I-130 petition

A Legal Battle for Family Reunification: The Rendon Acero Case

Carolina Rendon Acero, a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Colombia, has launched a legal battle against the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) after her petitions for permanent residency for her four children were denied. This case, filed in the Southern District of Florida, highlights significant challenges faced by immigrant families navigating the complex U.S. immigration system.

Rendon Acero's journey began when she moved to the U.S. at the age of 17 to live with her father, who had become a naturalized citizen in 1995. She derived U.S. citizenship by operation of law shortly thereafter. Despite her established citizenship, confirmed by a U.S. passport issued by the Department of State in February, USCIS denied her I-130 petitions for her children in July 2018. The agency claimed insufficient evidence to confirm her status as a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, which directly impacted her children’s applications.

The denial of the I-130 petitions has had profound implications for Rendon Acero's family. Her two youngest children, Samuel and Thomas Estrada Rendon, are unable to obtain U.S. citizenship, which would have been automatic upon their mother's grant of legal permanent resident status. Her older children, Manuela and Mateo Estrada Rendon face barriers in accumulating the necessary residency time required for naturalization. Furthermore, now that Mateo and Manuela are over 21, they are no longer classified as immediate relatives, complicating any future attempts to secure residency through new I-130 petitions.

The legal intricacies of this case stem from what Rendon Acero and her attorney, Andrew W. Clopman, argue as a failure by USCIS to perform its non-discretionary duty properly. The lawsuit demands a reversal of the wrongful denial, which not only threatens the family's ability to integrate into American society but also inflicts irreparable damage to their collective welfare and cultural integration.

In November 2019, an immigration judge ruled in favor of terminating the removal proceedings against Rendon, further validating her lawful status after the Department of Homeland Security failed to prove her removability. This ruling underscores the inconsistencies and errors in the handling of her case by immigration authorities.

The ongoing struggle of the Rendon family illustrates the critical need for prospective immigrants to seek experienced legal representation when dealing with USCIS. For those facing similar challenges, understanding the nuances of immigration law and the importance of securing every family member's legal status can be daunting. An experienced immigration attorney, especially one with a background as a former immigration officer, is crucial in navigating these complex legal waters.

This case is one of three lawsuits currently pending against the USCIS West Palm Beach Field Office, suggesting a pattern of issues at this location that could affect other immigrant families. The outcome of these cases could potentially influence future USCIS policies and practices, making it a significant point of interest for all stakeholders in the field of immigration law.

As this case progresses, it serves as a poignant reminder of the ongoing challenges and hurdles immigrant families face in achieving their American dream. It also highlights the indispensable role of skilled immigration attorneys in advocating for their client's rights and helping navigate the complexities of immigration law.

For further reading on the Rendon Acero v. USCIS case, see the full article by Carolina Bolado on Law360.

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