Saving Mr. Song

Saving Mr. Song

The Song family from Rockville MD consists of Mr. Song, his wife and 3daughters who are now either in college or have graduated and are now working. The Songs came to the United States as visitors from Korea in 2001. They never returned to Korea because the parents believed that the United States offered better educational opportunities for the children. Mr. Song looked for opportunities to legalize his family’s status. The family settled in Maryland, and quickly connected to the 7th Day Adventist Church which they had been part of in Korea for many years. Mr. Song served as a deacon while the children thrived in the church in their youth programs. All three children were very successful students in the public schools they attended. The Korean community was often victimized by unscrupulous immigration consultants who lured Koreans into immigration schemes that promised the individual a green card. Many well-meaning Koreans were duped into these schemes not understanding that these agents were often scoundrels who made enormous sums of money off of unsuspecting victims, such as the Song family. In this case, the consultant lured Mr. Song into an arrangement wherein he would be sponsored by a chicken farm that was operating in Maryland. Chicken farms were the source of many immigrant visas for Korean workers in Maryland where a number of farmsare located. Mr. Song worked for the farm for more than a year and believed that the process was legal and proper. But during the process, an illegal scheme was found out by the FBI, and the agent along with others he worked with were arrested and prosecuted. It turned out that the visa petition that Mr. Song was the beneficiary of was not legal, and it was revoked by the USCIS. Some years later, in 2012, Mr. Song was placed in removal proceedings. His attorneys did not take the time to review his case and his family’s strong ties to the community. Instead of seeking Prosecutorial Discretion (which is an agreement to close the case) they accepted Voluntary departure which would require him to leave for Korean within 90 days. When we met with Mr. Song’s wife and the pastor of his church, Mr. Song was in jail and was going to be deported to Korea within one week -leaving his entire family behind and devastated. Our office had little time to act. This is how we saved Mr. Song. It was critical to go through the paperwork to establish that Mr. Song was not party to the fraud, but rather, was a victim. The fact that he worked at the chicken farm for 14 months was convincing evidence that he believed it was a legitimate job offer. Next, we turned to the 7 Day Adventist Church which organized a petition by the members, and provided a detailed letter by the pastor describing their long presence in the church and all of their significant volunteer activities. We gathered proof that the family paid their taxes, that the three daughters were high achieving students and eligible for DACA, and that Mr. Song had taken English classes to improve himself. With the deadline for deportation so close, we contacted their United States Congressman, who agreed to proactively advocate for Mr. Song. We then filed a Stay of removal with a letter by the Congressman. Then, the Congressman called the jail, spoke to the officer in charge, and less than 1 day later, Mr. Song was released. His family is safe, but Mr. Song needs extension of his stay of removal every year. The Congressman has assisted our law office with an extension of the stay of removal that we had to file, and he will continue to advocate for the family when needed. We hope that President Obama will announce Executive Action to protect families like the Songs. Otherwise, there could be many more stories like the Song to report.

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