The purpose of Registry is to create a legal record of entry for those who do not have a legal record of entry. Registry allows for foreign nationals to obtain lawful permanent residence (“Green Card”) if they have been present in the U.S. since January 1, 1972, maintained continuous residence, and possess good moral character. This applies even if they are in unlawful status or have a prior deportation order.

We helped a client who entered in April, 1970 on a visitor visa, had been issued an Order to Show Cause (equivalent to a “Notice to Appear”) in August, 1972 for overstaying her visa. However, she never departed the U.S. and raised three U.S. citizen children. The client was granted Voluntary Departure in October, 1972. The client decided to file for her green card through her U.S. citizen spouse rather than depart the U.S. This decision converted the voluntary departure order into a removal order. The client never received the interview notice and she and her spouse never attended the interview. Eventually the couple divorced and the client remarried another U.S. citizen with whom she had three U.S. citizen children, two of which enrolled in the Armed Forces. Eventually, she became a grandmother. When she came to our law firm, she wanted to become an LPR on her own, not through her U.S. citizen spouse or children.

We made a prosecutorial discretion argument to the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Chief Counsel to persuade it to reopen the proceedings from the October, 1972. A discretionary request had to be made for two reasons. First, because any motions to reopen would have had to be filed within 30 days of the order. Second, jurisdiction would need to revert from the Immigration Court back to USCIS. If we had filed the adjustment application with USCIS prior to obtaining, the application would have been denied for “lack of jurisdiction.”

The Trial Attorney for the Office of Chief Counsel called us to say that the government approved our request. He mentioned that because “this is one of those cases you could spend your whole life on,” he hand-carried our Joint Motion to Reopen and Terminate Deportation Proceedings to the Immigration Judge for his signature and even emailed a copy of the order within a few days. We filed the client’s adjustment of status application and attended the interview. In February, 2013, after nearly 43 years, she obtained her Green Card!

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Please be sure to provide a timeline of events along with details of your entire immigration history.