Lorena (not her real name) was distressed when she first came to our office. She just received a decision from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denying her application for permanent residence. Lorena had applied for permanent residence based on a visa petition filed by her mother, who is a lawful permanent resident of the United States. At the time the visa petition was filed, Lorena was under the age of twenty-one and classified as a “child” for immigration purposes. Thanks to a law called the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA), Lorena was able to keep her eligibility as a “child” even after she turned twenty-one. This was important in Lorena’s case because it meant that she could apply for permanent residence many years earlier than if she were classified as an adult. Unfortunately, USCIS overlooked the CSPA entirely in Lorena’s case, concluding she was over twenty-one and had applied for permanent residence too early. The Motion to Reconsider the denial that we filed with USCIS also failed to get USCIS to acknowledge the protections of the CSPA.
SGG filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court explaining how USCIS made a clear legal error in overlooking the CSPA and denying Lorena’s application. We asked for an order from the Judge stating that Lorena was indeed still a “child” for immigration purposes and therefore immediately eligible for permanent residence. Belatedly concluding the denial would be reversed by the Court, USCIS promptly reopened Lorena’s application for adjustment of status and issued a notice for interview. They even sent a check refunding the filing fee she had paid for the Motion to Reconsider. A short time later, Lorena had an interview at her local USCIS office and her application was easily approved.
Although we wish a lawsuit had not been necessary in the first place, we are pleased we were able to use our litigation experience to achieve a just and favorable outcome for our client.
For more information, please contact us.