Item two: Denial of a case for lack of prosecution right after the clients come to their interview

Sunday, September 20th, 2009
By: Jonathan MontagJ.D.

In the same mail delivery as the previous frustrating mail, comes this one.

A client comes to me after is arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. She applied for a student visa extension and heard nothing from USCIS. Then ICE arrested her. (Years later, the extension is still pending).  We went to court a few times. The ICE attorneys were supposed to find out what happened to her student visa application. The woman was married to a United States citizen. When a person is in immigration court she is allowed to ask for a permanent residence visa based on marriage through the immigration court. The first step is for the U.S. citizen to file a petition on Form I-130. This cannot be done in immigration court. Rather, the petition must be filde with USCIS. We did this, filing it with the California Service Center. As for the immigration court case, when the ICE attorneys learned nothing after six months, in light of the fact that the client was married to a U.S. citizen and had no skeletons in her closet, the parties agreed to terminate the court case and allow her to file for permanent residence with USCIS. She did this after the court case was terminated. Then we waited for an interview. A few weeks ago we had one. The U.S. citizen husband was there and so was the foreign wife. The officer reviewed the file. There was some information about the I-130 in the file, but the actual I-130 petition was missing. I gave the officer a copy of the petition from my file.

After the interview, the officer asked for some more information from the husband, but otherwise was satisfied that the case was complete and the relationship was a bona fide one. This is the biggest hurdle in most cases. So we walked out knowing that the case was complete, the I-130 was consolidated with the adjustment of status application, and all that was needed was an extra document that we supplied two days later.

Then, the same day as the letter came from Detroit (Item 1, see the last blog posting), came a denial of the I-130 for lack of prosecution from the California Service Center. Just a couple of weeks earlier we were sitting in a USCIS office in lovely Chula Vista, California – petitioner and beneficiary – with a file reviewed and the file augmented with missing documents – and then USCIS 100 miles away from where the file was just reviewed, turns around and denies the I-130.

Now efforts have to be exerted to straighten this out with a very rigid and hard-to-penetrate bureaucracy. Just so lame. So time consuming. So frustrating.



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