I pride myself on telling my clients the pluses and minuses of any case we are addressing together, and I never take money unless it is earned, and the client understands the chance of success. Still – there are those who criticize me if a case ends without the verdict they want.
Six months ago an alien contacted me to file a Motion to Reopen his deportation case. I told him the various ways we could proceed, including Joint Motions to Reopen, Motion to Reopen to permit Adjustment, and a simple Motion to Reopen alleging that he had not notice of his hearing many, many years ago.
More recently the family came to see me. The alien was now in ICE custody and was looking at being deported immediately. They wanted a Motion to Reopen filed immediately, because they knew that when his was filed, the alien would remain here until a decision was made on his Motion.
The family had little records of their previous immigration process, and I had to do what I thought was best, file a Motion to Reopen alleging defective notice of the hearing. That way, if the government did not have proof that my client should have known of his court date, the Immigration Judge should reopen the case.
I gave thought to preparing a Motion to Reopen alleging ineffective assistance of counsel, and I thought about filing an I-130 and a I-485 prior to filing the Motion to Reopen, but my client faced deportation at any moment, and they day I hand delivered the motion to the Court in Orlando, my client was on the phone to my office, crying that ICE was making him pack up, because he was going — where, we did not know.
I filed the Motion, and the Immigration Judge correctly noted that in his file was a certified mail receipt, showing that the hearing notice went to my client, at his address, where it was signed for by an adult living in the house. Given the fact that there is no doubt under the law that my client received adequate notice, the motion was denied.
My now former client blames me for the fact that the Motion to Reopen failed. Never mind that he knew he was deported more than 10 years ago. Never mind that the reason he is not legal here is entirely his fault. Never mind that I did the best that could be done, with the situation I was given. Never mind that a Motion to Reopen filed based on ineffective assistance of counsel, or coupled with a request to adjust status would have failed as well, because of the fact that it was clear that he knew of his hearing and chose not to go — somehow it is my fault.
It is a crazy world.