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Judge Sides With Scientist Against La Migra

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A federal judge found that immigration officials offered no convincing reason for denying a renowned genetic researcher's application for permanent residency, and revoking his visa.

Dr. Haoru Niu, a Chinese citizen who's been working in the United States for 9 years seeking a cure for deafness at Los Angeles' House Research Institute, filed his first visa petition in 2007. He filed an application for permanent residency around the same time. Immediately after Niu's petition was denied, the House Research Institute filed a visa petition on his behalf as an "'outstanding researcher.'"

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services granted the visa but denied Niu's application for permanent residency and his motion to reconsider.

On Sept. 28 this year, immigration officials informed Niu that they intended to revoke his visa as well.

But U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson found that the USCIS acted capriciously, and found that Niu was likely to suffer irreparable harm if his visa were revoked.

Pregerson granted an injunction preventing immigration officials from taking adverse actions against Niu.

"Dr. Niu has demonstrated that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm unless defendants are enjoined from revoking his approved I-140 petition. By all accounts, an approved petition is necessary for Dr. Niu to adjust status and obtain permanent residency," Pregerson wrote.

He also found Niu likely to succeed in his lawsuit against the USCIS.

"Dr. Niu has shown a likelihood of success on the merits. It appears that Dr. Niu meets the statutory requirements for an outstanding researcher. As noted, Dr. Niu has made original research contributions to the field of genetics and authored relevant scholarly articles in peer review journals. These two facts qualify Dr. Niu as an internationally recognized researcher in genetics," Pregerson wrote.

"Dr. Niu meets the second and third requirements as well, as he has been conducting genetic research at the internationally acclaimed House Research Institute for the past nine years. It is therefore likely that USCIS's denial of Dr. Niu's initial outstanding researcher petition was an abuse of discretion."

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