I-485 Through 245i for Low-Income Family
- Applicant: Ms. Lopez
- Nationality: Mexican
- Applying For: I-485 through 245i
- Time: 14 months
- Client did not believe strongly in their case
- Client comes from a low-income, low-education family, and did not speak English
- Petitioner did not qualify as a sponsor due to low income
- Difficulty in finding evidence of physical presence in the U.S. from nearly 18 years prior
Our client, Ms. Lopez, had been pushed and pulled into properly attempting to get her green card. She did not want to rock the boat though. She was reasonably happy with her life and thought she would be okay continuing like this. She felt as long as she kept her head down and stayed out of the way, that no one would disturb the peaceful life she was living. However, her daughter felt like this was no way to live life, especially her mother’s life. Her daughter pushed her to get a green card that she was eligible for and would be her petitioner. The mother was still frightful of the process, used to her life of staying out of things. Although hesitant to try for a green card, the mother decided to try for her daughter. They knew that they needed a law firm with experience in this area to help ease the stress of applying for a green card, that is when they found Tsang & Associates.
KEYS TO SUCCESS
Ms. Lopez had not been inspected upon her entry to the United States, which made her stay here unlawful. However, she was a candidate for a green card based on the fact that her husband had entered the country legally through a work-based petition before the date of April 30, 2001. This date was critical, because of the 245(i) Provision of LIFE Act, which allowed people like Ms. Lopez to adjust their status so long as there was some way for them to have an immigration visa available to them. Though that act’s coverage ended April 30, 2001, Ms. Lopez was still eligible to apply for her green card through her daughter’s petition because she had been in the United States before that date. The only thing we needed to do was to prove that through documentation and argumentation. While preparing to file, we discovered that her daughter did not have enough income to qualify as her mother’s sponsor. This problem was solved when they found a family member to act as a co-sponsor. This allowed us to file in July 2018, and the family had to wait until June 2019 to get an interview date: July 30, 2019.
It was at this point we went through our comprehensive interview preparation process with Ms. Lopez, her husband, and her daughter. We don’t want anything to be a surprise for our clients, so we prepare them as best we can for all of the questions that might come up during the interview. We also informed them of what they needed to bring to prove that they were physically present before the 2001 date. Ms. Lopez and her husband were older folk, they only spoke Spanish, and neither of them was very educated. They never really thought this day was coming, so they didn’t keep meticulous records or anything like that. When they went to the interview, they didn’t bring much documentation to back up their claims. Their case officer was unsatisfied with the presented evidence and sent a Request for Evidence (RFE) for more proof of physical presence before May of 2001.
When people hit a legal roadblock, if they lack cultural capital, they often are immediately ready to give up. Ms. Lopez lacked just about all cultural capital. She didn’t speak the dominant language, she didn’t have money, she didn’t have an education, she didn’t have experience dealing with officials of any kind. She and her husband were not used to most technology.
“People like Ms. Lopez are vulnerable in our system. They were older, they didn’t really know how to use technology, email and such, they were ready to file their petition as-is, knowing it would fail, rather than try harder because they were already so down on themselves from the beginning. I liked working through those issues with them, because as we did, I saw Ms. Lopez grow more confident in herself and her case. She started to believe she really could do it.” Margaret Rosales, Paralegal
Ms. Lopez and her husband believed they had provided all the evidence that they could possibly muster, so we brought them in for a meeting to go over every possible facet of their lives that might prove they were physically present in the U.S. in early 2001. We also wanted to explain to them what the consequences of filing a lack-luster case would be. They would lose a bunch of money and time, and it would be better to try their hardest on this case here instead of giving up. We wanted to empower Ms. Lopez and her husband to succeed, so we ended up giving them pretty exacting instructions on finding documentation for their proof.
We showed them how to get employment paperwork for Mr. Lopez from his old job, how to go to the court to get evidence of MoneyGram reports for money being sent back to Mexico, how to get bank account information, school records for their children, and even cable membership information. We showed them how to get it all. None of it alone was iron-clad proof, but we felt that the sheer amount of documentation would show that these people were clearly living their lives here before April 30, 2001. By the time we filed it wasn’t a perfect case, but it was so much better than what we started with.
Ms. Lopez’s case was approved in October 2019. The whole family was beyond grateful that this law firm put a vast amount of effort into their case. Ms. Lopez was now a permanent resident of the United States, and she and her family can rest easy knowing that Ms. Lopez is exactly where she should be. She could enjoy her life more than ever now that she did not have to live with her head down.
*Name has been changed for client privacy.
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