Enter Mama. She had diabetes, coronary disease, and was recovering from a stroke. Miguel took her to doctor's visits and helped her to run errands. He was an essential part of her life, and his deportation would put her health in great danger. Mama's duress and the filial love it inspired was to be Miguel's salvation. The only problem was that also helping Mama were her five other U.S. citizen children -- and her sixteen adult U.S. citizen grandchildren -- who all lived within 10 miles of her. It was starting to look like Miguel's absence would not hurt Mama's health so much after all.
Whether Mama realized she would have to amp up her story, or whether she would have done it anyway, the fact is that she got up on the witness stand and proceeded to tell a story of devotion and heroism in which Miguel was the star (and in which the other children and grandchildren figured rather poorly). This was after several other members of the family had told a much more plausible and entirely contradictory story of how Mama's needs were attended to jointly. Mama cried and testified, and then she cried some more. The judge was neither amused nor moved. The government attorney moved to deny the application for lack of moral character, as evidenced by Mama's perjury.
If Miguel had been represented, his attorney would probably have pointed out that the moral character at question is Miguel's, and that unless there is proof that Miguel urged his mother to lie, her "perjury" (also known as a mother's love) could not affect his case. If anything, the snafu showed Miguel's honesty since he told a less flattering story about himself than Mama did. Of course, an attorney would probably have prevented this from ever happening in the first place by impressing on Mama the importance of truth over passion.
Philosophers have speculated that honesty may be the most overrated of the virtues -- we've certainly created a category of "white lies" that receive exalted treatment in society's eyes, and the expression "truth hurts" has led one to wonder if the avoidance of pain might not be more worthy than the pursuit of truth. However that may be, in immigration court honesty is pretty much the king of the virtues, and neither fear, nor love, nor a sense of a "higher justice" is suffered to stand in its way. Today's moral? Don't lie!