As a citizen of Kazakhstan, for seven years they have not been able to receive the status of political refugees in the USA
They do not want to advertise their story, and therefore I changed their names. Svetlana and Oleg are husband and wife, their son is growing up, they work in government jobs and have been waiting for documents for many years. In late August, they moved from New York to a small town in New Jersey to begin the fight for legal status in the country anew. According to immigration lawyers, they have very little chance of success.
In the US, Svetlana and Oleg arrived in June 2011 of the year under the “Work and travel” program.
“We didn’t know much about America, but missionaries from the United States taught English in our church. And they talked about their country in such an interesting and exciting way that we were on fire to go there to see, - says Svetlana. - My mother and Oleg's parents live in Kazakhstan. And we applied for participation in “Work and travel” from this country. In 2011, we flew to New York. Oleg and I have been together since 2007, so we did everything together.
Today, spouses do not want to go into the details of their business, because they are afraid of making enemies for themselves or their parents who remain in Kazakhstan.
- I can describe the situation in general terms, so as not to say too much, - says Svetlana. - It seems to us that the current situation in Kazakhstan is rather deplorable. The generation of our parents is still tolerant, since they grew up under the Soviet regime, but already our generation - thirty years old and younger - is constantly faced with problems of a national and religious nature. The way back was ordered for us.
On the advice of our acquaintances, we almost immediately turned to a certain company, I don’t want to name it because I don’t want to advertise, especially since it’s not worth it ... The “specialists” of this company, whose main activity is to provide assistance to immigrants, turned out to be unfit for professional use. They sent us to our lawyer today.
- Svetlana, how did it happen that the process has dragged on for more than seven years? Whose fault is it? The bureaucratic system of the United States is no good, the judge was caught unsuccessful, the lawyer is to blame ... or maybe this is a complex of reasons?
- Yes, we have been awaiting an immigration court since 2011. In April 2012 we got married, then our son was born. During this time, we passed special tests and went to work in a state structure, where we work, we are both engineers by profession. So many things have happened except one - we cannot get the status. And there are several reasons for this: the irresponsibility of a lawyer who did not appear for the very first interview. At the same time, over the years we paid him about twenty thousand dollars.
The second reason, I would call the cultural limitations of the immigration officer, who did not have enough knowledge to understand that Ukrainians born in the USSR can apply for political asylum from Kazakhstan. It was a shock for her - the Ukrainians themselves, and they are asking for protection from Kazakhstan in the United States. Like this?
Another reason was the neglect of the work duties of the judge, who literally forgot about the first court, then fell ill before the second hearing and retired two weeks before the third hearing.
Each time a court hearing was canceled, a new one was appointed literally years later. For example, the last time it was postponed as much as three years. At the same time, it is impossible to influence this process. We, as applicants, have tried everything - direct calls to the court and USCIS, letters to Congressmen and the New York Senator ... No use.
- Can you tell me the name of the judge, because of whom the hearings were postponed so many times?
- Certainly. His name is William Van Wyck. It was he who did not come to the hearings in 2012, then fell ill in 2014, and then retired in 2016. I probably have no right to be angry with him, we just really relied on him. There are special statistics on the Internet - the percentage of approval of decisions on cases for each specific judge. And here he was very good. Sometimes you look at these statistics and your hair stands on end - 90% bounce rate, for example. This one does not. But he didn't come, got sick, and then retired altogether ...
- Have you been appointed a new judge in the case?
- Yes, it happens automatically: the interview was refused, which means that the case is transferred to the immigration court. If, like ours, the judge has retired, then a new one is attached to the case.
And we got a judge named Sandy K. Hom. We checked his statistics and saw that his bounce rate is almost one hundred - 95%! Moreover, if we talk about 5% of the lucky ones, then among them only XNUMX% are from the post-Soviet space.
The next meeting on our case was supposed to take place in February 2019. But, according to several immigration lawyers at once, it made no sense for us to go to him - he would have refused. After all, we have been in the country for seven years. Here you can, without going into details, say - you have been in the USA for so long that a lot has already changed in your country, go home, guys! We cannot speed up the process or change the judge.
So we decided to move to New Jersey to change jurisdiction. Although our lawyer told us that this new judge was about to retire, and that means that this meeting would be rescheduled ... But we decided to leave for another state.
- And start all over again ...
- Nearly. Our main problem now is that absolutely any judge, due to the limitation of the case, can refuse to consider it on the basis of only old data and demand new evidence that we, being here, without permission to leave, simply cannot provide. In this case, as in the case of a refusal in court, there will be a deportation order. And then we will have to file an appeal, which can be considered for another ten to fifteen years ... In general, now we are in uncertainty - who will be the judge, when he will appoint the court and how many more years we will wait to hug our parents ... But the most frightening thing is not the timing and not a probable refusal, an appeal against a deportation order later. Most of all, Oleg and I are afraid that we are alone with our son. After all, we cannot even write a will. God forbid that something happened to us, and the child will never be given to his grandparents, because he is a US citizen, and they are not.
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