his wife extensively via conference calls. He also represented our client at the Velarde Hearing at the New Orleans Immigration Court on August 18, 2014.
The hearing went well and as a result, the Court concluded that our client’s I-130 petition is prima facie approvable. After the Velarde hearing, the USCIS scheduled the I-130 interview for our client and his U.S. citizen wife. Our office prepared them for their interview. On December 31, 2014, our client and his wife appeared at the USCIS New Orleans Field Office for their I-130 interview. The interview went well, and the USCIS approved the I-130 petition for our client on the same day.
Once his I-130 was approved, our office filed a request to join in a Motion to terminate proceedings with the I-485 application and supporting documents. The DHS counsel in New Orleans agreed to terminate our client’s proceedings. Ultimately, the Immigration Judge granted the Motion to terminate without prejudice on August 14, 2015.
After his removal proceeding was terminated, our client retained us again for his I-485 adjustment of status application. Our firm prepared and filed the I-485 Adjustment of Status Application on September 14, 2015. Everything went smoothly and the receipt notices, fingerprint appointment, and work permit all came on time. Prior to the interview, we thoroughly prepared our clients via conference call. On December 1, 2015, our client was interviewed at the New Orleans, LA USCIS. Attorney Sung Hee (Glen) Yu from our office accompanied our clients.
Although the interview went well, the USCIS New Orleans office issued Notice of Intent to Revoke our client’s I-130 petition. In the Notice of Intent to Revoke, the USCIS argued that our client’s marriage to her U.S. citizen spouse was in violation of Louisiana law so that the marriage is invalid. However, after careful review of related marital laws and local statutes, we determined that our client’s marriage to his wife was valid. Our office promptly filed the Response to Notice of Intent to Revoke on December 15, 2015. Eventually, on January 13, 2016, his I-485 application was approved. Now, our client is a green card holder.