Robert has always had a passion for music. While he is certainly a talented and accomplished musician, his journey to obtain a green card to work in the U.S. as a musical performer was far from easy.
Robert, whose name has been changed for confidentiality reasons, entered the U.S. along with his wife and minor son in 2012. They entered as tourists, excited to embark on their first family vacation in the U.S. Initially, they only planned to stay in the U.S. for a short period of time before returning home to China, however they soon found themselves in love with the U.S. and the American culture. Robert began to wonder if there were any options that would allow him and his family to remain in the U.S. lawfully and make the U.S. their permanent home.
One day, Robert saw an advertisement for an immigration office and decided to speak with an immigration attorney to find out options for his family. Robert met with a man who held himself out as an experienced immigration attorney. However, unbeknownst to Robert at the time, this man was not an immigration attorney. During the initial meeting, Robert was very impressed and felt hopeful after hearing his options. The immigration consultant recognized that Robert was a talented musician and told him that he could obtain permanent residency through an employment-based petition for individuals of extraordinary ability. Enthusiastically, Robert sought the services of the immigration consultant.
The immigration consultant filed an employment-based petition for Robert along with green card applications for Robert and his dependent family members. After filing the petition, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a Request for Evidence (RFE) in which they sought additional evidence to demonstrate that Robert qualified as an individual of extraordinary ability. The immigration consultant told Robert to disregard USCIS’ RFE and to just file a new petition and green card application. Not knowing much about the U.S. immigration system, Robert trusted the immigration consultant and listened to his advice. After refiling, USCIS issued another RFE on the employment-based petition. This time, the immigration consultant explained that they should respond to the RFE and they did so accordingly. Although they responded to the RFE and the employment-based petition was subsequently approved, USCIS denied Robert and his family’s green card applications.
It was a given that the first green card application would be denied since they had not responded to the RFE on the employment-based petition, but Robert was utterly shocked when the second green card application based on the approved employment-based petition was denied. USCIS’ denial was based on the fact that Robert and his family were no longer in lawful status at the time of filing the second green card application. Robert consulted with the immigration consultant again who advised that they should file another green card application. Robert was disappointed but he still trusted the immigration consultant and was reassured after being told that it was only a matter of time before he would obtain his green card. Unfortunately, instead of an approval, USCIS issued another denial. The immigration consultant then advised Robert to file a motion to reconsider with USCIS. Robert did so accordingly. USCIS did not change its position and the motion was dismissed.
By this time, Robert and his family were so disheartened and on the verge of giving up. Robert decided to get a second opinion on his case and consulted with Reeves Immigration Law Group (RILG). The attorneys at RILG explained to Robert and his family that while they were no longer maintaining lawful status in the U.S., they may still be eligible for adjustment of status if they could demonstrate that they were out of status through no fault of their own. Robert confirmed that they were in fact out of status due to no fault of their own and as a result of the incorrect advice from the immigration consultant and his failure to advise of the legal consequences. The attorneys at RILG told Robert that his case was risky and that the road to success would likely be long but that his case was not impossible. After hearing the risks, Robert decided to push forward and retained the services of RILG.
The team at RILG filed a fourth green card application for Robert and his family arguing that the ineffective assistance of Robert’s prior counsel directly led to his failure to maintain continuous lawful status. The attorneys at RILG clearly laid out all of the evidence and legal arguments, but USCIS denied Robert and his family’s green card applications for a fourth time. Subsequently, RILG filed an action in U.S. Federal Court arguing that USCIS’ decision was erroneous. Shortly after the Federal Court filing, USCIS reopened Robert’s case but upon further review, denied the green card applications again. Still believing that USCIS’ decision was erroneous, the attorneys at RILG continued to fight and filed a motion to reopen and reconsider with USCIS. USCIS dismissed that motion as well. Although Robert knew from the outset that his case was not going to be easy and that the road would likely be long, the denials were still painful. But Robert did not lose hope and trusted the attorneys at RILG. The team filed a second action in U.S. Federal Court challenging USCIS’ repeated denials. The attorneys at RILG submitted a detailed complaint outlining the relevant facts and highlighting the erroneous reasoning in the prior decisions. After the second Federal Court filing, USCIS again reopened Robert’s case but this time after further review, USCIS ultimately approved the case!
Although Robert and his family experienced a great deal of anxiety and heartbreak during their nearly ten-year journey to obtain permanent residency, they take comfort in the fact that their story can offer hope and remind others that with the right immigration help coupled with patience and persistence, dreams can become reality. Robert is now a lawful permanent resident working in the U.S. pursuing his passion for music.