Client of the Month – January 2024: Van T.

Client of the Month – January 2024: Van T.

Our client of the month for January 2023 is Van, who was finally granted a green card in December after more than twenty years of fighting for lawful status in the United States. Van fled to the United States from Cambodia after surviving the killing fields of the Khmer Rouge and then spending nearly two decades opposing a brutal dictatorship in his country. Yet his asylum was wrongfully denied in 2004 and he spent fifteen years in limbo, until he was taken into custody by ICE in an attempt to deport him in 2019.

When ICE arrested him, Van’s family worked with Ava and Sarah, first to have his deportation case reopened by the Board of Immigration Appeals and then to have him released from custody. Van had become eligible for a green card based on a family petition by his daughter, a U.S. citizen. Although the BC team secured Van’s release while the motion to reopen was pending, ICE arrested him again a few weeks later. They nearly had him on a plane to Cambodia, but Ava filed a writ of habeas corpus in federal court, leading to Van’s release a second time and a stay of removal from the BIA. Despite granting the stay of removal, the BIA went on to wrongfully deny Van’s motion to reopen, so Ava took the case up to the First Circuit Court of Appeals. When it was time for the government to present their arguments, they instead agreed that the case should be reopened, so the case was sent back down to the BIA, where it was finally reopened and sent back to the Immigration Judge. Sarah submitted Van’s green card application to the Judge and then negotiated with the ICE attorney to be sure that Van’s hearing would be as smooth as possible. After less than ten minutes in court, Van’s green card was approved.

Van should have been a green card holder twenty years ago, but better late than never. The BC team is so happy for Van, his daughter, and the community of friends that love him!

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