" "

We are happy to welcome home a wonderful father and great husband. Our client had a flat tire on the 10 freeway just outside of Palm Springs last year. A California Highway Patrol officer came by to “help” him. A few questions later he was in the custody of ICE {see Morale of the Story below}. He accepted voluntary departure after having been picked up by ICE and before anyone contacted us (Never, ever accepted voluntary departure until you have talked to a reputable immigration attorney first!!). As a result he was separated from his U.S. Citizen spouse and their children. He was sent to his “home” country– a place he had not seen in 15 years since he was barely a teenager.

Our client’s name is a very common one in his country. This may have explained the complications/delays in his case that continued to crop up. But for every complication our answer was to push and push again. We finally successfully sought an expedited interview and decision on his waiver application at Ciudad Juarez. As is often true, we were continually given incorrect information by the Department of State representatives. At first we were told our that our request to expedite was denied. Then we were informed it was approved. Then we were told his interview would occur in a few days. Then we were told it could be months before he had interview. Then we were told it could be a year before he had his decision. And then – – 24 hours later – – he was approved without ever having his interview.

We believe this success came based on the strength of the application we put together for him. We included affidavits on his good moral character from family, coworkers, neighbors and school officials. We included a psychological report on how this is affecting his spouse and wrote a 15 page brief on why this was causing her extreme hardship. Our total package was over 100 pages.


Our client was asked what country he was from by a California Highway Patrol Officer. He was under no obligation to answer this question. Your nationality or country of origin has nothing to do with whether you are violating or complying with traffic or vehicle rules and regulations. He should have simply refused to answer. Once he did answer, he gave that officer “probable cause” to ask him for his legal papers. When my client could not produce them, the officer called ICE who took him away. ICE then began putting pressure on him to sign for voluntary departure. My client did not know at the time that had he refused to sign the papers, he would never have been deported. Even though he was here without a visa, he originally came through an inspection point and was thus “inspected and admitted” when the CBP agent, waived him and his car through (he was a passenger in the back seat). Based on this, he could have adjusted inside United States. It would have saved him the painful separation from his family. Do not sign anything– except the notice to appear– when you are in custody until you’ve spoken with your lawyer. Do not believe anything your told, do not listen to any threats, and never forget that you are in the United States and you have the right to speak with your attorney.


If you are undocumented in the U.S. you need to prepare yourself and your family in case you are suddenly “snatched.” Who will pick up your kids from school? Do you have some $5,000-10,000 of “emergency immigration” money saved away to hire a professional and/or pay government fees? Are you strong enough to ignore whatever the lies and pressure that you will face while in detention and refuse to sign anything (other than the “notice to appear”) until you have spoken with an attorney? Do you know the name/phone number of the immigration attorney you want to represent you and your family? Be prepared and you may turn a disaster into merely an inconvenience.