Moving to a new country is incredibly challenging, as you must frequently learn a new language and familiarize yourself with a new culture and environment. Therefore, not surprisingly, a person will often happily turn to someone from their home country for support if possible.
When our client, Marivic*, moved to the U.S. from the Philippines, she sought support from another Filipino named Sonny Tabula. When Marivic met Mr. Tabula at a party, he appeared friendly, charismatic, and knowledgeable. She felt like she could trust him as a fellow Filipino.
Mr. Tabula told Marivic that he worked at the immigration office in Santa Ana, CA. He also told her that he could help her get permission to legally work in the U.S. Marivic had only been in the U.S. for a few months, and since she did not know how the immigration system in the U.S. worked, she agreed to use Mr. Tabula’s services. At that point, she had no reason to distrust Mr. Tabula. Unbeknownst to her, Mr. Tabula was running an immigration scam.
In the early 2000s, Sonny Tabula and his associates ran a scheme where they gained the trust of many Filipinos. Unfortunately, though, they defrauded several thousand Filipinos and others by offering to help them obtain work authorization in the U.S. What many didn’t know was that the work permits were obtained through unlawful means. Mr. Tabula filed adjustment of status (green card) applications based on nonexistent marriages, which allowed for the issuance of work permits while the applications were pending. Mr. Tabula’s scheme was later uncovered, and he and his associates were prosecuted for their actions.
Unfortunately, Mr. Tabula’s scheme resulted in serious immigration consequences for the people he deceived. Many did not know that there was a green card application filed on their behalf, let alone a green card application based on a bogus marriage. Some of these cases were even referred to immigration court for deportation hearings.
This is precisely what happened to Marivic. She did not know there was a marriage-based green card application filed for her, so she did not appear for her scheduled interview before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Nor did she appear for her immigration court hearing, which resulted in a deportation order. It was not until years later, after she was seeking to obtain lawful permanent resident status based on her actual marriage to a U.S. citizen, that Marivic discovered what happened as a result of trusting Mr. Tabula.
Marivic was devastated to find out there were fraud allegations against her and that she was ordered deported. Like many, she had no idea there was a bogus marriage-based green card application filed for her. Marivic leaned on the team at Reeves Immigration Law Group to help set things right.
Attorney Maridex Abraham, an Associate Attorney at Reeves was able to reopen Marivic’s case in immigration court and pursue new relief in since Marivic was now married to a U.S. citizen. Attorney Abraham argued that Marivic was a victim of fraud and did not commit fraud herself, and she should therefore be found eligible to adjust her status to that of a permanent resident based on marriage to a U.S. citizen.
Through Attorney Abraham’s zealous advocacy, the immigration judge found that Marivic was not inadmissible for fraud or misrepresentation and granted her application for adjustment of status. After nearly 20 years of uncertainty, Marivic has now become a lawful permanent resident.
*Names have been changed to protect client privacy