Guatemalan Immigrant’s Perilous Recovery From A Nearly Tragic Decision
Linda, an immigrant from Guatemala, entered the U.S. without inspection in the late 1980s. She brought her daughter, Susan, age 2, with her.
Almost 15 years later, Linda had married and given birth to three children born in the United States. Now divorced, Linda was a single parent, supporting her family selling foods on construction sites.
Because her husband had not filed papers for them, Linda and Susan remained without legal immigration status. Susan was an honor student, nearing the 12th grade, and Linda wanted her to be able to attend college, but she did not have any pathway to permanent residency.
Linda was overjoyed when she learned about a new immigration program.
Thinking it was like amnesty, Linda believed she could qualify for a green card by simply proving she had lived in the United States for ten years and had not committed any crimes.
That’s when Linda made a tragic mistake.
Linda went to the immigration office to file papers. She thought this was the first step towards getting a green card.
She did not understand the new laws were not amnesty. The new laws were changes making it harder, not easier, to obtain legal documents. Linda’s mistake meant she requested a hearing at Immigration Court.
Unknowingly, Linda had put herself and her daughter in deportation proceedings.
At the first hearing, Linda realized the government was seeking to deport them. Linda’s only chance at winning would depend on the hardship to her qualifying relatives, her three U.S. children. If she lost, she would be deported.
Even worse, the Judge said Susan had no basis for immigration hardship.
Needing a Riverside immigration attorney to defend her and Susan from being deported, Linda consulted with our immigration office.
Carlos held nothing back. Carlos told Linda that both she and her daughter had a rough road ahead. Their cases, he informed her, would require a great deal of ingenuity and creativity – and their cases would be two separate cases.
Carlos would have to try some entirely new legal arguments. As an immigration trial lawyer and an deportation appeals lawyer, Carlos knew he would would have to challenge the government’s interpretation of the new law.
He explained that even if our office did everything right, she and her daughter could still lose. Or that one could win, and the other could lose. Knowing the risks, Linda decided to hire our office.
As predicted, the road was bumpy. Linda’s case went first. She lost at the Immigration Court hearing. Based on his deportation defense background, Carlos anticipated a negative ruling.
At Linda’s trial, Carlos laid out issues he intended to use for her appeal at the BIA (Board of Immigration Appeals). On the BIA appeal, Carlos raised these issues to challenge the judge’s reasoning in his decision. About a year later, Linda won her appeal.
Her case was now sent back to the immigration court for a new trial. This time, the judge was required to consider the issues raised by Carlos.
This time, Linda won. She had earned her green card the hard way.
But while Linda’s immigration appeals was pending, her daughter lost her deportation trial. Again, Carlos had prepared for the worst in advance.
He knew, like Linda’s case, Susan’s hopes of overcoming deportation and removal were slim. Her case depended on his ability as an immigration appeals lawyer. He had to convince a higher court that the same immigration judge was wrong for a second time.
A few months after Linda’s victory, Susan won her immigration deportation appeal.
Yet, the family’s ordeal was not yet over. Like her mother, Susan had to return to immigration court for a new trial. Things had gone good . . . so far. Carlos knew he had to put his deportation trial attorney hat back on and face the same judge once more. Susan and her mother were terrified.
The story has a happy ending. Susan was successful. She won her deportation trial.
Having won their cases, both mother and daughter were granted the privilege of becoming lawful permanent residents. Today, Susan is a college junior, earning high grades. Linda found a better job and earned her U.S. citizenship. With better earnings, she was able to save money and purchase a house in Riverside County for her and her four children.
This article, pertaining to immigration appeals and deportation trials, is part one of a series on the successes of immigration lawyer Carlos Batara in different types of cases.
Follow this link to read more: A Four State Odyssey Through The Immigration Jail System