GETTING OUT OF JAIL AFTER NEW YEARS EVE.
Well I just finished the follow up consultation with Hercules after his release from Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention. He was released from Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody a week ago on February 4, 2019. He had been in jail since New Year's Eve 2018.
PEELING AN ONION OR IS HE ELIGIBLE FOR CANCELLATION OF REMOVAL? PART 1Seems like he had to much to drink on New Year*s Eve at his home in Waco. There was a lot of commotion but shortly the Waco PD arrived to assess the situation. He insisted that he go with them to sleep it off and they concurred. The government shutdown had already started.
When he woke the next day, he was sober and he had an Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold. This meant that he was going to have to ask an Immigration Judge for a bond. He did not go home that day. In fact, he did not go home for almost a month.
Sometimes getting someone out of Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody is a little like peeling an onion. Every layer reveals a little more about the core. Immigration Attorneys have to convince the Immigration Judge that there client is not a flight risk and is not a danger to the public.
We also have to identify relief from removal. Is he eligible for Cancellation of Removal which requires:
1. ten years in the USA
2. good moral character for the ten years
3. Extreme and exceptional hardship to the citizen or permanent resident spouse, parent or child.
Turns out he is a real nice guy. He had lived in the United States for over 15 years and had 2 children and another on the way. Plus, his wife had a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) permit. However, as we peeled the onion (and social media) we discovered on social media that he had been arrested for impersonating a peace officer four years earlier (Good Moral Character?) and failure to pay child support. This was not on the Dept. Of Public Safety web site or in the court records from McClennan County. That was hardly going to impress an Immigration Judge.
MANDATORY DETENTION & IMPOSSIBLE TO PAY BONDS (IS HE IMMORAL, FLIGHT RISK, THREAT TO THE PUBLICMany foreign nationals in removal proceedings are subject to Mandatory Detention and can not get out of immigration jail as they fight their case. Still others who are eligible for an immigration bond, particularly those with driving while intoxicated and related offenses (a danger to the public), have bonds that are set so high if at all, that their detention is assured anyway. Definitely much harder to win those cases. Now in this day and time, no Immigration Judge wants to be the Immigration Judge who signs a bond on someone who goes on to commit another crime. Would you? The deportation machine does not work that way.
So the job for my team and me is to drill down deep into the client*s past to show that the client is not a flight risk or a threat to the public. Then there were the unpaid traffic tickets.(flight risk) Finally, there was the arrests for failure to pay child support. (flight risk)
Still, we kept peeling back on the onion. Turns out he had a child from a first relationship. Did you marry? *No.* Can I have the Birth Certificate? *No.* *We are not seeing each other or talking to each other for that matter.* We do you know the woman*s birthday? *No.* Obviously we need proof of the child and of that relationship. Another deep dive into social media and there was the mother of his first child and an article in the Waco Tribune about her attempted murder of my client!!!!!! That part of the onion definitely needed more digging!!!!
RELIEF FROM REMOVAL, PART TWO.Turned out that she had taken on 12 inch Bowie knife and tried to gut my client. Fortunately for him she missed, but not by much. District Court and Texas Dept. Of Public Safety background investigations gave us what we needed; the cause number for the case. I have to say that the whole social media research idea came from a super junior millennial paralegal who I affectionately call *Moonbeam.* She has taught me that people leave all kinds of trails on social media.
THAT ASSAULT MADE HIM ELIGIBLE TO TRY FOR A U NON IMMIGRANT VISA.
The purpose of the U Nonimmigrant Status is to encourage undocumented immigrant victims of certain violent crimes to report crime to law enforcement without fear of removal (deportation) AND to assist law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of crimes. He might have a shot at this ultimate protection from removal if we can get a judge to sign off on his cooperation with law enforcement. But first, I have to get him out of jail.
For the impersonating a police officer we hired a brilliant attorney from Waco, Whitney Fanning. I needed boots on the ground in Waco. Whitney knows know how the system works there; both for Anglos and for people of color. Whitney's office came in particularly handy because the Traffic court clerk would not let my clients* wife pay his traffic tickets for him. They issued a warrant for him. An outstanding warrant is a sure way to not get an immigration bond. Whitney paid the tickets and had the warrant recalled.
MEANWHILE, THE CLOCK KEEPS TICKING.Hercules was still in jail and it was already mid January.
We found and ordered the criminal records, certified. Whitney discovered that the impersonating a peace officer had been no billed by the McClennan County grand jury four years earlier. Perfect. Traffic tickets paid. Extensive documentation for Hercules work history, references other children and current spouses status.
We filed with the court on January 14, 2019 expecting a hearing within a week. No word. A week passes. No word. There is still the government shutdown. The court staff was shorthanded. I finally called and was told that his bond hearing is four days later on the 22nd. We never did receive a notice in the mail.
THE DAY OF THE HEARING.The day of the hearing the first two Bond Redetermination cases were washouts. Both attorneys had not done their due diligence. They did not have the criminal records complete. Did I mention that you only get one bond hearing. If you lose that is it. If an Immigration Judge tells you that she feels the record is incomplete it is best to withdraw the request to fight another day. The attorneys in front of our case both did. By this time my stomach was in knots though I felt strongly that my team had pulled the case together perfectly. I told the Immigration Judge as much. I said that if there ever was a case that called for person to be released on a personal bond it was this one.
Still the Immigration Judge felt that there was a slight flight risk because of the traffic ticket issue and set the bond at $3000. The Immigration Judge did recommend that Hercules pursue the U Non Immigrant Visa. February 4, Hercules* was posted. Cost to the client for 35 days of lost wages tens of thousands of dollars plus legal fees and the immigration bond.
All because he wanted to go with the Waco Police to sleep it off on New Years Eve.