How I Got Started

By Jonathan Bartell

In January 1994 I had already been living in Thailand for 3 months. I was recently hired by an organization funded and operated by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees, and was placed for employment inside a refugee camp in Phanat Nikhom Thailand. The majority of the inhabitants of the camp for Laotian were mostly highlanders such and Hmong, Mien, and Lahu Hill-tribesmen. These individuals were recruited by the U.S. CIA during the Vietnam Era to prevent the communists from taking over the government there in a campaign dubbed the "secret war." Also in the camp were Cambodians and some Vietnamese. I worked in a program that prepared mostly Laotians for resettlement in the U.S. This was done by providing English language instruction, cultural orientation, and work orientation. These families had been inside the refugee camps for decades, and in many cases at least 3 generations had been born inside these camps. The United States promised these folks who bravely fought in the interest of our country, resettlement in the United States. In 1995 and 1996, the immigration laws changed drastically and these changes affected many families who had been waiting for many years to resettle in the U.S. In the blink of an eye, many families were now disqualified from coming to the U.S. I found this to be very unfair, and actually assisted some families in the presentment of their cases to USCIS (which had an office in the camp) to qualify for waivers so that they could in fact be granted resettlement as promised in the US. It was during this time that I realized that if I were to return to the U.S., that I would want to be involved in helping immigrants and non-citizens with immigration law.

I also am personally involved in the immigration process, as my spouse entered the U.S. on a fiancé visa and later adjusted status to that of a LPR and then a citizen.

Notable Cases

In the area of reopening criminal cases because of immigration consequences not previously advised by the court, I argued the case that is the standard for the state of Ohio State v Francis. I was the first to argue the most recent U.S. Supreme Court case "Cooper" in the County. This case dealt with reopening a conviction post-trial because the attorney failed to advise the client of the plea offer by the state.

Immigration law is a very large part of my life and I always strive to find the best possible outcome in every situation. Located in Ohio, I am able to travel around the entire United States to assist clients with their cases. If you need assistance with this area of the law, do not hesitate to contact my firm right away.