Closure.

My dear wife and I went to court for our very last removal hearing. This one was gonna be the one BIG one. Left with no other choice, we’d planned to throw our hands up in surrender and request for voluntary departure. If granted, we’d then be given just 90-120 days to pack all our things and beat it.

5 minutes after walking into immigration court, our judge administratively closed our case and sent us on our merry way. Here is how it happened:

About 4 weeks prior, I came home to find my wife in our empty apartment looking like she’d been hit by a ton of bricks. Speechless, she pointed her finger to a white and blue looking object lying beside her. It was a pregnancy test. On it were the words “pregnant.”

After reeling from the realization that, unbeknownst to us, we had made a child, I emailed our immigration lawyer, and broke the news to him. I asked him if there was a chance that the Immigration and Customs Enforcers (ICE) would administratively close our case on account of my wife being with child.

Our tell-it-like-it-is lawyer emailed us back the same day and told us that there was a slight chance the government would consider administratively closing our deportation case. Since our final court date was coming up really soon, he urged us to move rapidly and collect statements of ‘good moral character’ from friends, family and pastors. He also asked for college transcripts, a document with proof that my wife was pregnant, copies of our passports, among other things.

After we gathered all the documents, our lawyer used them to create what he called a “brief.” This brief is very different from the one men wear as an undergarment. It’s actually a file filled with the documents we’d submitted, as well as a written argument by our lawyer persuading ICE to administratively close our case.

On the day of our last court hearing, my wife and I walked into court solemnly, but with our heads held high.  Our lawyer, who’d probably camped outside courthouse the night before, met us and whispered in my ear, “We got it!”

It’s crazy to think that even before the judge walked into court, we’d gotten the inside scoop of how our case would go. Our case would be closed and the judge, who was walking into court, didn’t even know that he’d close our case. The battle had been won even before it began.

My wife and I walked out of the immigration courthouse that day relieved and overwhelmed with emotion. For the past year, we’d been on a journey filled with fear, desperation and loss. This deportation journey had finally come to a sweet end. We knew that our future would still have its challenges, but thankfully, we’d face those challenges on American soil.

I think back to that court-day and I can’t help but realize that though our story had a happy ending, many of the people I saw in the immigration court room were probably ordered deported and, consequently, torn apart from their children, families and community. It’s for them that my heart aches and bleeds. It’s for them that I still fight for immigration reform, and I’m more than persuaded that it’s gonna happen!

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14 thoughts on “Closure.

      • Just a couple of questions: Can you still work when they give you administrative closure? And, my lawyer also said to get letters from family, friends, etc but all I have is about 3 relatives who can write me a letter, but no friends (I have avoided getting close to anyone because of the pressure to lie about my immigration status so it was just easier not to get close than have to lie). Will that be a problem? You can count employers and colleagues out.

      • Hi Vashti, I am really sorry for the late reply. Life has been really crazy. I cannot work though I have been given administrative closure. To work, my lawyer has to petition the government to allow me to work. This will cost my wife and I more than $2,000. How can I come up with that kind of money if i’m not working? As far as writing letters you can have a respected member of your community, a religious leader write letters for you.

  1. I know I am rather late to this, but I am glad I read this today. You and your wife came across my mind today. I wondered what had happened since the previous year when we heard your testimony in our North Texas Dream Team general body meeting. I’m glad that the case was closed and I wish you and your family many blessings. The fight’s not over yet!

  2. I am a software developer who is going through the same process and on the 16th of May 2014, I am going to court to face the judge for the last hearing – I am really terrified I might have no chance in this country. I currently work after I was able to get a work permit (lasts 1 year only). My lawyer told me that if nothing has changed, I might be forced to take a voluntary departure and then try to come back here.

    That means I will leave my wife and step-son here (both of whom I have been finally supporting) – both are american too.

    I think of it and just wish the immigration system was fixed but Congress is doing nothing about it.

    This year alone, I will be paying more than 10,000 dollars in taxes – and am also a responsible citizen (I have been that since my case was opened 4 years ago).

    I feel like I have reached the end of the rope with this case and if the judge does not show any mercy, I can see myself being forced to go back home.

    I have made a ton of friends here who know about my case and have offered to help in any way they can.

    My question is this: Should I ask them to write me letters and then give the letters to the judge through my lawyer?

    Please let me know what you think and thank for this personal story that you shared. It is good to know there are people out there going through the same things as I am. I would really like to talk to you via email as well.

    • I am really sorry about whats happening to you and your family. I hope that something will happen so that you will be able to stay in the states and rebuild your life with your wife and son.

      I asked my lawyer the same question and he told me that writing to the judge is not worth it. The judge does not really wield much power. His job is basically to see to it that we immigrants are deported. It’s in very rare cases that he can use his little power to halt deportation. Judges, especailly now are being pressured and incentivized to deport as many people as they can. I think that they benifit financially and politically by doing so.

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