Omar* came to the United States from Honduras in 1999 after Hurricane Mitch caused such devastation in his country that he could not find work and his four children were at risk of starving. After arriving here knowing no one and not speaking English, he worked hard and learned the construction trade. After several years, he started a successful business laying stone flooring and patios in housing developments around central Texas. He continued to send remittances every month to his children in Honduras to provide for their welfare and education, and in 2008, he and his U.S. citizen girlfriend had a son together in Austin, Texas. Sadly, however, Omar’s girlfriend developed severe post-partum depression after the birth of the child and their relationship did not last. Omar was granted full custody of his son after it was determined that the child’s mother was not well enough to care for him.
In 2013, Omar was stopped in Williamson County on his way to a job after allegedly failing to use a turn signal. When Omar could not provide lawful immigration documents, the Williamson County Sherriff’s deputy turned him over to ICE. Omar was placed in removal proceedings and shortly thereafter hired WGV for his defense.
Because Omar had more than 10 years living in the United States, no criminal record, and a U.S. Citizen son, he qualified to apply for Cancellation of Removal in the immigration court. Winning Cancellation of Removal results in a grant of lawful permanent resident status, so we were hopeful that we could help Omar transform this stressful and frightening situation into a benefit for himself and his family.
The most challenging aspect of any Cancellation of Removal case is the requirement to show that one’s U.S. Citizen relative would suffer “extreme and exceptionally unusual hardship” in the event of deportation. Because Omar had been granted full custody of his son, and because his son’s maternal aunts, uncles and grandparents were willing to provide testimony to the fact that Omar’s role as father was critical to the child’s well-being, the Immigration Judge agreed that Omar met this very high hardship threshold and granted his application for Cancellation of Removal. Because of backlogs in the immigration court system, Omar’s green card was not issued until 2018, more than five years after he was placed in proceedings.
Omar gets to hug his children for the first time in nearly 20 years
Immediately upon the grant of his residency, Omar travelled to Honduras to visit the children he left behind in 1999. Because of Omar’s unfailing commitment to provide for them, his children have all had the opportunity to obtain an education in Honduras, a luxury that many Hondurans cannot afford. Omar is now beginning the process of petitioning for his adult sons and daughters and he hopes that they will one day be able to join him in the United States.
WGV is proud and honored to have assisted Omar and we congratulate him on his hard-won Lawful Permanent Residency.