Nobody likes being taken advantages of by others. But unfortunately, when you are not an expert of laws, you might fall in the position of being provided with ineffective assistance of counsel. The story of a Chinese national, Ms. Zhen, makes such an example.
In 2014, Ms. Zhen hired her former immigration attorney, Mr. Mah, for her asylum application and Court proceedings, from which time the disaster started. The application was not read back to Ms. Zhen word by word in Chinese and every piece of information contained in the application was not verified. In 2017, at the asylum interview, Ms. Zhen was challenged by the asylum officer with questions as basic as her address and work history. As you may have noticed, three years had elapsed after her asylum application was filed. If you do not have great long-term memories and if you moved four or five times in the last three years, how could you recall every street number and every starting date of your address and employment? The asylum officer found some inconsistencies and decided not to approve Ms. Zhen’s application.
What more was, Ms. Zhen had to go to the asylum office to change address herself after she moved again, because Mr. Mah refused to do so. Thereafter, both Ms. Zhen and Mr. Mah were informed by mail by the asylum office that her case was referred to the Immigration Court. However, Mr. Mah failed to follow up with the Court for the upcoming hearing. In October, 2018, his failure directly led to a removal order in absentia by an Immigration Judge (IJ) against Ms. Zhen. Not knowing a hearing had been scheduled, Ms. Zhen failed to appear at the Court. We all know that nowadays mails are not always reliable. Ms. Zhen did not receive the hearing notice. Of course, no hearing notice was sent to Mr. Mah, because he had never entered his appearance as Ms. Zhen’s counsel to the Court, although he should have.
Ms. Zhen hired me in November, 2018. I thoroughly analyzed her case history and got to the bottom of every factor. I determined that to file a motion to reopen based on ineffective assistance of counsel (Lozada MTR) was the best option for her. Although a Lozada MTR always demands much more work than other MTRs, I still decided to go down that path for Ms. Zhen’s best interest. Several months later, through thorough prepare, I timely filed the MTR. Then I had to fight against Ms. Zhen’s former counsel, Mr. Mah. In response to Ms. Zhen’s complaint to the relevant disciplinary department, he accused Ms. Zhen of things that were not in the wrong and came up dazzling statements as to how diligently he worked for her. I wrote a strong letter for Ms. Zhen to overcome the obstacles that he set. He was not the only party that opposed the MTR. The DHS (Department of Homeland Security) attorney quickly submitted oppositions to the Court, of which I received a copy. I then promptly responded to the oppositions.
Now the MTR has been granted by the IJ. Victory!
If you, ever encounter similar situations, don’t be afraid of fighting against your former attorney(s). There is nothing wrong for you to demand fairness. Welcome to contact me to schedule a free consultation!