A few weeks ago, Attorney Stewart Lin successfully argued in the Houston Immigration Court for a client in the client’s removal proceeding and obtained the grant of withholding of removal from the presiding judge.
In this very unique case, the client’s asylum application was denied, but withholding of removal upheld.
This case is unique because from legal point of view, withholding of removal is more difficult to prove as the applicant need to prove that he would be "more likely than not" be persecuted if he returns to his country, while in asylum adjudication the standard is whether the applicant’s fear of persecution is reasonable. In other words, in withholding of removal the applicant must prove that it is very likely that he would be persecuted, and in asylum he only needs to prove that he has fear of persecution and the fear is reasonable.
This specific case is also unique because it takes over two and half years for our client to receive the applied benefit. The case was first scheduled for trial almost two and half years ago. In the trial, we spent over four hours presenting our case. Witness was called, and objections made to many mistakes of interpretation provided by the Court. Eventually the court has to continue the case for further hearing. It took two years for the court to finally schedule the case for further hearing and in the final hearing we spent another three hours with the government attorney arguing the case.
The court eventually denied the asylum on the ground that our client filed the application almost 6 years after he came to the U.S., but granted the withholding of removal because we meet the higher standard of burden of proof.
Although withholding of removal cannot lead to permanent residence itself as asylum, it allows the applicant to legally stay in the U.S. until the withholding ground disappears. For our client, this is what they have been seeking.
The lesson from this case is that even if asylum application is denied, with appropriate preparation and presentation of case, client can still seek and receive other benefit under the immigration law. This principal not just applies to court proceedings, it applies other immigration applications also.