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By: Ken Levine
The FMG Immigration Section was retained to prepare a green card case for one of the top chess players in Asia. Our client, Oliver Barbosa, is a chess Grandmaster who hails from the Philippines. He is currently ranked the 2nd best chess player in his country, the 60th best chess player on the Asian Continent and the 474th best chess player in the world. FMG was already familiar with Oliver’s credentials. Our firm had previously secured an O-1 (extraordinary ability) work visa on his behalf, which allowed him to work as an Instructor for a prominent chess instruction company in New York City.
Information on Oliver’s impressive chess accomplishments can be seen in the attached articles:
Given the substantial evidence supporting Oliver’s O-1 work visa we had confidence that USCIS would look favorably upon our EB1 filing. However, USCIS raised several legal issues in a request for evidence (RFE) and cast doubt on his eligibility to receive a green card under this category. FMG immigration attorneys vigorously responded to the Immigration Service’s RFE and two weeks later we were met with a surprising denial decision.
After assessing the denial and determining that the legal reasoning set out in the decision was very much at odds with the actual evidence, FMG strongly recommended pursuing federal legal action. While there are appellate steps within the USCIS process (Motion to Reconsider or an Appeal to the Administrative Appeals Office) these options were substantially less preferable than simply taking USCIS straight to Federal Court. FMG filed what is known as a “Declaratory Action” in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York – https://www.pacermonitor.com/public/case/28492611/Barbosa_v_Barr_et_al
Our case was never reviewed by the Federal Judge nor was it necessary to appear in court. 23 days after filing and a mere five days after the Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) entered their appearance, we received a notice that USCIS had reopened the denial and approved the EB1 petition. The approval means that Oliver and his wife (Sunshine) will receive their green cards under our country’s most elite and prestigious immigration category. Congratulations Oliver and Sunshine!
Oliver emailed us the below comments and has authorized us to print them here:
“ I have had the privilege of having Ken as my immigration attorney for over 3 years. He had my O1 application approved then we hired him to prepare the green card. Since the beginning of the green card process I was realistic and understood that the immigration process will sometimes not go smoothly, but I also believed that my decades of success and recognition in chess would work in my favor.
The EB1 denial was unexpected and devastating. While we were reluctant to challenge Immigration in court, since taking the government to court is just not what one does in the Philippines, Ken convinced us. He spent a lot of time answering our questions about a lawsuit and addressing our concerns. Ken explained his reasons for wanting to sue the government, pointed out what evidence he felt Immigration did not consider, and overall really seemed to have all the bases covered. Less than 3 weeks after the case was filed we received a call from Ken. Immigration reversed the denial and approved my EB1 case!!
I want to say a few things about Ken. He is honest, trustworthy and very straightforward. He will tell you exactly where you stand and what direction you should go. Thank you so much Ken for all your help, your perseverance and last, but certainly not least, for believing in my case. Winning in court would not have been possible without your hard work, knowledge and skill. I have already recommended him to other chess players and will certainly retain his services for my future immigration matters.”
For additional information related to this topic and for advice regarding how to navigate U.S. immigration laws you may contact Kenneth S. Levine of the law firm of Freeman, Mathis & Gary, LLP at (770-551-2700) or [email protected].