A very interesting decision came down recently regarding lawful permanent residence and what constitutes abandonment. The case is Khoshfahm v. Holder. Although this is a 9th Circuit Case, it is nevertheless illuminating, and provides a good discussion of what the government must prove to establish than an individual has abandoned his or her lawful permanent residence. In this particular case, the Petitioner Mr. Khoshfahm was a permanent resident who left the US as a minor with his parents in 2001 to travel to Iran. Unfortunately, due to 9/11 and some personal health issues regarding his father, Mr. Khoshfahm was not able to return to the US on his own as an adult until 2007, at which point he was placed into proceedings. The 9th Circuit disagreed with the Immigration Judge and BIA who held that the Petitioner's parents' action constituted abandonment and could be lawfully imputed to Mr. Khoshfahm. The Court went on to hold that Mr. Khoshfahm's actions as an adult in fact demonstrate that he did not intend to lose his permanent residence and accordingly reversed the BIA.
Cases like this remind us how precious permanent residence is, and that the government must satisfy a very high burden before claiming that LPR status has been abandoned or changed.