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Another Krome Detention Center Immigration Court 212(h) Waiver Victory

 212(h) Win at Krome Immigration Court for Client with Felony Convictions

Attorney Cohen recently scored a major victory for a client at the Krome Detention Center Immigration Court, in Miami, Florida.   Client was detained, and facing deportation to a country he barely recollected, since he had emigrated to the U.S. as a young child.

Client was a permanent resident who had several criminal arrests, including aggravated battery, aggravated assault, and strong arm robbery.   Although the criminal cases occurred years ago, when it comes to U.S. deportation laws there are precious few statutes of limitations.

Unusual Immigration Court Strategy Nets 212(h) Waiver for Client with Serious Criminal Record

In a bold and unusual strategy Attorney Cohen reached out to the victims of his Client’s crimes, and 2 victims came forward to testify under oath in support of allowing Client to remain in the United States.

In addition to the testimony of numerous witnesses, expert medical and psychological evidence was presented to the Krome Immigration Court, in support of a finding that Client’s deportation would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to Client’s parents and wife.   A volume of evidence was also submitted in support of Client’s rehabilitation.

The Immigration Judge granted Client a Section 212(h) waiver, forgiving the deportation consequences of the crimes.  Client was released from ICE custody and returned to status of lawful permanent resident.

Attorney Cohen’s Closing Thought

Cohen:    “Given the seriousness of the government’s allegations against my client, I needed to go all-out to win his case,   even managing to get the victims on board to testify in support of my client.   The Immigration Judge was impressed.”

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Attorney Mitchell J. Cohen

Attorney Mitchell J. Cohen

 

Attorney Mitchell J. Cohen is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and represents clients in front the Immigration Courts in Miami, the Krome Service Processing Center, the Broward Transitional Center (BTC), Orlando, and throughout the United States.   Additionally his immigration law practice provides a full range of services, representing clients in front of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the State Department, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), and 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.    Immigration Law offices in Hallandale Beach (954 457-1941) and Fort Myers (239 931-6558).

 

 

 

Absentia Order of Deportation Victory in 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals

Cohen Eliminates 16-Year-Old Absentia Deportation Order

Immigration Lawyer reopens in absentia order

In Absentia Deportation Order Reopened in NY

 

What is Being Ordered Deported in Absentia?

The Immigration Courts have the authority to go forward on a deportation hearing when the respondent (the immigration court equivalent of a “defendant”) fails to appear for the hearing. When a respondent “no shows” for his or her deportation hearing, the Immigration Judge will generally make a final decision on case based on the evidence submitted by the counsel representing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). If the evidence submitted by ICE establishes deportability, then the Immigration Court will order the respondent removed “in absentia.”

The Immigration Court generally presumes that there was effective service of the charging document if it is established to have been mailed to the respondent’s address. The presumption of effective delivery however may in some instances be overcome by evidence that the charging document was not in fact received.

Attorney Cohen Makes a Federal Case Out of Immigration’s Failure to Provide Notice of Hearing

In 2005 a woman sought to reopen a deportation order that had been issued in 1991 in her absence. She had not appeared for the 1991 hearing because she had never received notice of the deportation hearing. The Immigration Court denied her motion to reopen the proceedings. She appealed the decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”). In 2006 the BIA denied her appeal. It also subsequently denied her motions to reconsider. I was retained to represent her in a Federal Court appeal of the BIA’s denial of her motions to reconsider. I appealed her case pro hac vice to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, in New York, the jurisdiction where the in absentia deportation hearing originally occurred.

Success in 2nd Circuit Petition for Review of the In Absentia Order of Deportation

The basis of the federal circuit court appeal (called a “petition for review”) was that the Board of Immigration Appeals unfairly ignored evidence of non-receipt, including multiple affidavits that had been submitted in support of a finding that my client had not in fact received notice of the hearing. The Court of Appeals agreed, ruling that in upholding the order of deportation, the Board of Immigration Appeals had abused its discretion. The in absentia order of deportation was vacated (eliminated), and the case was remanded to the Immigration Court. I subsequently was able to change venue to the Miami Immigration Court and then obtain an order from the Immigration Court terminating the deportation proceedings.

Call Attorney Cohen

If you have any questions, or you need immigration court representation, please feel free to call my law office in Hallandale Beach (954 457-1941) or Fort Myers (239 931-6558) to schedule a consultation with me.

Note: the foregoing article is for general informational purposes only. It is not legal advice.

Krome Detention Center Immigration Court Success

 

Krome Immigration Court

Krome Immigration Court

Background:
A young man from Central America was arrested at Miami International Airport by ICE and placed in removal proceedings at the Krome Service Processing Center, in Miami, Florida. He was a permanent resident (“green card” holder), who was subject to deportation on account of a conviction for cocaine possession. His criminal record also included an arrest for carrying a concealed weapon. Years after his criminal arrests, he was arrested by immigration upon returning from a visit to his native country.
Counsel for the Department of Homeland Security argued that my client was ineligible for Sec. 240A(a) Cancellation of Removal, a defensive application I filed with the Immigration Court in support of my client remaining in the United States. After hearing both sides’ arguments on the issue, the Immigration Judge allowed us to proceed with the application.
What is Section 240A(a) Cancellation of Removal?
Section 240A(a) cancellation of removal is a defensive form of relief available to some permanent residents who have been placed in removal proceedings. In general it is available to cancel removability for individuals who have resided in the United States for over 7 years since admission to the United States, with at least 5 of those years having been spent in permanent resident status. There are additional restrictions on who qualifies for Section 240A(a) cancellation of removal, including a “stop-time” rule, and a bar for certain individuals convicted of offenses designated under the Immigration and Nationality Act as aggravated felonies. If the Immigration Court finds that you qualify to apply for Sec. 240A(a) cancellation of removal, the Immigration Court will accept the application (Form EOIR-42A) and conduct a hearing on the application. The test for cancellation of removal is a “balancing of the equities,” and the Immigration Judge exercises his or her own discretion in granting or denying the application.

Outcome:
After hearing the testimony and written statements of my client, his family, a clinical psychologist and other members of the community, and considering the evidence of hardship to my client and his family (including his parents and child) should he be deported, the Immigration Judge at the Krome Detention Center granted the cancellation of removal application, finding that my client had demonstrated remorse for his crimes, good moral character, a commitment to his child, and generally that the positive factors in his case outweighed the negatives.
The Department of Homeland Security did not appeal the decision, and my client was allowed to remain in the United States with his permanent resident status intact.

Cohen’s Tip #1: Read Before You Plead.
A “withheld adjudication” of a criminal charge may not insulate you from DHS attempting to deport you. A plea of “no contest” or “guilty” is generally deemed to be a conviction under the Immigration and Nationality Act. The immigration definition of “conviction” is broader than the criminal definition. A plea of “nolo contendere” (“no contest”) or “guilty” where the criminal court imposed some form of punishment (for example: fine, costs, school, probation, jail time, etc.) is deemed to be a conviction under immigration law, even though your criminal attorney may tell you that you were not convicted. Many individuals come to me after they take an ill-advised plea, only to be shocked when the immigration authorities initiated removal proceedings against them. It is critical then if you are not a U.S. Citizen that you and/or your criminal attorney consult with an experienced immigration lawyer before the decision is made to plead to a crime. A good immigration attorney may be able to propose a plea agreement that will not subject the client to deportation or at least provide him with a fighting chance at remaining in the United States.
Cohen’s Tip #2: Look Before You Leap.
One very common way immigration identifies people who are subject to being removed from the United States is when they are returning from a trip abroad. If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, it is a very good idea to consult with an immigration attorney before you decide to travel.

The foregoing article is general in nature and not intended as legal advice. If you would like to consult with Attorney Mitchell J. Cohen, please call his immigration law office in Hallandale Beach (954 457-1941) or Fort Myers (239 931-6558) to schedule a consultation about your case.   Attorney Cohen is a Member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Attorney Mitchell J. Cohen

Attorney Mitchell J. Cohen

 

 

 

 

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BIA Torture Convention (“CAT”) Victory

Convention Against Torture (CAT) Case Success

“Aggravated Felon” was Detained at Krome Detention Center

An undocumented alien had been categorized as an “aggravated felon” on account of his criminal record. As a result of a criminal conviction, an “immigration hold” was placed on him while he was in jail, and at the conclusion of his criminal sentence, he was taken to Miami’s Krome Detention Center by the immigration authorities.

The Krome Service Processing Center, located at 18201 SW 12th Street, Miami, FL 33194, is an immigration detention facility. The facility also houses an Immigration Court, which conducts bond hearings, removal proceedings, and certain other types of immigration proceedings. There are presently 3 Immigration Judges presiding over deportation cases at the Krome Detention Center.

The Torture Convention Case in Front of the Krome Immigration Court

My client had been tortured in his home country in retaliation for his political expression against the government, and still bore scars inflicted by his tormentors. I enlisted the aid of the Public Health Service at the facility to help me document the scars on my client’s body, and presented the findings to the Immigration Court at Krome. The Immigration Judge – who at the time had one of the lowest asylum grant rates in the country – declined to grant relief, and I appealed the case to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).

The BIA’s Decision on the CAT Case (Win)

Based on the testimony of my client, the medical report, and other documentation corroborating his fear of returning to his country, the Board of Immigration Appeals found that my client had demonstrated an over 50 percent likelihood that he would be tortured by his government if he was deported to his country, and therefore granted him relief under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT” Relief). Client was released from Krome, and allowed to live and work in the United States.

Attorney Mitchell J. Cohen

Attorney Mitchell J. Cohen

 

Contact me at my Hallandale Beach or Fort Myers law office.

Hallandale Beach:   (954) 457 – 1941

Fort Myers:  (239) 931-6558

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Miami Immigration Court Cancellation of Removal Victory

The Department of Homeland Security sought to deport a woman from a South American country. She had been residing in the United States for over a decade, and was living with her elderly parents. Attorney Mitchell J. Cohen represented her in Immigration Court proceedings in front of an Immigration Judge in Miami, Florida. The Immigration and Nationality Act provides a defense from deportation to certain individuals who (1) have been living in the United States for over 10 years at the time of the service of the DHS’s notice to appear in Immigration Court, (2) have been persons of “good moral character” for at least 10 years, (3) whose deportation would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (“green card” holder) parent, child under 21, or husband or wife. This form of defensive immigration relief is called Cancellation of Removal and Adjustment of Status for Certain Nonpermanent Residents. There are additional qualifying / disqualifying criteria as well. A final decision approving the application means that the removal proceedings are cancelled, and that the respondent (the immigration court equivalent of a “defendant”) is granted Lawful Permanent Residence in the United States. The law provides for an annual nationwide cap of 4,000 for cancellation of removal for nonpermanent residents grants. Due to the law’s stringent criteria and limits on the number of these applications that may be approved annually, an individual in removal proceedings faces big hurdles in winning this type of defensive application.

Attorney Cohen presented evidence that his client’s presence in the United States was indispensible for the mental and physical well-being of her parents, both of whom were suffering from serious medical conditions, including heart-bypass surgery. The Immigration Judge took into evidence detailed statements from the parents’ physicians and from a psychologist who evaluated the parents. The doctors detailed the infirmities that the parents suffered from, the care that the daughter was providing, and the poor prognosis for the parents if their daughter were to be removed from the United States. The psychologist, a specialist in the field of health-psychology, detailed the emotional dependence that the parents on their daughter, that coupled with their emotional fragility, predicted that their daughter’s deportation would likely result on in profound psychological and emotional distress for the parents. Additional testimonial and documentary evidence was considered by the Immigration Court in Miami, including but not limited to poor conditions in client’s native country, client’s history of filing and paying federal income taxes and other evidence of her good moral character.

OUTCOME: Cancellation of Removal GRANTED, and client issued a permanent resident card. The government did not appeal the decision.

COHEN’S TIP #1: There are several forms of cancellation of removal for nonpermanent residents. The law provides that certain victims and former victims of domestic violence at the hands of U.S. Citizens or permanent residents may apply for “VAWA Special Rule Cancellation of Removal.” This form of deportation relief has some of the criteria relaxed, such as the physical presence requirement (only 3 years needed), and the hardship requirement (only “extreme hardship” need to be shown, instead of the more onerous “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship”). Furthermore, an applicant under this section may qualify under this section by showing that he himself would suffer extreme hardship if deported (even in the absence of extreme hardship to a qualifying relative, if any).

COHEN’S TIP #2: Get your taxes in order. The Immigration Judge as a rule take a very dim view of individuals who they perceive to be tax cheats, therefore it is important to demonstrate to the Immigration Judge that you have complied with U.S. tax laws. I advise my clients as early as possible in the process to see a competent Certified Public Accountant.

COHEN’S TIP #3: The requisite hardship must be shown under 2 scenarios. (1) What would happen to the qualifying relative if you were deported and the relative remained in the United States, and (2) What would happen if the relative joined you outside of the United States. The Immigration Judge will deny the application if he finds that the relative would be “ok” if he or she joined you back in your country. Many attorneys neglect to address this critical aspect of the case, with tragic results for their clients.

COHEN’S TIP #4: Expert witnesses. I am a big proponent of expert witnesses. Expert witnesses often need to be educated on what issues are important to the Immigration Judge, so that their reports and/or testimony can effectively address the important questions that are in front of the court. Effective expert witness testimony and reports can often mean the difference between winning and losing a case.

This article is general in nature and should not be construed as legal advice. Need an immigration lawyer? Call the Law Offices of Mitchell J. Cohen, P.A. at (954) 457-1941 (Hallandale Beach Immigration Office) or (239) 931-6558 (Fort Myers Immigration Law Office).

Cohen Brings Back Deported Man

A man was deported to Colombia. Due to his removal from the United States, he was barred under the law from returning to the U.S. for 10 years. Additionally,because he had collected more than 1 year of unlawful presence prior to his deportation, he was also subject to an additional 10 year bar to reentry. Attorney Cohen represented him and his wife in front of USCIS and the State Department in an immigrant visa petition and consular processing of the case. In order for the U.S. Embassy in Bogota to issue the immigrant visa, Attorney Cohen had to have 2 separate applications approved in order to waive the 10 year bars to reentry. One application was a I-212 advance permission to reenter the United States after Removal, and the other was an I-601 application for a waiver 10 year bar for unlawful presence. In order for the unlawful presence bar to be forgiven, evidence that the man’s U.S. Citizen wife was suffering extreme hardship in the absence of her husband was collected and presented to the USCIS. Evidence included a psychological report which indicated that she was suffering from clinical depression. Other evidence bearing on the issue of extreme hardship was submitted as well, along with evidence in support of a favorable exercise of discretion. Evidence bearing on the issue of the non-viability of the wife joining her husband abroad was also provided to USCIS. The USCIS granted the I-601 and I-212 applications, finding that it was established that the wife would suffer extreme hardship unless the husband were allowed to rejoin her in the United States. OUTCOME: the U.S. Embassy in Colombia granted the immigrant visa application and the husband was allowed to emigrate to the United States where he was issued a green card. Had the waivers not been approved he would have been stuck outside the U.S. for a decade.

If you would like to consult with Attorney Mitchell J. Cohen regarding an immigration case, call for an appointment at either his Hallandale Beach Law Office (954 457-1941) or Fort Myers Law Office (239 931-6558).

Absentia Order of Removal Motion to Reopen Victory

A man from the West Indies was arrested by immigration upon his return to the United States. He was advised that there was an order of removal (deportation) that had been entered against him years before in Miami. Because he had not attended an immigration court hearing, the judge ordered him removed in his absence. Attorney Cohen filed a motion to rescind the absentia order of removal, based on the fact that his client had been unaware that he had been in immigration court proceedings (lack of notice). The motion was supported by affidavits of the client and relatives who corroborated the fact that he had not been aware of the proceedings, as well as documentary evidence showing that he had been living at a different address than the notice to appear and hearing notice were sent to. Cohen also obtained documentation from USCIS demonstrating that immigration had been made aware of the client’s address change by forms previously submitted to USCIS. Result: the Immigration Court in Miami reopened and terminated proceedings against client, and client was released from custody.

Cancellation of Removal Granted to Client from Central America Based on Child’s Developmental Deficits

Cancellation of Removal granted to Client from Central America based on Child’s Developmental Deficits

The Department of Homeland Security attempted to deport a man from Central America who had been residing in the United States over a decade after having entered the United States without inspection. Attorney Cohen successfully litigated his case in front of the Miami Immigration Court, presenting expert medical and psychological evidence relating to client’s U.S. Citizen child’s developmental deficits and behavioral problems. After hearing the evidence the Immigration Judge granted client permanent resident status under a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act called “cancellation of removal.” The Immigration Judge found that Attorney Cohen had established that his client’s child would suffer exceptional and extremely unusual hardship were his father to be deported from the United States. DHS did not appeal the decision.

Attorney Cohen successfully represents bedridden mentally-incapacitated woman in naturalization to U.S. Citizenship

The Immigration and Nationality Act provides for special exemptions for the physically and mentally impaired who are applying for naturalization to U.S. Citizenship. Attorney Cohen successfully marshaled medical evidence in support of a Form N-648 disability exemption for a client suffering from severe physical and mental impairments. Attorney Cohen coordinated with the local USCIS office to ensure that the case was handled correctly. As a result client was naturalized to U.S. Citizen at a bedside ceremony in her home, accompanied by her family. As a result of her naturalization to U.S. Citizen, client was able to have greater access to healthcare and associated services.

Attorney Cohen Wins Asylum for African Victim of Modern Day Slavery

A young man who escaped hereditary slavery in an African country applied for asylum in the United States. Attorney Cohen represented him in front of the Immigration Court in New York. In support of his client’s case, Attorney Cohen presented expert medical, psychological, and country condition testimony. The Immigration Court granted client asylum in the United States. The government did not appeal. Afterwards Attorney Cohen successfully obtained permanent residence for client.