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History:

In Re: Washington A. Myrie, Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review, Board of Immigration Appeals, Decision dated June 24, 2015. This was an immigration matter that was appealed administratively at the federal level. The decision was in favor of the appellant. The case involved a Jamaican man (a naturalized US Citizen) who sought approval from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to obtain a visa for his biological daughter who was in Jamaica to come to the United States and adjust as a permanent resident. The man submitted a DNA test, which established paternity. Despite the DNA test, the DHS denied the visa request. In its decision, DHS officials declared that pursuant to Jamaican law, paternity could not be established by way of a DNA test alone, and, because the Jamaican government required an additional showing of parenthood for paternity, that the DNA test was insufficient and, therefore, properly denied. On behalf of this client, I appealed the matter, arguing, among other things, that the concepts of “legitimacy” and “illegitimacy” had all but been eliminated, and, that the Board of Immigration Appeals was allowed to consider the law under either the parent’s place of residence or the child’s place of residence under the circumstances. I argued that it would have been a miscarriage of justice (and a violation of due process) to have denied the appellant’s child her visa, where in other instances, depending on the person’s country of national origin, it would have been granted. The Board of Immigration Appeals reversed the decision of the DHS, receding from prior precedent, resulting in the DHS granting the visa to my client’s daughter. For obvious reasons, the case was significant because it concerned family unity, touched upon issues of discrimination and classification, and set a good precedent for future similar matters. The decision was written by Margaret M. O’Herron for the Board of Immigration Appeals. The decision date was June 24, 2015.