BIA Remands Case to Decide if Immigrant Respondent Abandoned LPR Status

952313_gavel.jpgThe Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) is the administrative body that reviews decisions handed down by immigration judges. Recently, the BIA heard a case wherein the immigration judge ruled that the foreign national had abandoned his permanent resident status by spending large amounts of time outside of the United States. After reviewing the facts of the case, the BIA returned the case back to the judge because the foreign national's attorney had not adequately advised and defended him during the course of his representation.

In this case, the foreign national received lawful permanent resident status in 2004. Between 2004 and 2010, the foreign national spent a considerable amount of time in his native country China (and only a small number of days in the United States) and got married, had children, and started his own business in China. Because of these facts, when the foreign national tried to re-enter the U.S. with his green card, he was not admitted as a permanent resident and was instead placed in removal proceedings in front of the immigration judge.

Usually, permanent residents who are coming back to the U.S. after a trip abroad are considered "returning residents" for immigration purposes. To qualify as a returning resident, the foreign national's must trip must have been relatively short, or the foreign national must possess significant ties to the United States such as U.S. family members, employment, property ownership, bank and credit accounts, etc. If border officers do not feel that a foreign national possesses adequate ties, they will place the individual in removal proceedings.

In this case, the foreign national submitted to the judge the following evidence to prove that he had maintained adequate ties with the U.S., notwithstanding his many absences from the country: proof of the bank accounts he held in the country, affidavits from his U.S. citizenship family, and proof that he owned a vehicle and paid car taxes in the U.S. as well. Additionally, he also submitted proof of his father's serious illness and death (which he reported was the reason for his long stay in China) as well as proof of his own illness which, according to him, delayed his return.

The foreign national claimed that he had already provided this evidence to his attorney, but that his attorney had failed to provide the evidence to the immigration authorities, and had also failed to inform the foreign national about the consequences of his lengthy departure, the immigration proceedings, and other critical pieces of information regarding his immigration status.

After reviewing these facts, the BIA returned the case to the immigration judge in order for the judge to decide if the foreign national had fallen victim to ineffective assistance of counsel, and if so, whether the counsel's mistakes had sufficiently prejudiced the foreign national's case as to require the decision to be overturned.

Immigration proceedings are very, very serious and may result in long-lasting immigration consequences. Foreign nationals who are put into deportation proceedings are highly advised to speak with a skilled immigration attorney who can advise the client on his/her rights and options. Contact our office today at 650-293-0270 to speak to a member of our legal team about your case.

Additional Blog Posts

Judiciary Committee Passes The Legal Workforce Act, Silicon Valley Immigration Lawyer Blog, July 15, 2013
Changing Minds About Immigration: UFW's "Take Our Jobs" Campaign, Silicon Valley Immigration Lawyer Blog, July 21, 2010

Immigration News / by Michelle Gee