For more than twenty years, Southern California Immigration Attorney Carlos Batara has helped immigrants – from more than 80 different countries – live the American Dream.
This section shares a few of their stories.
These are special stories.
- These are stories about clients who have traveled a long distance and lived unique lives.
- These are stories about clients who faced being separated from their family forever.
- These are stories about clients who refused to take the easy way out and give up.
These are stories about successful immigrants.
Every Immigrant Has A Special Story
“As a young college journalist, I had the good fortune to meet and interview Charles Kuralt, producer of a weekly television series called “On the Road.” He drove a motor home up and down the United States from coast to coast. Every week he would broadcast a story about someone he met on the road. His heartwarming stories about unusual people in unusual places won awards year after year.
During my interview, I asked him how was he able to find so many special people week after week. He said the formula was quite simple. Every person, he confided, has a special story, a special adventure to tell the world. It merely requires the assistance of someone who has the ability to tell their stories for them.
Today, every time I handle a new immigration case, I think about Mr. Kuralt’s distinctive insight. Every immigrant, having traveled a long distance, from places foreign to most U.S. citizens, has lived a unique life – often overcoming tremendous obstacles and hardships – on their path to a better tomorrow.
As their immigration lawyer, I become the person chosen to help them complete their journeys to America successfully. I appreciate and value the opportunity to be part of such grand adventures.”
— Carlos Batara
Stories Of Perseverance And Persistence, Hope And Courage
1. Perilous Recovery From A Nearly Tragic Decision
(Topics: Immigration Appeals, Deportation Trials)
Linda entered the United States without inspection in the late 1980s. She brought her daughter, Susan, age 2, with her. Ten years later, Linda was still living in the U.S. when she learned about a new “amnesty” program.
That’s when Linda made a tragic miscalculation. 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 visit put her family in jeopardy.
Read the entire story – Perilous Recovery From A Nearly Tragic Decision
2. A Four State Odyssey Through The Immigration Jail System
(Topics: Immigration Court Hearings, Deportation Defense)
Twenty year old Ben visited his younger brother, Warren, in a local jail. Ben and Warren, both Canadian immigrants, had entered the United States at the same time.
Warren was a lawful permanent resident. Ben did not have immigration documents. Their father had somehow neglected to file Ben’s paperwork.
This simple omission would have enormous legal and financial consequences for Ben and his family.
See how Ben is doing now – A Four State Odyssey Through The Immigration Jail System
3. Proving Citizenship In The Third Round
(Topics: Citizenship, Permanent Residence)
Tony, age 30, had just married Angela, a U.S. citizen. Angela wanted to file family visa papers to immigrate Tony. He feared they would be accused of fraud.
Tony’s mother was a U.S. citizen but he was born in Mexico. He had filed twice to prove his U.S. citizenship. He failed both times.
If Angela filed new papers for him, he worried the government would think this was an attempt to obtain U.S. residency by any means necessary and challenge the validity of their marriage.
Learn the outcome here – Proving Citizenship In The Third Round
4. From Refugee To Professor
(Topics: Asylum Law, Immigration Appeals)
Vinnie, a refugee from Cambodia, had seen a firing squad kill his father as a young child. A few years later, he escaped and became a U.S. permanent resident.
He and his Vietnamese wife loved Mexican food. They would drive to Mexico with their children to eat, shop, and just be tourists. One weekend, they were stopped at the border. The immigration agent found Vinnie’s name in the computer with a conviction from his youth. He was taken into custody.
The government claimed his conviction was an aggravated felony. This meant he had no chance to fight deportation.
Discover how Vinnie overcame his youthful mistakes – From Refugee To Professor
5. Planning Ahead Prevents Deportation
(Topics: Family Immigration Petitions, Deportation Defense)
Elizabeth, a successful Brazilian restaurant owner, wanted to help her brothers, Robert and Victor, become permanent residents. Her brothers were high school scholars and nearing graduation.
Driving to work one day, she heard about a new immigration program and wanted her brothers to apply. When she spoke with Carlos, she learned that she was risking placing her brothers in a situation which make their cases more, not less, difficult to win.
She argued with Carlos. She refused to accept his viewpoint.
Read what Elizabeth decided and how her decision affected her brothers’ cases – Planning Ahead Prevents Deportation
6. Winning Residency Despite Overstaying Visa
(Topics: Deportation Defense, Permanent Residency)
Fausto, born in Havana, Cuba, entered the United States through the Visa Waiver Program as a Spanish citizen. But he overstayed.
For several years, he had wanted to leave his birthplace. He disagreed with many of government’s policies. While attending college, Fausto joined the opposition. This decision would change his life forever.
Fearing arrest, he left Cuba shortly after his graduation. He fled to Spain, where his mother’s parents lived, to continue with graduate level studies.
Learn how Fausto ended up in the United States and was placed in deportation proceedings to be sent back to his home country – Winning Residency Despite Overstaying Visa
7. Removing Green Card Conditions Without Spouse
(Topics: Green Card, Lawful Permanent Residence)
Georgina met Alexander as she was working at a department store in her home town of Lima, Peru. A few days later, he asked her to join him for dinner. They got along well. Alexander began calling her on a regular basis.
Since he often traveled to Peru and other Latin American countries on business trips, they began informally dating. About a year later, he filed a K-1 fiancé visa for her and a K-2 visa for her son. They moved to Chicago and he sponsored them for green cards. They were granted conditional residency.
Soon afterwards, Alexander began to experience stress due to his previous marriage. He abandoned Georgina. When the time arrived to file a joint petition to remove the conditions on her green card, he refused to help.
Find out how Georgina was able to remove the residency conditions on her own – Removing Green Card Conditions Without Spouse
8. Overcoming In Absentia Deportation Order
(Topics: Green Card, Deportation Defense)
Xiuying, a Chinese citizen, met Henry, a U.S. citizen, through an online dating service. They got along well and he asked her to join him in the United States. He filed a fiancé visa for her. They married. She was granted conditional lawful permanent resident status.
But their relationship changed. Henry became controlling and abusive. She left Henry and moved in with her daughter. She never filed to remove the conditions on her green card.
When her daughter became a U.S. citizen, she filed her own petition to immigrate her mother. At the residency interview, they learned Xiuying had been deported.
Learn how Xiuying overcame the abuse and deportation – Overcoming In Absentia Deportation Order
9. Spouse Wins Green Card Despite Invalid Divorce
(Topics: Family Immigration Petitions, Green Cards)
Laura, a citizen of Chile, entered the U.S. on a tourist visa. During her visit, she was introduced to Cesar, a close friend of her brother-in-law.
They spent time together and became attracted to each other. About a month before Laura’s departure date, he asked her to marry him. Two weeks later, they tied the knot in a civil ceremony. Cesar then filed a petition to immigrate Laura. Everything seemed to go smoothly . . . until the green card interview.
The USCIS officer denied Cesar’s petition. He could not provide proof of his divorce in the Dominican Republic from his first wife. Laura was sent to immigration court to face deportation charges.
Read how they overcame Cesar’s invalid divorce – Spouse Wins Green Card Despite Previous Invalid Divorce
10. Winning Waiver And Green Card Despite Conviction
(Topics: Immigration Appeals, I-601 Waivers, Permanent Residency)
At the age of 12, Joaquín entered the United States with his sisters and mother. Since Joaquín’s father had passed away, their relatives convinced his mother that staying in the U.S. was in the best interest of her children.
Several years later, he met Donna, a U.S. citizen. They married two years afterwards. Knowing Joaquín did not have legal status, Donna filed papers to legalize his residency status.
The government denied his application because he had been convicted of a theft crime nearly ten years earlier and had not sought a waiver request seeking “forgiveness” for his overstay of over 10 years and criminal conviction. In response, he filed a motion to reopen, allowing them to file the omitted waiver.
Their waiver request was rejected and the green card application was again denied.
Discover how Joaquín and Donna were able to fight back – Winning Waiver And Green Card Despite Conviction
11. Immigrant Child Wins VAWA Case At Immigration Court
(Topics: Deportation Defense, Violence Against Women Act)
Carla was four years old when she and her mother, Veronica, left El Salvador and came to the U.S. They joined her father, Benito, who had entered a few years before.
By the time they arrived, Benito had become a lawful permanent resident under the Special Agricultural Worker program. He never filed for them to receive green card benefits.
One day, Carla was offered a ride home from high school by one of her friends. They were pulled over by a police officer. The car matched the description of a vehicle driven by a woman who had stolen some items from a nearby clothes store.
No criminal case was filed against them. But since Carla lacked legal immigration papers, she was served with a notice to appear at immigration court to face deportation charges.
Learn how Carla escaped deportation as a child victim of an abusive parent – Immigrant Child Wins VAWA Case At Immigration Court
12. Abused Immigrant Earns “U” Visa And Legal Residency
(Topics: Permanent Residence, Violence Against Women Act, and U Visa issues)
After dating a couple of years, Camila married Erick. They had six children, three born in their home country of Bolivia. The youngest three were born in the United States.
Shortly after their marriage, Erick began to mistreat and physically abuse Camila. Out of love and belief things would work out, she followed him to the U.S.
His behavior never improved. Shortly after Camila arrived, Erick became a lawful permanent resident. He refused to file documents to immigrate her or their three children born in Boliva.
Read how Camila survived domestic violence and lack of immigration documents and became a lawful permanent resident – Abused Immigrant Earns “U” Visa And Legal Residency