This sponsored column is by James Montana, Esq., Doran Shemin, Esq. and Laura Lorenzo, Esq., practicing attorneys at Steelyard LLC, an immigration-focused law firm located in Arlington, Virginia. The legal information given here is general in nature. If you want legal advice, contact James for an appointment.
In this two-part series, we’re going to show you an asylum case from two perspectives: that of the client and that of her lawyer. Today, we’ll show you our point of view — how an asylum applicant walks in the door, how we develop the case and how we present it to the government. We’ve altered a few elements to protect the identity of our client (e.g., the country of origin), but we’ll certainly give you the essence of the case.
Mr. J.’s case began — as most of our cases do — with a phone call, a prior relationship and a referral. Our referral source told us that he had met Mr. J — a foreign official — and that Mr. J had been cut off by his home government, and Mr. J had a passel of children, and was there something we could do? Our answer to that question is always the same: We don’t know whether the law offers a solution, but it might, and we’d be happy to meet Mr. J for a consultation.
Mr. J came to our office with a rather unusual story. He had risen through the ranks of the security services in his home country of Azerbaijan, mostly engaged in counterterrorism and anti-corruption efforts. The United States, as part of its cooperative relationship with Azerbaijan, supports both counterterrorism and anti-corruption programs here, and so Mr. J had been selected from amongst his peers to attend advanced training in the United States. Over the course of a long career, Mr. J rose to become an important security official, working closely with the president of Azerbaijan.
Mr. J returned to the United States once more, sponsored by Azerbaijan to complete graduate-level coursework. While Mr. J was studying (and excelling in his studies), the president of Azerbaijan fell from power. The new administration promptly locked up the former president — and started locking up the former president’s allies, associates and officials. (Fans of “lock her up!” and “lock him up!” alike should take note: It’s never just “lock him up” — it takes one microsecond to become “lock them up.”)
Mr. J. provided us with a sheaf of documents concerning his prior service, his studies in the United States, his relationship with the former government and the new government’s ham-fisted attempts to recall him. Laura Maria Lorenzo spent five weeks preparing a statement with Mr. J — and working to connect him with institutions that can provide medical services and basic support for his large family while he puts a new life together.
We’re now at the stage where we feel prepared to submit Mr. J’s application. We’ve warned him that it may be many years before he sees an asylum officer. We’ve come to terms with the fact that his career as a high official is over — he’ll be working as a laborer to provide for his family for the foreseeable future.
If we’re lucky, we’ll have Mr. J before the asylum office in 2024, and we’ll win. If we’re unlucky, Mr. J’s asylum case will be sent to the immigration courts to be heard at some distant date. (A trial date in 2028 would not surprise us.) Either way, he can rely on us to advocate for the right result.
As always, we would love to hear your thoughts and we will do our best to respond.
In loving memory of Joseph Robert Kapacziewski, who passed away in 2023 at the age of 41.
In loving memory of James Stuart Edmonds, who passed away in 2023 at the age of 84.
A man was shot in front of a lounge on Columbia Pike early this morning, continuing a string of violent incidents.
Good Friday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 17124 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today —…
YULA’s ultimate frisbee spring season is now open for registration. We offer programs for middle and high schoolers – open to all players, whether they are new or have previous experience.Middle SchoolIn the Middle School league, mixed-gender teams practice once during the week and have games on Sunday afternoons. Spring league is a fun, safe, and positive environment. The season begins mid-March and wraps up with a tournament in early June. There are several options for practice days, so we can often work around schedule conflicts with other sports & activities.High SchoolThe High School program is organized by school of attendance and teams are classified by gender. New players will learn the basics in a supportive, welcoming environment. Experienced players will continue to develop their skills, and enjoy competition with other high school programs. The season concludes with a state level championship tournament in late May.All players are guided by experienced coaches who emphasize sportsmanship and good spirit. Ultimate is a fun sport with great camaraderie!YULA does not want finances to limit anyone from participating. Our middle school program offers a “Pay What You Can” cost structure and our our high school program is offering a $50 discount to new players.Visit our website to register and learn more. Sign up with a friend, but don’t delay, the season starts in March!http://www.yula-ulti.org
The Arlington-Aachen High School exchange is returning this summer and currently accepting applicants.
The sister-city partnership started in 1993 by the Arlington Sister Cities Association, which seeks to promote Arlington’s international profile through a variety of exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts. The exchange, scheduled June 17th to July 4th, includes a two-week homestay in Aachen plus three days in Berlin. Knowledge of the German language is not required for the trip.
Former participants have this to say:
_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._
Valentine gifts for someone special or for yourself are here at George Mason University from noon -4pm on February 14, 2023. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Kingsbury Chocolates, find a handmade bag from Karina Gaull, pick up treats from Village