Kolken & Kolken. Results-oriented immigration lawyers - specializing in Green Card, Deportation Cases and Temporary Visas.

Deportation Halted, Motion to Reopen Pending

Published: Jan 10, 2011 9:00 am By: Matthew L. Kolken

We have a current case that involves a man that has been in the United States for over twenty years.  He escaped his native country where as an army soldier he was brutally tortured by other soldiers as well as by his commanding officer directly on account of his ethnicity.  Our client ultimately escaped his country in order to save his life when he saw commissioned officers of his own ethnicity deserting the army because their lives were also in serious jeopardy.  

After arriving in the United States our client was immediately encountered by immigration officials who locked him up and instituted immigration court proceedings against him.  A lawyer represented him before the Immigration Court who appears to have been incompetent because my client was never even asked the threshold question of whether he had any fears of returning to his native country.  As a result, the only form of relief from deportation that was requested by this lawyer on my client's behalf was voluntary departure.  Asylum was never requested, which would have been a slam dunk case.  After being granted voluntary departure my client was released from custody.  He never departed the United States, and he has remained here ever since.

Twenty years have now elapsed and my client is married to a United States citizen.  When my client met his wife she had two children from a previous relationship and he raised them as if they were his own.  Many years later his wife sponsored him for a Green Card.  It was discovered that my client was subject to a twenty-year-old final order of deportation, and despite the fact that he has no criminal convictions, and has been a law abiding member of United States society since his arrival, he was taken into custody and moved six hours away from from his family to the Buffalo Federal Detention Center in Batavia, New York to await his deportation.  

We were retained on the 30th of December, and immediately contacted the deportation officer who was assigned to our client's case.  We advised him that we were in the process of preparing a motion to reopen the 20 year old deportation order, as well as a motion for emergency stay of removal, and explained what the grounds for reopening were.  The deportation officer told us that despite the fact that our client had been persecuted in the past, and expressed new fears of persecution as a result of a material change of country conditions in his native country, that the deportation officer would be moving forward with effectuating my client's deportation unless and until the order for stay was granted by the Immigration Court.

We immediately met with our client and prepared an asylum application at the detention facility.  Once finished we prepared the motion to reopen based on a material change of circumstances in our client's native country, and obtained evidence on the internet to corroborate our client's claim for asylum that would form the basis for the motion.  We also prepared an emergency motion for stay of removal, and a motion for change of venue.  These motions were filed the very next day on New Year's Eve.  The deportation officer was provided a complete copy of everything.

We just received the Immigration Judge's order staying the deportation of my client.  We hope to have a favorable decison on our motion to reopen shortly, which if granted will give our client his day in Court, and the possibility of never having to worry about being forcibly returned to a country where he was tortured in the past and where he fears death should he return.

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