By Mary Campbell
In the Caribbean community, people face many legal issues. Concerns include getting legalized, divorce, estate planning after a loved one has passed or is dying or being hurt in an auto accident or on the job. One common denominator, one common problem, one common philosophy, and one common sorrow is the issue of pain.
We spoke to Attorney Brian Figeroux of the Law Firm of Figeroux & Associates. Mr Figeroux has been practicing immigration law for almost 25 years and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). He shared the following: “When clients come to us on matrimonial matters, there’s the pain of a divorce. It’s painful. When people come to the office with immigration issues, it’s a painful situation. If they have been taken advantage of and defrauded, they’ve been here for many years, undocumented, and exploited by their employers or fellow people from their own community. So, yes, pain is a common thing. With estate planning, clients come in, and sometimes maybe it’s too late when somebody is deceased or when someone is dying. And that painful situation brought them to your office, but they should have been doing wills, trust, and estate planning. Civil rights issues include the NYPD or the federal government violating someone’s civil rights. Their civil rights may be violated on the job, whether a private company, a federal public company, or a state company. So, what attorneys do, we resolve legal issues and the pain that comes with it.”
The Bible teaches us to forgive and forget. With forgiveness comes different outcomes. Some of the results do not always work in the best interest of the person doing the forgiving. Figeroux has this to say: “Sometimes, we do counseling. Maybe that’s why they say, a counselor at law, you’re not only counseling law; sometimes, you must provide counsel in life. And the issue that we are talking about is pain. How do we resolve the pain that comes with legal representation? We should represent you professionally, vigorously, and obviously with empathy when you have a legal issue. Yes. And that pain, unfortunately, may make you guys make bad decisions. Are you or your wife having an affair? Is that the reason you want a divorce? And should you forgive that person? And what does forgiveness mean? You could take forgiveness in the context of love. It could be spiritual. But attorneys give you your legal options and tell you the legal consequences of your forgiveness. So, forgiveness has consequences in every area of law. And the more you forgive, the more it works to your disadvantage in litigation and almost every law area.”
Figeroux went on to explain: “Forgiveness doesn’t solve problems. Sometimes it exaggerates it. It makes it more painful in the future when you must make that decision that you have been delaying. And the common thing is, oh, I loved him. Oh, I love her. But did they really love you? But I want you to talk when you come for our consult. I want you to tell me the truth of your problem, and I will give you legal advice and pain advice based on all the pain that I’ve seen in our community for the last 25 years.”
Listen to a podcast by Attorney Brian Figeroux on “Pain & Arleigh Louison” below:
Pain and Arleigh Louison
Federal law enforcement agents arrested Arleigh Louison on July 18, 2019. He was indicted in Vermont on 12 counts of making false statements and submitting over 1,800 fraudulent immigration applications to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
“A federal grand jury returned a 12-count indictment against Arleigh Louison, 53, of Brooklyn, New York, charging him with running an immigration fraud scheme that included the filing of false statements with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, including over 1,800 fraudulent applications for over 1,000 petitioners within the last four years. Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) agents arrested Louison in Brooklyn, New York, and executed a federal search warrant at his office,” said the U.S. Department of Justice press release.
“The indictment charges that the false statements were made in connection with Form I-360 petitions for status adjustments under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). In short, the indictment charges that Louison presented or caused the presentment of adjustment of status petitions containing false statements to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Service Center in St. Albans, Vermont, claiming that the petitioners were victims of abuse. The indictment also charges that these petitioners, who paid Louison for his services, did not discuss the abuse with Louison, were not abused as described in the petitions, and did not authorize the statements made in the petitions Louison submitted to USCIS. The indictment also charges that Louison fabricated fee waiver petitions on behalf of these individuals without their knowledge.”
Figeroux spoke on the pain and the devastation from Louison’s fraud: “So, one of the pains that people suffer, a lot of people in Kings County, especially from the Caribbean, is the pain that they have after Arleigh Louison, who is now deceased. He defrauded people by submitting fraudulent immigration applications on their behalf. There were lies in those applications that persons were abused by their spouses, children, or others, which did not qualify them for immigration benefits.”
Figeroux continued, “So, Arleigh Louison knew that you had pain. He was a notary, not a lawyer. Louison preyed on that pain and filed those fraudulent applications because he knew you would make bad decisions. You would make immoral decisions or Christian life decisions to have the ability to work in America. He also knew that you got to feed your children, wife, husband, and family back home. You need to send those barrels. He’s aware of it. And by being aware of your pain and your need economically to survive, he took advantage of you. It doesn’t matter what he said. You would sign those forms even though you didn’t know what was written on the documents, which is what many persons who Arleigh Louison defrauded said. And there are other notaries in the community that do the same. In fact, some bad lawyers do the same. So, when you have pain, you also must be careful to who you disclose your pain, and you have to get a second or third consultation if you think what the person is saying is either illegal, immoral or will get you into trouble.
Problems for Victims/Clients of Arleigh Louison
Yes, Louison has since passed. However, he has left a carnage of victims facing deportation and many immigration issues. What does this mean? Since Arleigh Louison was arrested for immigration fraud, the files of all his clients will be reviewed by the Immigration & Customs Enforcement agents (ICE). Additionally, every single client will be served a Notice to Appear (NTA) and be interviewed by ICE agents with the sole purpose of seeking admission to initiate deportation proceedings. The NTA is the first step taken by the American government to remove an immigrant from the country. If you were a client of Louison, it is imperative that you consult with an AILA attorney and do not meet with ICE alone. You should also seek the advice of more than one counsel. Get a case evaluation. ASK THE LAWYER – call 855-768-8845.