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Juan Paolo Pasia Sarmiento

Juan Sarmiento’s Legal Cases

14 total


  • Asylum Approval for a Chinese National Based on Religious Persecution

    Practice Area:
    Immigration
    Date:
    Apr 28, 2010
    Outcome:
    Asylum Approved
    Description:
    CASE: Asylum. NATIONALITY: China. RESIDENCE: Virginia. Our client is a Chinese national on an F-1 visa. He now resides in Virginia. He became a Christian a few years ago while away from China. As he moved to the States, his faith strengthened when his daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. He had turned to God for help, for his daughter to survive. With his prayers and the support of the Christian community, his daughter has done well with her treatment. Our client and his wife would spend days in the hospital with their baby daughter. A few months ago he had to go back to China to visit his ailing mother-in-law. His wife could not go back as she was pregnant. Our client brought some bibles with him and was arrested at the airport in Beijing. He then was caught a few days later while in prayer service, was detained, and was persecuted. Upon his return to the U.S., he contemplated on filing for asylum. His daughter is sick, and he had a new child coming up. Our office was retained to file an asylum application for him. We made sure his application was detailed and that he provided all dates, places, and names specifically. We made sure all questions in the asylum application were properly answered, and that possible questions of the officer were anticipated and answered in the application. We also made sure he properly corroborated his claim with evidence from Church, from China, and everything he had in the U.S. to help his case. After filing the case, he was scheduled for his asylum interview in Arlington Virginia, about a month from filing the application. Prior to his interview, we prepared him for several hours, conducting mock interviews to make sure he is ready. We accompanied our client to the Arlington Asylum Office and the interview lasted for more than an hour. Two weeks later, our client obtained his asylum approval. He is now in valid status, can stay in the United States, and has authorization to work.
  • Sri Lankan Client Released on Bond in York, Pennsylvania Despite No Immediate Relief and No Family Ties in the U.S.

    Practice Area:
    Immigration
    Date:
    Apr 29, 2010
    Outcome:
    Bond Granted and Client Out of Jail
    Description:
    CASE: Bond Hearing With Immigration Judge. Detained Case. NATIONALITY: Sri Lanka WHERE DETAINED: York, Pennsylvania Our client is a Sri Lankan national who came to the U.S. on a B-2 visa a few years ago and overstayed. About 2 weeks ago, he was caught by immigration officers and was detained in York, Pennsylvania. A bond hearing was set for him with the Immigration Judge. A week before his bond hearing, our office was retained. He was in a tough position because he did not have any relief from removal as of that point. He was not married, had no fear of returning to Sri Lanka good enough for asylum (plus the fact that he’s been in the U.S. for over a year). He mentioned he had a girlfriend who was a U.S. Citizen and they planned to get married. However, he’s in jail. Another factor the Immigration Courts look to is the presence of immediate family members in the United States. He did not have any. We explained to him the factors a Judge looks at in bond hearings – family members, availability of relief especially. We explained it is going to be tough but we’ll do our best. We gathered as much evidence of his relationship with his girlfriend. One of his friends also submitted an affidavit of support to show his ability to pay a bond if one is issued. Despite the bond hearing date coming up and the fact that our office was only retained about 6 days before the bond hearing, we were able to submit all supporting documents to the Court a day before the bond hearing. At the bond hearing, the Judge asked whether there was any relief as of this point. There was none but with the supporting documents we had, we argued that even if our client did not have relief, that upon release he will get married to his U.S. Citizen girlfriend. We argued that the relationship is bona fide based on the submitted supporting documents, a detailed letter and some pictures of the couple included. We argued that immediately after the marriage, his girlfriend would file an immigrant petition for him which upon approval would enable our client to file for adjustment of status (green card). The Judge granted a release on bond and adjourned the hearing. The Judge also noted that after he gets released and goes back home to Chicago, we may file a Motion to Change Venue which he would grant. Our client is now out of jail and back with his girlfriend in Chicago.
  • Approved Change of Status from J-1 to B-2 for Filipino Client

    Practice Area:
    Immigration
    Date:
    May 05, 2010
    Outcome:
    J-1 to B-2 Approved
    Description:
    CASE: Change of Status from J-1 to B-2 Visitor NATIONALITY: Filipino (Philippines) LOCATION: Ohio Our client is a Filipino national who came to the U.S. on a J-1 Visa. She consulted with our firm a few weeks before the expiration of her J-1 status. She wanted to continue to stay in the United States for a few more months to visit her relatives and see what her options were. We explained to her that CIS has been more stringent on Visitor status applications. We also explained that a Change of Status from a J-1 is even harder than an Visitor extension application. Upon retention, we asked her to prepare a statement on her plans after the expiration of her J-1 program. We asked her to provide as much detail as possible as we reviewed her drafts several times. We made sure all addresses, contact information, and dates on her statements were complete and accurate. We made sure all her plans were supported by corroborating evidence as exhibits to the application to avoid a possible Request for Evidence by the CIS. Letters from family and friends all over the country were obtained, as well as financial and employment documents from the Philippines. We filed the Application and in a few weeks, her change of status to B-2 visitor was approved with no Requests for Evidence.
  • Adjustment of Status and Termination of Removal Proceedings for a Spanish Client

    Practice Area:
    Immigration
    Date:
    May 11, 2010
    Outcome:
    Removal Proceedings Terminated, Green Card Granted
    Description:
    CASE: Termination of Removal Proceedings for Adjustment of Status With CIS NATIONALITY: Spanish LOCATION: San Diego, California Our client is a Spanish national who came to the U.S. on an R-1 Visa. She resides in San Diego, California. Prior to retaining our firm, she tried to apply for a change of non-immigrant status, got denied, was placed in removal proceedings, married a U.S. Citizen, and filed an I-130 petition and an I-485 green card application simultaneously. She already went to the San Diego Immigration Court several times while the petition was pending. She did not have an attorney and did not know procedurally what to do. Eventually the I-130 marriage petition was approved, however, at the green card interview, the officer told her that they did not have jurisdiction over her case. The green card application was administratively closed. She consulted with our firm on what to do next as she was confused. She had another hearing coming up with the San Diego Immigration Court. We explained that we can terminate removal proceedings and reopen her green card application. Our office was retained and within a few days, we filed a Motion to Terminate with the Immigration Court. The Motion was granted within two weeks. We then wrote a letter to the Chula Vista, CA CIS to reopen our client’s adjustment of status application. Within a few weeks, another green card interview was scheduled for our client. She went to the interview, passed it, and eventually obtained her permanent resident card.
  • J-2 Waiver of Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement, Post-Divorce Interested Government Agency for a Filipino Client

    Practice Area:
    Immigration
    Date:
    Jun 02, 2010
    Outcome:
    J Waiver Approved
    Description:
    CASE: J-2 Waiver of Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement Post-Divorce NATIONALITY: Filipino LOCATION: New Jersey Our client is a Filipino national who came to the U.S. on an J-2 Visa. He came with his wife who was on a J-1 Visa. Both were subject to the two-year foreign residency requirement, meaning you would have to go back to your home country for two-years before you can apply for permanent residency and some non-immigrant visas. He got divorced from his wife and later on thought of marrying his U.S. Citizen girlfriend. He consulted with our firm on whether he can apply for a green card upon marriage. We told him he could not because he is still subject to the two-year foreign residency requirement. We first had to do a waiver of this requirement. Our firm was retained to do this J-2 waiver on April 7, 2010. On April 9, 2010 the J-2 Waiver was filed to the Department of State. We also sent a request to the DOS to be an interested government agency and recommend this waiver based on the fact that our client is divorced from the J-1 visa holder. On April 28, 2010 the DOS recommended to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) that our client be granted a waiver. On May 28, 2010, the USCIS approved the waiver of the 2-year foreign residency requirement. Our client can now get married and apply for his green card without having to go back to the Philippines and be separated from his fiancé for two years.
  • Adjustment of Status / Green Card Approval for a Filipino Client in Ohio

    Practice Area:
    Immigration
    Date:
    Jun 15, 2010
    Outcome:
    Green Card Approved
    Description:
    CASE: Adjustment of Status Based on Marriage NATIONALITY: Filipino LOCATION: Ohio Our client is a Filipino national who came to the U.S. on an tourist visa back in 2002 and overstayed. On August 2003 he married a permanent resident. A petition was filed for her however since he was not a citizen yet, she could not apply for her green card. In the meantime to support herself she did various work, from hair and beauty to cleaning. Eventually her husband became a U.S. Citizen and she retained our office for her adjustment of status. One of her issues was that she was caught speeding and beating the red light on separate occasions, which led to Driving Without a License arrests and charges. She did not have the records nor any recollection of the disposition on those cases, nor did she know how many she had. An immigration provision may make her ineligible for a green card with 3 Driving Without a License convictions. However, “Traffic Violations” do not make a green card applicant inadmissible. So our office obtained the court documents for our client, making phone calls and going all the municipal courts that adjudicated her case. Upon reviewing the documents, we deemed these were indeed traffic violations that should not prevent her from obtaining a green card. She also only had one conviction for the no license charge as the others were dismissed. The green card application was filed in February 18, 2010. To avoid delays and potential Requests for Evidence, we included the traffic records with a notation that they were only traffic records which should not be an issue and that the others were dismissed. The case indeed did not have any delays nor Requests for Evidence, and our client was scheduled for her interview in May 27, 2010. Prior to the interview, despite the marriage petition already approved, our office prepared both the client and her US Citizen husband in case both are interviewed. Note that the I-485 interview notice did not stipulate that the husband would also be interviewed. At the interview in Cleveland, the officer actually interviewed both the husband and the wife, and asked them questions on separate occasions regarding the validity of the marriage. It was a good thing they were both prepared. The interview thus went smoothly. On June 7, 2010, 10 days after the interview, and 8 years after she first arrived in the United States, our client finally received her green card.
  • H-1B 3-Year Extension for a Hotel Petitioner and Pakistani General Manager Beneficiary in Ohio

    Practice Area:
    Immigration
    Date:
    Jun 25, 2010
    Outcome:
    H-1B Approved
    Description:
    CASE: H-1B Extension With Potential Specialty Occupation Issues TYPE OF PETITIONER: Hotel POSITION: Hotel General Manager LOCATION: Ohio Our client is a Pakistani national who has been on H-1B status for over 8 years. His H-1B had been extended for one year at a time for the past two years. Within the past year, an I-140 Petition was approved with him as the beneficiary. He consulted with our office regarding filing an extension. Our office reviewed his documents and with the approved I-140, informed him that the H-1B extension would be a 3-year extension. Another issue is his position – that of a hotel general manager. For this year, the position is deemed under ONET classifications as a Job Zone 3 position which does not require a bachelor’s degree. Unless we can persuade the USCIS that a hotel general manager for the Petitioner is a “specialty occupation” the H-1B may be denied. Upon discussing the case with the Petitioner regarding the specific description of the position, we prepared a detailed employment letter together with a more extensive cover letter to argue upfront that the hotel general manager in this instance is a specialty occupation, that the position is so complex that it requires someone possessing at least a Bachelors Degree. The I-140 approval was also attached and a portion of the cover letter cited the AC-21 regulation allowing for a 3-year extension. On April 15, 2010, the H-1B extension was filed. 3 weeks later, our client informed us that new ownership has taken over the petitioner. They were wondering if the filing fees submitted were useless as they assumed an amendment should now be filed. Our office assured them that no amendment is needed and sent a letter together with a citation of INA § 214(c)(10) which specifically addressed this issue. On June 16, 2010, with no Requests for Evidence by the CIS addressing the issue of whether the position was a specialty occupation, our client’s 3-year H-1B extension was approved.
  • I-751 Late Filing With Good Cause for Failure to File; 10-Year Green Card Approved for a Filipino Client in Boston

    Practice Area:
    Immigration
    Date:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Outcome:
    I-751 Approved
    Description:
    CASE: I-751 Late Filing For Good Cause Approval ISSUES: Late Filing; Establishing Good Cause for Failure to File LOCATION: Boston, Massachusetts Our client is a Filipino national living in Boston who was on a 2-year conditional green card. She got her green card based on a bona fide marriage with her U.S. Citizen husband. She and her husband jointly filed an I-751 to remove conditions on a green card prior to its expiration in July 2009. This was in order to get her 10-year green card. However, as they were not represented by counsel, she missed the requirement of having to provide the biometrics fee for her daughter, who was also a conditional resident as a derivative. In early August 2009, after the expiration date of the 2-year conditional green card, the application was returned since they missed the biometrics fee. Since the letter appeared to only request for the fee, they responded and re-filed the application with the addition of the requested biometrics fee without any explanation for the “late filing”. As mentioned, the conditional residence status expired in late July. The checks were cashed and they were eventually issued with a receipt notice and fingerprint appointment. Everything it seemed went well as they received letters from the Immigration Service stating that their status was extended for a year while the I-751 was pending. However, in January 2010, the I-751 was denied due to “late filing”. Our office was consulted after this and we suggested a re-file of the I-751 with a letter and supporting documents arguing that there was good cause for failure to file. We argued that the August 2010 letter appeared to be a Request for Evidence and that it is reasonable for a couple with no legal representation to think there was no need to provide an argument for “late filing” when they re-filed the I-751. We also attached proof of bona fide marriage and cited the specific law which allows for this late filing. On June 27, 2010, the I-751 was finally approved and our client’s 10-year green card was issued.
  • H-1B Approval in Pennsylvania for Petitioner Hospital and Beneficiary Filipino Doctor

    Practice Area:
    Immigration
    Date:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Outcome:
    H-1B Approved
    Description:
    CASE: H-1B PETITIONER: Hospital BENEFICIARY: Physician / General Surgeon, Filipino LOCATION: Pennsylvania H-1B filed on behalf of a hospital in Pennsylvania for a Filipino physician / general surgeon on May 5, 2010. No Requests for Evidence with the filing and the Petitioner did not opt for premium processing. The case was approved on July 12, 2010. The H-1B is good from October 1, 2010 to September 30, 2013.
  • Naturalization Approval for a Former Slovakian National in Ohio; Three Year Application, DUI Within Past Three Years Issue

    Practice Area:
    Immigration
    Date:
    Aug 16, 2010
    Outcome:
    Naturalization Approved
    Description:
    CASE: N-400 APPLICANT: Slovakian LOCATION: Ohio ISSUES: Permanent Residency Based on Marriage; DUI within the past year N-400 on behalf of Slovakian filed about three years after he obtained his permanent residency based on marriage. Good marriage, and major issue seem to be the DUI within the past year, which may affect the good moral character requirement which is essential in naturalization applications. The application was filed on April 19, 2010 with evidence of bona fide marriage. As to the criminal record, we argued that despite the DUI, our client does not have any other character issues, and is thus of good moral character for the past three years and is eligible for citizenship. The applicant was prepared by our office prior to the interview in Cleveland, and he was accompanied on July 9, 2010 at the Cleveland CIS office. Certified copies of the criminal record was also submitted. On August 5, 2010 his N-400 was approved. His oath taking is scheduled for August 20, 2010 in which he will be a U.S. Citizen.