After a years-long battle, a client of ours was recently sworn in as a United States citizen after his naturalization victory. Why is this significant? Because in 20 years of practicing immigration law, it’s difficult to recall the government being so fiercely opposed to naturalizing someone. Over a decade ago, our client – a U.S. lawful permanent resident – was engaged in serious criminal activity. In 2003, he was arrested and pled guilty in federal court to possession with intent to distribute 5 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 kilograms of marijuana.
Our Client of the Month for February 2015 is J-N-, a remarkable young woman who after a years-long struggle has finally become a lawful permanent resident of the United States. J-N- earned her green card the hard way, having first to escape an abusive, controlling family, then survive a marriage wrought by threats and violence, and finally endure a six-year battle with U.S. immigration authorities intent on deporting her.
Our Client of the Month for May 2014 is Francisco Nuñez Villegas. Francisco recently became a United States citizen after a seven-year emotional roller coaster ride, filled with both highs and lows and exciting and frightening moments. Francisco’s story is a story of love and family unity. It begins back in December of 2002, when he was still living in his native Mexico. That is when he met and fell in love with Melissa, an American student who was visiting Mexico during Christmas break.
The House of Representatives passed the Enforce Act yesterday. This piece of legislation, which is never going to become law, provides a cause of action to Members of Congress to sue the President for failure to enforce the laws as they see fit. The Enforce Act is aimed squarely at the President’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has given hope to so many young undocumented immigrants.
Kyle is our Client of the Month for March 2014. Kyle became a United States citizen on March 10, 2014 when Gina Pastore, a supervisor for the Naturalization Section for the Newark office of the Citizenship & Immigration Service (CIS), invited Kyle to her office, with a beautiful view of the Manhattan skyline, for a private oath ceremony. The Newark office of the CIS went out of its way to assist Kyle and make his acquisition of citizenship truly memorable.
Our Clients of the Month for November 2013 are Taras Shumelda and Oksana Korenovska. We can think of few people who have had such a productive six months. Six months ago, Taras was a permanent resident. He and Oksana had married years ago, but she continued to hold student status. Oksana was pregnant with the couple’s first child. By August, Taras was sworn in as a U.S.
On October 17, 2013, Alan Attoof Baba became a citizen of the United States. A native of Iraq, Alan obtained his Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status in 2011 through the Department of State’s Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) Program. Alan served the U.S. Government in Iraq as a Media & Cultural Specialist, a position that placed him in grave danger. His faithful service garnered him the praise of his supervisor, who recommended him for the special visa program.
Last week, among the hundreds of American flags raised at Tuesday’s March for Human Dignity and Respect, a few Mexican flags were spotted. That’s right. Mexican citizens carried the Mexican flag in Washington DC, the capital of the United States, of all places. The reaction of the anti-immigrant crowd was predictable- this was akin to General Santa Anna’s troops razing the Alamo, slaughtering the proud Texans within.
Abel Rodriguez is our client of the month for August 2013. On July 30, 2013, Abel took the oath of naturalization to complete his journey from undocumented immigrant to citizen. Abel’s “path to citizenship” was long, circuitous and by no means certain. It was Abel’s determination, constancy, and affability that go him through a thicket of laws to get to the point of becoming a citizen. Abel is from Mexico.
Today, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. that the state of Arizona cannot separately require an individual to prove he is a citizen in order to register to vote beyond the regulations set forth by the federal government. This decision stated that Arizona’s additional “proof of citizenship” form was contrary to the National Voter Registration Act, the federal law establishing a specific form for Voter Registration.