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Citizen for a Long Time Coming

March 16, 2016|Contributed by: Jeff D. Joseph, Esq.

After 16 years representing our client, she will be sworn in as a citizen on April 8th.

Our client’s husband received his permanent residence through his employer and our client filed as a derivative.

However, our client suffers from severe Bipolar Affective Disorder, anorexia and bulimia.  These diseases were misdiagnosed as depression until April of 2001 when our client was properly diagnosed.  She has spent the past 15 years in stable condition.

However, prior to being properly diagnosed and treated, she was given medicine to treat depression.  When she was in a manic state, that medication made her even more manic.  When this would happen she lost all sense of reason.  As a result of her medical condition, she committed four minor municipal shoplifting violations.  Not only were these crimes the result of being misdiagnosed as depressed and given antidepressants which would make her manic, they were also related to her eating disorder.  She was caught stealing things like laxatives, watermelon and power bars.

She ultimately hired us to represent her before USCIS on her 212(h) waiver.  The waiver was denied at interview and then we renewed it before the immigration judge.  It was not an easy waiver to obtain because she and her husband do very well economically, own their house outright, and have significant retirement savings.  The government fought us very hard on whether it would truly be a hardship if she had to return to her home country.  However, at the end of the day, we won the 212(h) waiver.  After a 6 year battle before USCIS and the immigration court, she was granted adjustment of status with a 212(h) waiver in 2006.  10 years later, she decided to apply for citizenship.

We had an interview on her citizenship and she was very candid in telling her story and demonstrating that once she was properly medicated her criminal history went away.  Her file was very thick, so it took a long time for a decision, but she received her oath notice and is happy to become a U.S. citizen.