Monday, after trial, we won a cancellation of removal hearing for our client, a long term permanent resident. Despite his 15 years as a union painter – his drug addiction drew him into a major drug conspiracy, resulting in a felony conviction for possession of a controlled substance. Now he has a second chance at life.
Thursday, after 32 years of fearing deportation as an undocumented immigrant, our client adjusted her status and became lawful permanent resident. She started crying after the interviewer approved her application, then her son started crying, and when we went outside and told her elderly parents, they started crying. Tears of joy.
On Friday we learned our client was being released after 5 months in ICE custody. After an extremely difficult trial, we convinced a visiting Immigration Judge his infirm parents would suffer: “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” if he was deported. We helped him avoid deportation by winning cancellation of removal – despite his criminal convictions. After having been undocumented for 13 years, we were able to win him status as a lawful permanent resident.
My reward came in seeing my clients’ smile with joy, knowing they now had a chance to live in this country, lawfully, and with peace of mind. The “bow” that tied it all together was the last Judge’s complement, at the conclusion of the hearing: “Congratulations, Mr.Terezakis. It’s nice to see somebody who knows how to try a case!” In the most difficult cases, trial experience can make all the difference.