Chinese Indonesian Client Released from Jail Despite Final Order of Deportation

A few weeks ago, I received a phone call from a jail in Texas. The call was from a Chinese woman from Indonesia who was a friend of one of my old clients and she told me that she had been arrested by Immigration officers a few days earlier. She told me that she was married to an American man and that they had a 3 year old child together. I asked her about her immigration history, and she told me that another immigration lawyer had filed a motion to reopen her removal proceedings (her immigration court case) that had been denied and told her that there was nothing that he could do to help her get out of jail because she had a final order of deportation. I explained that the Immigration Service might deport her, but that they could release her under an “Order of Supervision” if we could show that her equities in the United States warranted it. Under the law, the Immigration service is required to consider releasing an immigrant with a final order of deportation who has been detained for 90 days if they have not deported the immigrant by that time. The Department of Homeland Security calls this the “90 day file review.” If they decide not to release the immigrant and still have not deported him or her after 180 days, they are required to do a 180 day file review and consider releasing the immigrant at that time. The Immigration Service rarely releases anyone from detetnion prior to the 90 day file review. Knowing this, I still decided to submit as thorough a request for release as possible, and to do so quickly. I left a number of phone messages for the officer regarding the case and told him that I would be mailing a request for release by overnight mail the next day. I obtained numerous documents from my client’s husband to prove that they were living together and that she was caring for their son prior to being arrested, and that he had sufficient financial resources to ensure that she would not become a “public charge” if she were released from detention. I also told the deportation officer that my client’s husband had filed a Form I-130 for her which was still pending and that after it was approved, we would try again to reopen her case by requesting that the lawyers for the Department of Homeland Security join our motion to reopen. The officer called me back a few days later, and luckily, he seemed reasonable and told me that he was considering letting my client go and placing her on an Order of Supervision but that his supervisor had to agree and that he would have an answer the next day. The next day, my client and her husband were thrilled to learn that my request for her release had been approved, as well as a 6 month stay of deportation which I had filed concurrently. If Congress passes an amnesty prior to the expiration of the 6 month stay of deportation, my client may be allowed to apply for some form of permanent status in the U.S.

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