Success Stories


Rescuing a victim of gang violence
The Client is a sweet, soft-spoken young woman from Guatemala. In Guatemala she was the victim of severe sexual harassment and stalking by gang members who wanted her to be their “girlfriend.” In our fight for her asylum application, we broke new ground in immigration law on behalf of female victims of gang violence. Today, the Client is a lawful permanent resident of the United States. She’s on her way to citizenship, and is reunited with the young daughter she left behind in Guatemala.
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Reversing a foolish guilty plea
The Client, a long-time permanent resident who came to the United States from Central America as a child, was detained by ICE and placed in removal proceedings after her criminal defense attorney had advised her to plead guilty to first-degree arson. The young woman had been sentenced initially in state court to 30 years in prison, later reduced to 15 years. Jay Marks filed a petition for post-conviction relief with the court, persuaded the judge to vacate the conviction, and negotiated with the prosecutors to re-plead to offenses that would not result in her deportation. The judge was pleased that substantial justice had been done, given the poor performance of the Client’s previous attorney and the evidence of the Client’s rehabilitation. Today, the Client lives with her husband and child, is employed, and will be applying for naturalization.
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Asylum for a threatened Catholic
The Client, a Catholic from predominately Muslim Mali, came to the United States in 2001 on a tourist visa and overstayed to support his family back home. He eventually married, but the marriage did not work out. Since his marriage had disintegrated, his wife’s Petition for Alien Relative was not approved, and the Client was placed in removal proceedings. Jay Marks filed for asylum based on the persecution of Christians by extremists in Mali. The court agreed and the Client is now living safely as an asylee in the United States without fear of forced return to his native country.
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Keeping a skilled scientist at work
The Client, a Ph.D. in engineering from Turkey, was working for a U.S. government contractor on projects of vital importance to America’s energy independence from fossil fuels. Her employer wanted to move her from temporary worker status to lawful permanent resident. Jay Marks filed for a rarely granted national interest waiver to speed her case through the immigration system. Although the government initially resisted, the Client’s national interest waiver was approved. Today, this scientist continues to contribute to America’s energy security, and is on her way to naturalization.
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Everyone deserves a second chance
The Client, a long-time permanent resident from India, had a formidably long list of criminal convictions that included two aggravated felonies in a state where rehearings after conviction are difficult to obtain. His prior immigration attorney had entered a plea that would have led to his deportation—and had waived any right to appeal—without ever visiting the Client before the day of the trial. After long meetings with the Client, his wife, his children, and his parents, all of whom are U.S. citizens, we determined that the Client had a valid claim under the Convention Against Torture based on his religion. We moved to reopen the case, applied for protection under the Convention, and won. The Client now has a new opportunity for life in the United States, a life he has dedicated to family, church, and career.
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Victory for an illegal second child
The Client is a woman from China who had two children in violation of China’s one-child policy. She had fallen prey to an unscrupulous form-filler who promised her a “green card.” Without her knowledge, the form-filler had signed the Client’s name to an asylum application that had no connected to the facts of the Client’s case; and had never informed the Client that the asylum application had been sent. The Client was placed in removal proceedings and had retained a lawyer. Deeply worried by the seriousness of her legal problem, however, she asked Jay Marks to take over the case. Marks immediately retained the services of a distinguished academic expert on China’s one-child policy, worked for months on the Client’s detailed declaration, overcame the active efforts of the Client’s own husband to undermine the Client’s case, and won asylum. Today, the Client lives with her two daughters, owns her own business, and is now a permanent resident.
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Reducing an unfair drug charge
The Client, a permanent resident from Nicaragua, was convicted in a state court for possession with intent to distribute marijuana years before the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Moncrieffe v. Holder that giving away small amounts of marijuana is not an aggravated felony. When the Client was detained by ICE and faced deportation as an aggravated felon, Jay Marks argued that the state statute under which the Client had been convicted included “gifting” and that the amount of marijuana involved clearly demonstrated an intent to share with friends, not to distribute for profit. The immigration court agreed. The Client was released and his lawful permanent residency was restored.
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Proving an immigrant was legally admitted
The Client is a Palestinian who fled the West Bank during the intifada to avoid violence against him by Hamas. He was helped in his escape by an Israeli who bought him a ticket to go to Canada. Once outside the airport in Canada with no family or friends or any ability to communicate in English, the Client began to weep. Eventually an Arabic speaker was found and the Client was able to communicate that he had a brother in Baltimore, Maryland. A cab driver took the Client to the border at Buffalo, and the Client showed his passport. After a few minutes, the U.S. border officer waved the cab through. Now married for ten years to a U.S. citizen, the Client was placed in removal proceedings because the government did not believe he had been officially admitted to the United States. After years of litigation, legal briefs, and detailed testimony, the immigration court agreed that the Client had been admitted and that no fraud had been committed. Today, the Client is living with his wife and stepchildren, and working to support his family in the United States and in Palestine.
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