So, after many years of being in the United States, a family or close friends has been arrested by immigration, also known as Immigration and Customs Enforcement,
which is part of the Department of Homeland Security.
You now find out that the person has been brought to federal plaza and then the person’s whereabouts become unknown. Tracking the detention facility where the person is held can sometimes be a challenge. For example, it is quite normal that a person arrested in New York is sent to the Essex County Jail in Newark, New Jersey.
What can you do if this happens to a family member? Well, you have to act fast in order to minimize the strain and mental anguish suffered by both the person arrested, as well as the family members or friends. Let’s face it, when a person is arrested or detained by immigration, it affects everyone. In the case of a family unit, the arrest by immigration will certainly affect the spouse and the children. These can be in the form of emotional distress as well as financial hardships. All too often I have clients that contact me to tell me their spouse who is the only working family member has been arrested by immigration. In these types of cases, you have to be quick to act by trying to get the person released. You will have to try to convince immigration or a judge that the person should be released. This may be a traumatic experience for you but the decisions you make early on may impact the case permanently. You have rights! Know them and use them!
Does this sound familiar to you?
I probably get about 2-3 phone calls per day about these types of issues. The reasons for denial range from people not showing up for their immigration interview in New York City or Long Island, to denials based on marriage interviews and denials of employment based cases. One of the first things I tell clients is that they need to make sure that they know exactly why their case was denied. All too often, people are unaware of why exactly their case was denied. I’ll give you an example. Today, I just met with a young gentleman who called me just yesterday. On the telephone, he told me that his case was denied because Immigration did not believe their marriage was real. Not surprisingly, his English was not perfect. So, I immediately informed him that I would need to see the denial and did not necessarily want to take his word for it. I encouraged him to come to our New York office for a free consultation.
Well . . . today I met with this gentleman and looked at his Immigration denial. I was not surprised that the denial was not exactly as the gentleman understood it to be. In fact, the denial was based on the wife not showing up to a second interview. So, I informed him that all was not lost and that there could be something we can do. I explained that we could re-file his case. He then informed me that his wife would not help him because she has been very abusive towards him. This abuse took many forms, including emotional, mental, financial and physical abuse. When I heard what this gentleman had to suffer during his marriage, I was shocked. I then explained to him that there was a special law that would allow an abused spouse to self-petition for a green card without the cooperation or assistance of the U.S. citizen spouse. He was very surprised to hear that.
The point I am trying to make is that never assume facts based on what someone tells you. As a lawyer, we have an obligation and a duty to conduct our own investigation into facts and try to find out exactly what is going on. Had this gentleman not went to see a lawyer, it is possible that he would be never have
known his rights.