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Success Story No. 3

After Three Failures, Mexican Immigrant Proves U.S. Citizenship

Tony, a resident of San Marcos, had just married Angela, who lived in Oceanside.  Angela, a U.S. citizen, wanted to file family visa papers to immigrate Tony.

Tony feared he and his wife would be accused of immigration fraud. He had already tried three times to legalize his status and failed.

If Angela filed an immigration family petition, Tony wondered, would the government look into his records? Would the government think this was an attempt to get permanent resident status by any means possible? Would they challenge the validity of the marriage?

Seeking help, Tony came to our Escondido immigration attorney office in North San Diego County.

Born in Mexico, Tony explained his mother was a U.S. citizen, his father a Mexican citizen. His mother was in high school when he was born.

Tony’s mother temporarily lived in two worlds. She spent extended weekends with his father in Mexico and returned home for the weekdays. After finishing high school, she lived in Mexico briefly. She married his father, but they soon divorced.

Tony had filed twice before to prove his citizenship, but it was denied both times. Later, he married a U.S. citizen in Texas. She filed a family visa petition and a permanent resident application on his behalf. But they divorced before his adjustment of status interview and he was forced to abandon his green card application.

After discussing his personal immigration history, Tony decided to hire Carlos as his citizenship lawyer.

Once Carlos learned about Tony’s immigration ordeal, and heard about the unique history of Tony’s mother, he recommended filing for citizenship – not just permanent residency through Angela. In his analysis, Tony was a U.S. citizen and he should prove it.

With legal representation, Carlos felt that Tony had a better chance to demonstrate he was not simply a Mexican immigrant, but a U.S. citizen by birth.

Point blank, he asked Tony and his wife, “Why settle for a green card?”

Carlos assured Tony that he would be there with him every step of the way. As an immigration trial attorney, Carlos understood that it would take careful preparation to defeat any immigration fraud allegations. After thinking about it for a few days, Tony and his wife decided to file for his citizenship.


We faced a few challenges.

First, we needed to track down Tony’s previous immigration applications to find out why they had failed.

We had heard Tony’s version; we still needed to verify certain important details. When we obtained his files several months later, our fears were confirmed. The documents showed he had presented inconsistent dates and information.

Second, Tony had lost his passport and other documents which proved how he had entered the U.S. many years ago.

Tony had not realized how complicated the rules were for proving citizenship. To overcome the damage of his early applications, we needed accurate information. However, Tony had never known his father. His mother had remarried. He did not know where she lived. He was not on speaking terms with her.

At this stage, legal skills were not enough. Success depended on Carlos’ people skills. Upon Carlos’ request, Tony reluctantly set up a telephone conference with his grandparents.

Carlos urged Tony’s grandparents to help us locate and talk with his mother. They agreed to assist Carlos.  They knew it was important to prove Tony’s citizenship.

They arranged a meeting with Tony’s mother at our office.

Tony feared the meeting would fail. The meeting started uncomfortably. But by the end of the meeting, Carlos was able to persuade Tony’s mother to assist us.

Now, as Tony’s citizenship and naturalization lawyer, Carlos was able to create a vast paper trail documenting everything from his mother’s school records – to her employment history – to her parents’ rent records.

Carlos left no stone unturned. He was able to clear up the problems in Tony’s earlier applications.

Finally, after several years and failed efforts, Tony had established his U.S. citizenship.

All this work paid off in another way. Tony rebuilt bridges with his mother and grandparents. Today, they are a family reunited, sharing holidays and special times together.

This article about citizenship and permanent residence issues is part three of a series on the successes of immigration lawyer Carlos Batara in different types of cases.

Follow this link to read more: From Refugee To Professor