This week, I had a detained deportation trial in Boston Immigration Court. My client, a permanent resident who had lived in the United States for over twenty years, was facing deportation to Pakistan, a country where he knew no one and didn’t speak the language. He entered Boston Immigration Court in chains and an orange jumpsuit and walked out of court knowing that he would soon be a free man and a could continue his life in the U.S. with this green card.
Allow me to explain how I won the case:
The Department of Homeland Security had arrested my client and detained him at the Plymouth County House of Correction in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Interestingly, my client was arrested in Connecticut but because Hartford Immigration Court has not detained docket, he was transferred to a facility in Massachusetts so that his deportation trial could be placed on the docket of Boston Immigration Court. In Boston, Immigration Judge Steven Day exclusively handles the detained docket for all deportation cases in all of New England (Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire).
My client was facing the prospect of being deported because of a criminal case that had concluded many years before. Initially, Immigration and Customs Enforcement charged my client with having a criminal conviction that was classified as “aggravated felony.” But, after I reviewed the record of conviction (especially the plea colloquy), I realized that, in fact, he had pled guilty to a divisible statue. This means that he was convicted of a statute that included several different offense, some of the included offenses were aggravated felonies, while others were not.
Based on this research, I successfully challenged Immigration and Custom’s Enforcements’ allegation that my client had an aggravated felony conviction. This was a crucial victory because even though my client was still deportable, by eliminating the aggravated felony conviction, my client became eligible for relief in the form of cancellation of removal for certain lawful permanent residents.
Cancellation of removal is essentially a way of asking the Immigration Judge for a second chance. The standard is a balancing of the equities where the Immigration Judge weighs a range of factors including the severity of the applicant’s criminal offense, the recency of the criminal record, the hardship imposed by a possible deportation, as well as any other positive or negative equities.
In support of my client’s application for cancellation of removal, I prepared a detailed affidavit of his proposed testimony in Immigration Court. This gave my client an opportunity to tell his life story. Most importantly, he explained why he was unlikely to have problems with the law in the future. And, at the end of the deportation hearing, Boston Immigration Judge Steven Day granted the application for cancellation of removal, a hard won victory for my client.
If you or someone you know is facing deportation and needs and aggressive and effective attorney for representation in Boston Immigration Court, please call me. I’d be happy to review your case and help out outline a winning deportation defense strategy.