Canadian Immigrant Survives A Four State Immigration Jail Odyssey
For many immigrants, immigration jail is the twilight zone of immigration law.
Like Ben, a twenty year old Canadian immigrant.
A few days after his younger brother, Warren, was placed in local jail, Ben decided to visit him. Warren, like Ben, was born in Canada and they had entered the U.S. at the same time. They lived together with their parents.
Warren was a lawful permanent resident. Ben did not have a green card.
Their father had somehow neglected to file Ben’s paperwork.
This simple mistake would have enormous legal and financial consequences.
While visiting his brother, upon entry, Ben was identified as lacking a permanent resident card. Because he was an immigrant from Canada without permission to live here, the local law enforcement officers decided to turn him over to immigration agents.
Shortly afterwards ICE agents took him to a detention facility in San Diego. Two days later, he was moved to a facility in El Centro, California – about 175 miles away from his home. His family was not notified. His family could not find out where Ben had been taken.
Ben’s parents came to our San Diego, California office. They hired Carlos to serve as Ben’s San Diego immigration attorney.
They asked us to locate Ben. They wanted to help him get out of immigration jail. We learned Ben had no convictions and was working part-time as a carpenter. He was engaged to his high school sweetheart, a U.S. citizen. The wedding was scheduled to take place in a few months.
In Carlos’ opinion, Ben qualified for release upon the posting of an immigration bond. Based on his green card lawyer experience, he knew Ben qualified for permanent residence status. He would need our help in deportation defense proceedings.
First, our office had to locate him.
This is not always a simple task. Yet, using our knowledge of the immigration detention system, we found out Ben had been moved to El Centro but was no longer there. He had been transferred to somewhere in Arizona. Within another day, we were able to confirm Ben’s Arizona location. We also learned his bond for release was set at $20,000.
Carlos explained to Ben’s family the bond seemed excessive. He recommended trying to lower the amount. He also suggested moving the case back to San Diego. They agreed with Carlos’ plans. As Carlos prepared to visit Ben in Arizona, he learned Ben had been transferred again. Our office began the process once more: find Ben and schedule a deportation and removal bond hearing.
This time Ben’s case had been moved to El Paso, Texas. Meanwhile, Ben was detained six hours away – at a jail in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The government attorney asserted Ben was not allowed to post any bond. He said our bond request would be opposed under the guiding immigration rules in their jurisdiction. Ben would have to stay in a New Mexico facility while his case went forward in Texas. Carlos immediately started to prepare Ben’s immigration appeal as a back-up plan, in case the judge ruled in favor of the government.
We set the bond hearing for a Monday. Carlos’ plan was to visit and prepare Ben for the hearing over the weekend. Being a veteran immigration deportation defense lawyer, Carlos understood the importance of Ben’s personal testimony.
Upon arrival at the New Mexico jail on Friday evening, Carlos was instructed that the warden had enforced a “No Visitors” policy for the weekend. It did not matter that Carlos’ visit had been approved in advance.
The warden’s policy was unacceptable.
To do his best as Ben’s immigration attorney, Carlos knew he needed time to prepare Ben.
He refused to go along with the change in his visitation plans. After going back and forth with the facility officials for several hours, the warden decided to personally meet with Carlos. After their meeting, the warden approved a short visit for Sunday afternoon.
On Monday, Ben’s testimony was clear and concise. Carlos challenged the government’s “no bond” position based on cases specific to the Texas immigration court.
But that was not the end of Ben’s problems.
Before ruling on Ben’s case, the Judge threw yet another curve. He requested to hear directly from Ben’s fiance and parents.
Carlos was not derailed.
Carlos had anticipated this unusual condition. Since they living in Carlsbad, we already had them on standby at our Escondido office. A telephone conference with the immigration judge was arranged immediately.
Finally, Ben prevailed. The Texas judge set Ben’s bond at $2,500. A few days later, Ben returned home and his case was transferred to San Diego. Soon afterward Ben and Carlos started getting ready for Ben’s future court hearings.
About a year later, Ben prevailed at his deportation trial.
Ben is now a lawful permanent resident and happily married. He has two children and works as a full-time carpenter.
This article, pertaining to immigration court hearings and deportation defense, is part two of a series on the successes of immigration lawyer Carlos Batara in different types of cases.
Follow this link to read more: Proving Citizenship In The Third Round