Heather L. Poole

Heather L. Poole

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Immigration Attorney in Los Angeles, CA

Stone Grzegorek & Gonzalez LLP
 | 800 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 900
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Phone: 877-486-2678
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2016 - 2017
Selected to Rising Stars: 2005, 2009 - 2014
Licensed Since: 2001
Education: New York Law School
Practice Areas:
  • Immigration: Consumer
Attorney Profile

Heather L. Poole is the Managing Partner of the Family Immigration & Removal Group at SGG Immigration, a full service immigraiton law firm based in Los Angeles, CA. She is a Certified Specialist in Immigration & Nationality Law by the State Bar of California. She is passionate about protecting the human rights of immigrants. She has obtained numerous immigrant visas, green cards (permanent residency), and citizenship for her clients, reuniting spouses torn apart by immigration restrictions and keeping families together that face harsh and lengthy immigration bars .

She also takes on and wins numerous abused spouse immigrant cases that other attorneys refuse to take on, and gained permanent residency for her clients.  As a result of her work in her community on behalf of immigrants and her reputation as an expert in her field, Heather has received numerous honors from her local community, shelters, and legal organizations, trains other immigration lawyers for various bar associations, and is an internationally published author on family-based immigration topics. Heather has a high success rate* in her expertise of family-based immigration and citizenship law, with 98% approval on all family-cases including unlawful presence bar waivers, and 99% approval on citizenship cases (as of 5/2017);  * Note: Past success rate does not guarantee success nor are a predictor of success in your particular case. You should always consult an attorney about your particular situation to determine the odds or chances of approval. *

White Papers

  • Frequently Asked Questions about Waivers (2010) - Questions and Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Unlawful Presence, Mispresentation and other Extreme Hardship Waivers and How to Avoid Making the Most Common Mistakes

  • International Affairs - Feature Article appearing in the Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine, June 2011, discussing the interplay between federal immigration law and California family law.

  • Abused Spouses: How Divorce May Affect Your Green Card Chances - Article on the effect of divorce on US immigration benefits for abused spouses, specifically permanent residency filings and immigrant visas and options under the Violence Against Women Act.

  • Certificates and Credentials

    California Board of Legal Specialization

    About Heather Poole

    Admitted: 2001, California

    Professional Webpage: http://www.sggimmigration.com/who-we-are/heather-poole/

    Honors and Awards:

    • "Top 40 Under 40" Immigration Attorneys, State of California,  American Society of Legal Advocates, 2014
    • The Hon. Benjamin Aranda III Outstanding Public Service Award, Los Angeles County Bar Association (For 900 hours of volunteer work over the past decade advising and helping prepare temporary restraining orders for in pro per survivors of domestic violence in Los Angeles Superior Court), 2013
    • Nominee, LACBA Domestic Violence Project, Los Angeles County Volunteer of the Year Award Ceremony, Los Angeles Bar Domestic Violence Project, 2009
    • In recognition of 600 hours donated to date in volunteer work for the LA County Bar Association's Barristers Domestic Violence Project, assisting in pro per litigants obtain restraining orders in family court., Volunteer of the Year, Los Angeles County , 2009
    • Commendation - for volunteer trainings of advocates on domestic violence issues affecting immigrants., Project Sister Sexual Assault Center, 2007
    • Commendation for work on behalf of battered immigrants., National Domestic Violence Hotline, 2007
    • Distinguished Alumna, Cal Poly Pomona College of Letters, Arts & Social Sciences, 2006
    • Day Coordinator, Annual National Conference, American Immigration Lawyers Association (2005)
    •  “VAWA Experts” list member, National Lawyers Guild – National Immigration Project (2005 – present)
    • Commendation, Cal Poly Pomona’s Stop Violence Grant Office (2007);
    • Commendation, Haven House (the oldest DV shelter in US) (2006)

    Special Licenses/Certifications:

    • Certified Specialist, Immigration & Nationality Law, State Bar of California , 2015

    Bar/Professional Activity:

    • Member, USCIS Field Operations Committee, American Immigration Lawyers Association, 2015
    • Elected Director, National Board of Governors, American Immigration Lawyers Association , 2015
    • Chair, American Immigration Lawyers Association Southern California Chapter, 2014
    • Executive Committee Member, Immigration Law Section, Solo & Small Firm Division, American Bar Association, 2013
    • Committee Member, CIS National Benefit Center Liaison Committee, American Immigration Lawyers Association, 2013
    • Vice Chair, American Immigration Lawyers Association Southern California Chapter , 2013
    • Treasurer, Southern California Chapter, American Immigration Lawyers Association, 2012
    • National Board of Governors, American Immigration Lawyers Association, 2012
    • Chair, National New Member Division Steering Committee, American Immigration Lawyers Association, 2012
    • National Publications Board, American Immigration Lawyers Association, 2011
    • Secretary, Southern California Chapter, American Immigration Lawyers Association, 2011
    • Executive Board Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association, Immigration Law Section, 2010
    • National New Member Division liaison, American Immigration Lawyers Association, 2009
    • New Member Division Chair, American Immigration Lawyers Association Southern California Chapter, 2008
    • Pro Bono Liasion, American Immigration Lawyers Association, Southern California Chapter, 2005
    • Member, USCIS National Benefit Center Liaison Committee, American Immigration Lawyers Association 2014 - 2015

    Pro bono/Community Service:

    • Speaker on options for abused immigrants, training for domestic violence  hotline advocates and court accompaniment advocates for various women's shelters in CA (Haven House, Project sister) (2004-present)
    • Volunteer Attorney, Los Angeles Bar Association, Barristers Domestic Violence Project (obtaining restraining orders for in pro per litigants in family court) 2001 - present
    • Volunteer Attorney, KIND - Kids in Need of Defense Los Angeles (representing unaccompanied children in removal proceedings)  2015 - present
    • Volunteer Attorney, Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project (representing detained asylum seekers) (2014-present)

    Scholarly Lectures and Writings:

    • Speaker and Moderator, "Waivers at the Consulate", Immigrants List Spring CLE Conference, Los Angeles, CA, 2016
    • Speaker and Discussion Leader, "It's Complicated: Filing Removal of Conditions in Difficult Circumstances", American Immigration Lawyers Association National Annual Conference, Las Vegas, NV, 2016
    • Speaker and Discussion Leader, "Waiver Update", American Immigration Lawyers Association Annual California Chapters Conference, San Diego, CA , 2015
    • Speaker & Host, “Tips for Filing Convincing I-601/I-601As: Strategies for Making Your Case ‘Unique’ Among the Masses” (Taste of San Jose New Member Division Mentor Series), American Immigration Lawyers Association California Chapters Conference, San Jose, CA , 2014
    • Speaker, “Advanced Family Immigration“, American Immigration Lawyers Association Annual California Chapters Conference, San Jose, CA (November 2014), 2014
    • "Advanced Affidavit of Support Issues", published in Immigration Practice Pointers, American Immigration Lawyers Association , 2014
    • Speaker, "Advanced Affidavit of Support Issues", American Immigration Lawyers Association National Annual Conference, 2014
    • Speaker & Moderator, Provisional and Traditional Unlawful Presence Waivers Panel, American Immigration Lawyers Association Statewide Annual California Chapters Conference, Anaheim Marriott, Anaheim CA , 2013
    • Speaker, "Notices of Intent to Deny and Requests for Further Evidence in Family Cases", American Immigration Lawyers Association National Conference, June 2013 , 2013
    • Moderator and Speaker, Provisional Waiver Panel, American Immigration Lawyers Association, Southern California Chapter's Annual Winter CLE Conference (discussing procedural changes and issues to watch out for in new provisional waiver program for unlawful presence waivers), April 2013, 2013
    • Speaker, I-601 Waiver Workshop Panel, American Immigration Lawyers Association, Southern California Chapter's Annual Winter CLE Conference (procedural tips and how to successfully argue extreme hardship, discretionary credibility problems in misrepresentation cases, and combatting RFEs for Immigration attorneys), April 2013, I-601 Waiver Workshop, Socalaila.org, 2013
    • Speaker, "Representing and Defending Marriage Fraud Cases", Live Audio Mp3 seminar, American Immigration Lawyers Association, 2013
    • Speaker, Solving Unlawful Presence Immigration Problems for Employees & Family", Live Web CLE Workshop (4 hour workshop on basics and developments in unlawful presence issues), July 2013, MyLawCLE.com, 2013
    • Panelist representing the Los Angeles County Bar's Domestic Violence Project for City of Glendale's Film Screening of Loves Me, Loves Me Not, as part of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Panelist, Legal Options for Survivors of Domestic Violence, CSW And The Armenian Relief Society Of Western USA, 2012
    • Representing Individuals with Mental Disabilities in Immigration Court, Business Clients in the Removal Context, Detained Clients, and Clients with former Domestic Violence Allegations, Moderator & Speaker, Client Representation in Immigration Practice, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), 2012
    • "Lunch with the Expert" CLE Event, Speaker, No More Sails Into the Sunset - Resurrecting, Converting or Ditching the Joint 751, Los Angeles County Bar, 2012
    • US CIS Interviews & Tips on Presenting Complicated I-130/I-485/I-754 & Naturalization Cases, Panel, Speaker, US CIS Interviews & Tips on Presenting Complicated I-130/I-485/I-754 & Naturalization Cases, Panel, Federal Bar Association, 2012
    • Panel, Federal Bar Association National Conference, Moderator & Speaker, VAWA Adjustment: Updates and Emerging Issues, Federal Bar Association, 2012
    • Panel, Federal Bar Association National Conference, Moderator & Speaker, VAWA Adjustment: Updates and Emerging Issues, Federal Bar Association, 2012
    • Continuing Legal Education Seminar for Attorneys, Offered by LawReviewCLE.com. Attorney Heather L. Poole will be conducting the course to train other lawyers.LawReview CLE, Immigration 101: Family & Employment Immigration, LawReview CLE, 2012
    • Women's Herstory Annual Celebration, Moreno Valley College, Speaker, My Path to Immigration Law, 2012
    • Author (Article on the recent actual and proposed changes to the Inadmissability Waiver procedures for foreign filed unlawful presence waivers necessary to waive the 3 and 10 year bars to allow issuance of green cards to undocumented immigrants married to US citizens)., It's Been an Emotionally Trying Year of Uncertainty and Confusion for U.S. Citizens Married to Undocumented Immigrants , Alaska Bar Rag, Alaska State Bar Association, 2012
    • Co-hosted "Taste Of Nashville" Dinner event with Laurel Scott for New Immigration Attorneys as part of American Immigration Lawyers Association National Conference, Speaker, "I-601 Waivers: Tips for Handling Cases & Clients:, 2012
    • Speaker, Continuing Legal Education training for attorneys new to immigration law on Family and Employment Immigration Nonimmigrant and Immigrant Visas, Adjustment of Status, and more., Speaker, Immigration Law 101 - Family & Employment, LawReview CLE, 2012
    • Modern Marriage and Family Issues Before USCIS and on Appeal,” American Immigration Lawyers Association California Chapters Conference (November 2011); , Co-author & speaker, , 2011 AILA California Chapters Conference, 2011
    • Speaking on Legal Implication of Divorce & Separation on I-751s [Conditional Green Card Waivers & Joint filings], CLE activity. , Speaker, "Modern Marriage and Family Issues Before USCIS and on Appeal" , American Immigration Lawyers Association, California Chapters Annual Conference, 2011
    • Co-Author, "Annotations to Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence", AILA's Forms and Fundamentals Handbook (2011 edition), American Immigration Lawyers Association, 2011
    • American Immigration Lawyers Association National Conference, San Diego, CA June 2011, Speaker, I751s and the Removal of Conditions on Residence, 2011
    • Feature article on the interplay between California family law and federal immigration law, Author, The International Affair, Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine, Los Angeles County Bar Association, 2011
    • Moderator, Panel at Federal Bar Association Immigration Section's annual Immigration Conference, at University of Memphis School of Law, May 13, 2011;, Moderator, Attorney CLE Training, VAWA Adjustment: Updates and Emergening Issues, Federal Bar Association Immigration Section, 2011
    • Speaker on Panel at Federal Bar Association Immigration Section's annual Immigration Conference, at University of Memphis School of Law, May 14, 2011;, Speaker, US CIS Interviews & Tips on Presenting Complicated I-130/I-485/I-754 & Naturalization Cases, Federal Bar Association Immigration Section, 2011
    • Speaker, for the American Immigration Lawyers Association Southern California Chapter, Speaker, VAWA Basics" for the Immigration Attorney", American Immigration Lawyers Association, 2010
    • Speaker, for the Beverly Hills Bar Association, Attn Attorneys: 2 hrs of MCLE, Speaker, Making Hardship Easy: Understanding the Grounds of Inadmissibility and Preparing Successful Waivers, Beverly Hills Bar Association, 2010
    • Heather spoke on KFI AM640 2008 Law Day at the 2006, 2007, 2008 & 2009 Law Days, the only immigration lawyer speaking that day, and was invited back for 2010., Speaker, The I’Dos and Don’ts of Marriage-Based Immigration, Bill Handle Radio Talk Show, 2010
    • Speaker, for the American Immigration Lawyers Association Southern California Chapter, Speaker, “VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) Basics”, (August 2010);, American Immigration Lawyers Association, 2010
    • Speaker, Hot Topics in Immigration Law, University of La Verne Law School Annual Symposium on Immigration Law, 2010
    • Speaker, "Immigration Options for Abused Immigrants", American Immigration Lawyers Association Southern California Chapter, 2010
    • Speaker, KFI AM 640: Handle On The Law Day, 2010
    • Speaker for attorney CLE training, focusing on consulate waivers for poast unlawful presence, criminal convictions, and misrepresentation.  , Speaker, Beverly Hills Bar Association, Immigration Law Section, 2010
    • "From Birth to Marriage to Death: Handling Complex Issues in Family-Based Immigration" LA County Bar Association CLE Event, Speaker Heather L. Poole, Topic: I-751 Waivers of Joint Filing, 2009
    • Speaker for ESL students, friends and family, Speaker, Understanding the Route to Permanent Residency and Legal Status, 2009
    • Speaker, KFI AM640 2008 Law Day at the 2006, 2007 & 2008 Law Days, the only immigration lawyer speaking that day, and was invited back for 2009, Speaker, Los Angeles The I’Dos and Don’ts of Marriage-Based Immigration, Bill Handle Radio Talk Show, 2009
    • Spring Training, for new hotline advocates for Haven House, the oldest Domestic Violence Shelter in the U.S., Speaker, The Legal Aspects of Domestic Violence: Immigration Law & Restraining Orders, Haven House, 2009
    • Speaker, Immigration and Domestic Violence, Barristers Section, Los Angeles County Bar Association Domestic Violence Project Training, 2009
    • Speaker, for ESL students, friends and family, Speaker, Understanding the Route to Permanent Residency and Legal Status, 2008
    • Tabling at El Monte Rosemead Adult School as part of the 2008 Community Resource Fair Tabling at El Monte Rosemead Adult School as part of the 2008 Community Resource Fair, Consultant, One on One with Attorney Heather, 2008
    • Keynote Speaker, Shephard's Door Domestic Violence Resource Center's 2008 National Domestic Violence Awareness Month Event, Keynote Speaker, Immigration Options for Victims of Domestic Violence, Shephard's Door Domestic Violence Resource Center, 2008
    • Speaker of KFI AM640 2008 Law Day at the 2006 & 2007 Law Days, Speaker, The I’Dos and Don’ts of Marriage-Based Immigration, Bill Handle Radio Talk Show, 2008
    • Winter Training Speaker, for new hotline advocates for Haven House, Speaker, The Legal Aspects of Domestic Violence: Immigration Law, Haven House, 2007
    • Winter Training Speaker, for new hotline advocates for Haven House, Speaker, The Legal Aspects of Domestic Violence: Immigration Law, Haven House, 2007
    • Free consultations on citizenship cases to community members in attendance to Community Citizenship Clinic, Speaker, Community Citizenship Clinic, Neighborhood Legal Services, 2007
    • Free consultations on citizenship cases to community members in attendance to Community Citizenship Clinic, Consultant, Community Citizenship Clinic, Neighborhood Legal Services, 2007
    • Speaker, for ESL students, friends and family, Speaker, Understanding the Route to Permanent Residency and Legal Status, 2007
    • Free consultations on citizenship cases to community members in attendance to Community Citizenshi Clinic, Consultant, Community Citizenship Clinic, Neighborhood Legal Services, 2007
    • Speaker at The Foreign Affair; Updates on the Immigration Consequences of Marriage, Divorce, and Custody hosted by the Pasadena Bar Association's Family Law Section, Keynote Speaker, The Foreign Affair; Updates on the Immigration Consequences of Marriage, Divorce, and Custody, Pasadena Bar Association, 2007
    • Speaker, ESL students, friends and family, Speaker, Understanding the Route to Permanent Residency and Legal Status, 2007
    • Speaker, for ESL students, friends and family, Speaker, Understanding the Route to Permanent Residency and Legal Status, 2007
    • Free consultations on citizenship cases to community members in attendance to Community Citizenship Clinic, Consultant, Community Citizenship Clinic, & NALEO And Congresswoman Napolitano, Neighborhood Legal Services, 2007
    • Speaker of KFI AM640 2007 Law Day at the 2006 Law Day, Speaker, The I’Dos and Don’ts of Marriage-Based Immigration, Bill Handle Radio Talk Show, 2007
    • Key note Speaker, A Marriage to Save, Ditch or Escape? When to Opt for a Conditional Green Card Waiver, Immigration Section, Orange County Bar Association, 2007
    • Speaker, U.S. Citizenship via Naturalization: Avoiding Denials, Heartbreak and Deportation Triggers", Orange County Paralegal Association, 2007
    • Speaker, The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Immigrant Population, Los Angeles County Children & Family Services Annual Conference, 2007
    • Author, The Quickest Way to a Green Card is Harder than You Think, Orange County Bar Association, Orange County Lawyer, 2007
    • Fall Training Speaker, for new hotline advocates for Haven House, Speaker, The Legal Aspects of Domestic Violence: Immigration Law, Haven House, 2006
    • Fall Training Speaker, as part of Peace Over Violence's , Speaker, Immigration Options under Violence Against Women Act , Peace Over Violence, 2006
    • Speaker on private venue/training for regional church leaders, Speaker, Human Rights Problems in Our Own Backyard: The Lives and Options Available to Abused Immigrants, Glendale Episcopal Church, 2006
    • Speaker; Training for Project Sister's (the Inland Empire's only rape and sexual assault agency) hotline advocates, Speaker, Human Rights Problems in Our Own Backyard: Legal Options Available to Abused Immigrants, Project Sister, 2006
    • Key note speaker, Cal Poly Pomona Communications Day: Real-life Consequences: Media Coverage of Immigration, 2006
    • Speaker, "Understanding the Route to Permanent Residency and Legal Status" , Discovering PCC Day, Pasadena City College, 2006
    • Handle on the Law Day presentation by Attorney Heather L. Poole. Heather spoke on this topic at the 2006, 2007 & 2008, 2009 Law Days, Speaker, The I Dos and Don'ts of Marriage Based Immigration- KFI AM 640 Handle on the Law Day , 2006
    • Speaker, The Foreign Affair: Immigration Consequences of Marriage, Divorce & Custody, Pasadena Bar Association Family Law Section, 2005
    • Author, "Marriage Is Not Enough: Facing Deportation Because of Your Spouse", Bucks County Courier Times, PA, 2005
    • Co-author, The V Visa: a New LIFE Form", AILA Immigration & Nationality Law Handbook, American Immigration Lawyers Association, 2001

    Verdicts and Settlements:

    • Man Removes Condition on Green Card Despite Quick Marital Break UpOutcome: APPROVED without interview.Description: William's Story (Good Faith Marriage Waiver) William and his wife separated within six months of William becoming a conditional resident. This raised issues of whether the marriage was real (not used to obtain status for him) and visa fraud. William had to prove that the marriage's demise was not his fault. Heather helped William argue that he and his wife separated due to her her emotional problems and her anger with their financial situation given his new business. His wife left him and filed for divorce. It was a challenging case since the couple had not been together for very long when they separated. We also faced weaker bonafide marriage documentation because most of William's assets were wrapped up in his business, not spent on the marriage. Heather knew what he was up against and all he had to lose, especially since if he was deported, he would have to give up his chosen profession which was illegal to practice in his home country. His case was approved in less than six months. William writes of our services: “I chose you to represent me because I really liked the initial consultation. Heather was confident, trustable and warm. Also, she sounded very focused on the matter. The overall quality of the services was very good. Ms. Heather Poole is a great attorney. I would recommend this firm to others because Heather does a great job.", 2010
    • Mexican national obtains Green Card Despite Illegal Entry Using Unique DocumentsOutcome: APPROVED.Description: Roberto entered the U.S. illegally from Mexico. His father had filed for him when he was 22, over 10 years ago. Because he was from Mexico, his visa number would not be current for many years and he would not be eligible to apply for a green card until then so his wife, Lisa, a U.S. citizen decided to sponsor him. Because of his illegal entry, they feared that he would have to go to the consulate in Ciudad Juarez to process his green card, which would result in a 10 year bar which they would have to file a waiver for that posed a significant risk that they could be separated for years.Our Solution & Challenges Heather faced: Heather argued that he could apply for his lawful permanent residency in the U.S. despite his illegal entry because he “grandfathered” under 245(i). In order to qualify for 245(i) a person must have had a labor certification or a visa petition filed on their behalf on or before April 30, 2001 but also had to prove that they were physically present in the U.S. on the date of the law’s enactment (December 21, 2000). Roberto had the filing cut-off date but he lacked traditional documentation proving he was in the U.S. on December 21, 2000. It was difficult to locate employment documents because his employer from 10 years ago had gone out of business. He did not file taxes because he did not have a social security number and did not know about the ITIN possibility ten years ago. He wasn’t in school so couldn’t provide transcripts and because he had no papers, he did not have a lease, driver’s license, or utility statements typically accepted by CIS to prove physical presence. Heather advised Roberto and Lisa on nontraditional forms of evidence to prove Roberto’s physical presence, knowing that if it didn’t work, he would face the 10 year bar and have to consular process. This made the case longer to process since it took more time and investigative work for Roberto to track down as much evidence as he could. Roberto’s green card case was approved with the documentation Heather suggested. Timing: 1 yearRoberto and Lisa write of Heather’s representation “I chose you to represent us because you were highly recommended by family who you have helped before with great results. We were so thrilled to have Heather’s experience on our side, during a very important process in our lives. It feels a bit overwhelming and uneasy –but having been represented by Heather that all changed, knowing she was with us during every step of the way. We are extremely happy with the helpful, friendly, professional service that was provided to us. Text message for email was extremely helpful . . .We would just like to thank you once again.” Roberto and Lisa, Bell, CA, 2010
    • Criminal Waiver Approved in SydneyOutcome: APPROVEDDescription: Ben's US citizen spouse came to Heather for help with her husband's waiver for his many past criminal convictions. They had tried applying for the waiver on their own but CIS was not convinced and requested proof of extreme hardship to Ben's wife if he was not allowed to return to the US for ten years. This was an exceptionally difficult case given Ben multiple convictions for breaking and entering, fraud, and battery. Heather successfully argued not only his rehabilitation to separate him from these past crimes but argued that his wife's career, emotional state, family obligations, and finances would suffer extreme hardship if he was not allowed to return to the US or if she had to move to Australia to be with him. Since Australia is a democratic country similar in economic opportunities to the US and not a typical place deemed a hardship to live, Heather had to argue the exceptions to the rule, 2009
    • 10 Year Bar Waiver Approved in MoscowOutcome: APPROVED.Description: Sara entered the US on a K-1, fiance visa, from the Ukraine but did not marry the US citizen who sponsored her. She overstayed her visa, fell out of status, and eventually married another US citizen and gave birth to a son. She was not eligible to get her green card in the US because she could only adjust her status based on the K-1 marriage. She was forced to consular process, which triggered the 10 year bar to re-entry. In order to get her green card, she would have to argue to the CIS office abroad that her new husband would suffer extreme hardship if she was not allowed to return to the US. We also had to show that it wasn't possible for her husband to relocate to the Ukraine. And, although they now had a US citizen son, immigration wouldn't consider the child's hardship under this waiver. This, her negative immigration history, and the fact that the US citizen had a good salary, was well educated, had relatives in the US who lived close to his parents with health issues, Heather was able to successfully argue that she should be allowed to return to the U.S. The approval took less than 3 months, 2009
    • Green Card Approved for Abused Spouse from MexicoOutcome: APPROVED, green card and citizenshipDescription: Maria, a citizen of Mexico, experienced severe physical, psychological and financial abuse during her relationship with her U.S. citizen husband. He had filed an immigrant visa for her years ago but refused to file for her green card. She stayed with him for the sake of the kids until the abuse became unbearable. Her husband threatened to kill her on more than one occasion and hit her in the face and threw things at her constantly. When he finally turned on the children, she demanded a divorce and then when he refused to leave them alone, she pursued and obtained a restraining order. Before she could wrestle free of his control, he had grabbed the children by their ears and hit them on the head. He constantly threatened to take the children away if she called anyone for help or if she thought about leaving him and the abusive situation. He treated as a servant, not a wife. He threw food on the floor and ransacked the house, only to demand that she pick everything up. Even after they separated, he’s refused to leave her alone. He continued to stalk her and harass her loved ones. He tired to use the children to try to find out where his wife has gone if she was out and what she does during the day. The court where she obtained her restraining order referred Maria to Heather for help. Heather filed Maria’s abused spouse based immigrant visa (VAWA petition) in August 2003. Maria received her work permit 3 months later. Her VAWA case was approved in July 2004. Heather then applied for Maria’s green card based on this approval and Heather and Maria appeared together at Maria’s green card interview. Her green card was approved that same day. Maria was a permanent resident since March 2005. She became a US citizen in 2008. She is now looking forward to sponsoring her mother, the woman who helped protect her children from the violence. She writes of our services: "I obtained your name from the Pasadena courthouse . . . . The overall quality of your services provided was excellent. I was so impressed that the staff always kept me in touch with what was happening in my case. I would recommend your firm to others because you are truthful, warm, and won't cheat people. You are very kind. God bless you always,", 2008
    • Conditional green card waiver approved for Japanese nationalOutcome: APPROVED without interview.Description: Haruko conditional green card was issued in January 2006. The couple separated by August 2007, during her conditional 2 year period. The couple separated after having numerous unresolved arguments over money, whether to have a family, and possibly moving to Taiwan and leaving the U.S. Hayaku, new to English speaking, also had difficulty expressing herself to her husband and this made things worse and their clashing cultural upbringings made it difficult to relate. She tried to go to counseling but the marriage was not saveable. The couple divorced within the conditional period. Despite the couple staying less than the conditional period together following the issuance of Haruko’s permanent residency and with limited financial documentation showing the bona fide nature of their relationship, Attorney Heather was able to obtain an approval for Haruko who now has a unconditional permanent residency, and a waiver of the interview. Heather provided CIS with essential documentation proving that Haruko was not to blame for the marital break-up and she entered into the marriage with the intent to stay. Haruko and her ex-husband write of our services: "Haruko and I really appreciate your professional expertise in assisting her obtain her permanent green card. Even though we are divorced, we remain good friends. We understood there were difficulties, especially we weren't the photogenic type of couple back when we were together so there weren't a lot of photos of us and with friends. Your professionalism and prompt responses, despite the language barrier for Haruko, kept us at ease throughout the process. Thank you again.", 2008
    • 10 Year Bar Waiver Approved in MexicoOutcome: Instantly APPROVED; no backlog referralDescription: Obtained waiver for U.S. citizen spouse who was faced with potentially losing his wife due to the 10 year bar due to past unlawful presence in the US; CIS office: Ciudad Juarez, Mexico) Actual letter from client: "To whom it may concern: I met my wife in 2001 and soon fell in love, Six months later we where married in Ventura, California. I knew well before we where married that my wife was here “undocumented” but thought it would be easy to get her a green card since I am a US citizen, Boy was I wrong! We went to a “cut rate” notario, trying to save money, Mistake #1! We then went to a immigration attorney in Los angeles who quoted me 1000.00 to take care of the rest of the paper work we needed, Mistake #2. It turned out we needed a “Hardship waiver” for my wife and would have to travel to El PasoTexas and cross the border to the US consulate. If everything went OK, My wife would have a green card and return with me. If not, she would have to stay in Mexico for 6 months to a year, waiting for approval. This scared me to death! We had never spent the night apart since we where married, I could not stand the thought of leaving her there! I started reading as much as I could on the internet and was recommended to Heather Poole in Pasadena, Ca. My wife and I went to see her for a free consultation, and I am VERY glad we did! Heather and her assistant Carla went above and beyond to get our necessary papers done within a month ( almost unheard of!) and off we went to Mexico. We had to spend almost 2 weeks there, First the medical appointment, Then the “interview” and then the “Hardship waiver interview”. Now this is what impressed me most about Heather! EVERYTHING she said would happen happened EXACTLY like she said it would! While staying at the motel and waiting day after day, We met quite a few people and got to talking. I was SHOCKED at how many people where totally unprepared and did not have the documentation they needed, Most of these people went away very unhappy to say the least! Everything went smoothly for us, and within one hour of my wife receiving her new green card, we where back across the border and on our way home! Our lives have changed so much within the last six months, My wife has her new Social Security card, Drivers license, etc……She now has more ID than I do! I can honestly say we owe all of this to Heather and Carla, We will never forget how they helped us! If anyone doubts this, Feel free to call me anytime and I will be glad to tell them. Thanks", 2007
    • Client Gains Citizenship Despite Accusation of Making a False ClaimOutcome: APPROVED.Description: Falsely claiming to be a U.S. citizen is grounds for denial of any petition for naturalization (citizenship). There is no current waiver under the law for a knowingly made false claim. The problem arises whether the person claiming to be a U.S. citizen knew that s/he was making a false claim. Congress created one way to determine this, when it passed the Child Citizenship Protection Act in 2001. Now, Recent Victory! Heather was recently successful in convincing CIS that her client did not make a knowingly false claim of being a U.S. citizen after he applied for a U.S. passport and was denied. Our client was brought to the U.S. when he was a pre-teen and his father and his grandmother were naturalized citizens. Under the citizenship law that covered his case, if he could prove that his father was living in the U.S. 10 years prior to his son's birth abroad, 5 of which after the age of 14, then the son (our client) was already a U.S. citizen through "transmission" (i.e., his father transmitted or passed his U.S. citizenship to his son). The problem in his case was one of proof. His father left the U.S. in the 1960s for ten years, when he was in his early 20's, and he could not find enough records for CIS or the state department's passport agency to conclude that his father was physically living in the U.S. during the years that he could have transmitted U.S. citizenship. Even the census couldn't help our client. Our client was forced to apply for naturalization based on the non-existence of these very old records. Heather, alongside our client, prepared our client and helped him prepare available documentation and went with him to the CIS interview. She argued in a brief and orally in front of the officer that our client never made a knowingly false claim, but was merely following the instructions on the state department's website for passport application. The officer agreed with Heather and recommended our client for naturalization. Our client was sworn in as a U.S. citizen, 2006

    Representative Clients:

    • Heather represents primarily professionals and their family members with complex  immigration problems that are threatening the family unit or marriage.

    Other Outstanding Achievements:

    • Adjunct Professor, Immigration Law, Cerritos College (Los Angeles County), 2016
    • Adjunct Professor, Immigration Law, Fullerton College Paralegal Studies Associate of Science Program (Orange County, CA), 2007

    Newsletters:

    Educational Background:

    • Bachelor of Arts, History, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
    • Bachelor of Arts, Philosophy, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
    • Juris Doctorate, New York Law School

    Industry Groups

  • American Immigration Lawyers Association Board Of Governors
  • Elected Director
  • Office Location for Heather L. Poole

    800 Wilshire Blvd.
    Suite 900
    Los Angeles, CA 90017

     

    Heather L. Poole:

    Last Updated: 2/23/2017

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