Dr. Mookesh Dhanasar
It’s been just over two weeks and the reality and scope of the USCIS AAO precedent decision Matter of Dhanasar, in my immigration case is finally setting in. For the first time in over two years I can finally plan a future with the expectations for meeting the goals set by that plan. It feels very new and very strange, but in a good way.
My client counsel relationship with the Chapman Law Firm and Mr. Gerry Chapman is almost fourteen years old. The Chapman Law Firm has represented me in all of my immigration matters, whenever I needed legal representation.
The most recent situation began when a USCIS adjudicator issued a RFE for the self-petition case that I filed, i.e. an I-140 NIW and an I-485 AOS. After many years of being on a variety of student visas, OPT’s and an H1-B visa, for a total time of about two decades, I was unable to secure an employer willing to be my sponsor. Thus began a very long journey; a journey that started on August 2, 2013 and continues to the writing of this testimony; that’s over 1200 days!!!
On receiving the RFE issued on November 12, 2013, I immediately contacted the Chapman Law Firm and scheduled a meeting where we discussed the case and options for moving forward. This meeting occurred on a Friday evening, and that left me the weekend to make the decision on whether I moved forward with the Chapman Law Firm or not. On the following Monday evening I walked into the Chapman Law Firm and handed the receptionist a check, retaining the services of Mr. Chapman and the firm. I remember exiting the office and making my way to my car, parked across the street when I heard a voice behind me. Apparently, the receptionist had alerted Mr. Chapman of my decision and he came out of his office (and the building) to assure me that they would represent me to the best of their ability, at which point we shook hands. That act, that hand shake and assurance would prove to be a key factor as to why I stayed with the Chapman Law Firm for the duration of my case, and why they still represent me in all matters concerning immigration.
Over the next 1200 days my professional relationship with the Chapman Law Firm would be tested in many ways. Both Mr. Chapman and myself have very strong personalities, we process information and data in different ways and form very strong opinions. We had intense discussions on how things should proceed, but at the end of the day I would yield to Mr. Chapman’s suggestions and would always assure him that ‘immigrations matters were his specialty’, but that I was thankful that he would give me the opportunity to express my views.
The success of the Chapman Law Firm does not rest solely on Mr. Chapman’s shoulders, but is a reflection also of the professional staff that works with him. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention all the hard work, on my behalf, done by Ms. Kelly Gamble. I fondly remember that afternoon when I bought to their office the materials that were to be submitted to the AAO’s office in response to their RFE. After leaving the conference room that day, I sat in a quiet corner in the waiting area and observed Ms. Gamble walking past me carrying a stack of the materials, up to just under her shoulders, to her work area. She was having a challenging time with that. Then there’s Ms. Anita. I remember the sound of her voice when she had to call me with a difficult request. She has earned my respect for the manner in which that call was handled.
The biggest surprise from the Chapman Law Firm came in mid-October 2016. After being unemployed since September 2014, and liquidating most of my assets I was (and is as of the writing of this) in severe financial hardship. One of the aspects that I’ve developed with the Chapman Law Firm over these 1200 days is that I can come in and speak with them in a completely honest manner. I requested a meeting with Mr. Chapman and Ms. Gamble in mid-October. At this meeting I discussed my financial situation. I was very relieved when Mr. Chapman expressed that he understood my situation and was willing to continue to work with me.
Now, we’re writing history. Matter of Dhanasar is not a gift from the AAO, nor should it be viewed as a glass half full given the current climate on immigration matters in the United States. A lot of people did a lot of hard work and a lot of sacrifices were made to make it a reality. These individuals include Mr. Chapman and the staff at the Chapman Law firm, the many individuals at the AAO’s office, many of my friends, professional colleagues and definitely immediate members of his family who have taken care of me during this period in my life. I am thankful and sincerely grateful to them all.
It is expected that Matter of Dhanasar will be used by a variety of disciplines and many individuals.
I am sincerely happy about that and thankful these future applicants will have a much clearer framework to work with. The only thing I ask is they are mindful that there are still very many who, because of the current climate on immigration in the United States, remain in a state of distress and uncertainty.
Mookesh Dhanasar, Ph.D.