Today, I received an order from the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) granting a motion to reopen that I filed on behalf of one of my clients. My client had been ordered deported in 2006. He lost his asylum case. He was found to have suffered past persecution, but was denied because the Immigration Judge found that he could internally relocate in his country and be safe.
My client came to me after he had received a notice to surrender to the Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) for his deportation. When he consulted with me, I remembered that a few weeks earlier, the BIA had rendered a precedent decision called Matter of L-S-, 25 I. & N. Dec. 705 (BIA 2012). In Matter of L-S-, the Board held that individuals who suffer past persecution, but are denied asylum, may be considered for humanitarian asylum, if they can show “other serious harm.” When I met with my client for the first time, it occurred to me that he could seek reopening of his case based upon this new decision. Interestingly, my client has consulted with several other immigration attorneys in New York City and none of them had thought to do this. The best idea that one of them could come up with was filing a request for deferred action and this immigration lawyer charged him $200 for a consultation!
I filed the motion to reopen and went with my client to the surrender with ICE. I convinced his deportation officer not to detain him and put him on supervised release pending the outcome of the motion to reopen. Now that the motion to reopen has been granted, my client will be back before the Immigration Judge, and hopefully, will eventually receive humanitarian asylum. His case had been over for almost six years and now he might be able to stay in the United States forever.