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Ballout Immigration Law

The Law Offices of Haitham Ballout

Petition for Alien Fiance(e) or Spouse

Petition for Alien Fiance(e) or Spouse

Our offices have over 22 years experience connecting loved ones together in the United States. Get help with petitions, visas,…

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Green Card Application Assistance

Green Card Application Assistance

Need help getting a green card? Our immigration lawyers have been helping clients in the San Francisco Bay Area and…

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Nationwide Representation of Individuals in Immigration & Deportation/Removal Cases

Nationwide Representation of Individuals in Immigration & Deportation/Removal Cases

During the past 20 years, we have developed a reputation for dedication to our clients and for effective representation. Based…

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Immigration Detention Centers

Immigration Detention Centers

Detained by ICE? We are immigration and deportation defense attorneys with 22 years experience.  We defend detained aliens in Immigration…

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Monday, 01 August 2016 10:53

SuperLawyers Feature: Voice of Calm

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VOICE OF CALM

Once a child soldier in Lebanon, Haitham E. Ballout rebuilt his life in the U.S. Now he helps others do the same

Published in 2011 Northern California Super Lawyers — August 2011

In 1976, Haitham E. Ballout, barely a teenager, carried a Kalashnikov assault rifle into the hills of Lebanon. As a soldier defending his town, he witnessed many things no child should have to see.

Now, at age 49, there is a smile in Ballout’s eyes, optimism in his voice and a calmness in his demeanor. These are the rewards of perspective. For Ballout, life is a gift to be unwrapped daily. He has a family, including his wife and their four children; a house on the peninsula south of San Francisco; a mountain bike on which he loves to explore the natural beauty of his surroundings; and a thriving law practice focused on a hot issue: immigration.

He doesn’t talk much about his time as a child soldier. He is neither ashamed nor proud; as the family’s oldest son still living in the country, it was something he felt compelled to do.

“They said, ‘Here is your rifle and your ammunition,’ and off I went,” he says.

He would go to the front for two weeks, come home for a few days, then go back again to try to stop the outside forces, who were advancing with tanks.

 “We were doing whatever we could to stop them,” says Ballout. “Firefights, seeing the horror of war, smelling the burned dead bodies and having friends die next to me—it was not good.”

Ballout and his six siblings lived in the mountains with their parents, who were teachers. There wasn’t much money, but there was enough to live on. Ballout’s U.S. connection started with a twist of fate. One of his brothers, Hisham, wanted the family to host an exchange student. Their parents agreed, though they wondered how they could feed another person. An agency connected them with a Swedish family, but the student canceled because of the frequent fighting in Lebanon. The agency replaced her with an American girl from California—with whom Hisham fell in love. They married and lived in Lebanon for a time; when the fighting got worse, they left for California.

Soon afterward, the soldiers came for Ballout. He wrote to his family about his experiences at the front; one of his letters made its way to Hisham. Appalled, Hisham came up with enough money to get his brother to California on a student visa.

At age 14, Ballout found himself thousands of miles away from his parents. It wasn’t easy, but it was better than being shot at in the hills of Lebanon.

“It’s funny, the little things you remember,” he says. “If my kids complain about sweaty feet, I remember I had the same boots and socks on for two weeks without ever taking them off. I will never forget—I saw somebody’s head blown off. And later his mother came to me and begged, ‘Please tell me, how did he die? What happened?’ I helped take him to the hospital. It was not an easy thing.”

Making a life in the U.S. wasn’t easy, either. With no ability to speak or read English, he was put in a special education class in high school in Hayward. Eventually he transferred to a high school in San Mateo, where he attended regular classes. He worked very hard on his English, which improved quickly. But he had little in common with the other kids.

“It was almost like the rest of them were infants,” he says.

When Ballout was just 16, he tested his way into San José State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering. Even when his English skills were still limited, he excelled at two universal languages—math and science.

He lived with Hisham and his family, but rarely saw his brother, who was working very hard to support them. There was very little money. At one point, the phone was disconnected. “We had nothing—really, nothing,” Ballout says. “It was not fun at all.”

One thing he definitely had was determination.

“It wasn’t about being smart, it was about being dedicated to doing what is necessary to get what you want,” he says. “I remember day after day, spending hours after school in the library looking at the dictionary. I had to look up almost every other word because I knew nothing. It was a sad time—missing family, people making fun of you. The only thing they knew about Lebanon was Lebanese hash. The funny thing is that, to me, in Lebanon drugs were not something you even knew about.”

After he graduated from college, he used his engineering skills to work for his brother, who had paid for Ballout’s education and by then was running a company that sold and repaired commercial refrigeration units. One Sunday morning as Ballout sat reading The New York Times, a small display ad caught his attention. It said: “Thinking of law school?”

“I realized, my God, that is what I want to do,” Ballout says. “Law had never crossed my mind before, but it hit me that morning.”

Hisham wasn’t shocked to hear that his brother wanted to become a lawyer.

“He was a leader even when he was a kid,” says Hisham, who eventually moved back to Lebanon. “[He] always had an answer for everything. … And he always had a dream—to be somebody.”

On Monday, Ballout talked to a law school adviser. Two weeks later, he was enrolled in an LSAT class. He took the next-scheduled LSAT and shortly thereafter was sitting in his first class at Golden Gate University, the only law school in the area that accepted students midyear. This, he thought, is where I belong. While his brother paid for engineering school, Ballout managed to cover law school himself—he worked during the first year and took out loans for the last two.

“I loved reading those constitutional cases written by those justices,” he says. “It touched my heart. … I was coming from a country of chaos. It was an amazing feeling.”

Today, Ballout has offices in San Francisco, Burlingame and Lake Tahoe. He has been successful with personal injury work, representing plaintiffs against organizations including United Airlines, Swissair and Shell Oil. He has also handled big employment discrimination cases against defendants including Home Depot, Starbucks and the State of California.

His focus, however, is on immigration. And in his spare time, he likes to write children’s stories. In one of his first, a raindrop is afraid to jump from its cloud, so Mother Nature gently lifts it to the ground. Reassured, and happy it can do its job, the raindrop slides out of her hand and trickles to the earth, helping to heal the parched ground.

The story ends: “Mother Nature understood that each child has a distinct season to thrive in and be free.”

Freedom is important to Ballout. When someone’s freedom to live in America is on the line, he wants to be the lawyer they call. His own attempts to stay in the U.S. after coming on his student visa were nearly sunk by poor legal advice, he says.

“There is something wrong with that picture,” he says. “Somebody has to do better than that. Now, working with clients, a lot of times I have to gain their trust because, in their mind, their last attorney may not have treated them right. I just tell them, ‘Not long ago I was in your shoes.’”

In one case, Ballout represented a foreign citizen facing deportation. The man said he was brought to the United States by a U.S. government agent who escorted him around security at the airport. When the man came to Ballout, the government was trying to deport him for allegedly trying to buy illegal green cards. They had the tapes to prove it. He claimed that he had tried to buy green cards with cash in a hotel room because the U.S. government wanted him to help make a bust. He said the government had given him the cash and set it up. He even provided the first name of his mysterious government handler. Ballout persuaded the judge to ignore the tapes because there was no criminal conviction against his client, and immigration judges don’t decide criminal cases. The judge, says Ballout, returned a response to the government to the effect of: “Don’t show me tapes; show me a conviction, then I’ll decide whether to deport him.” In the end, Ballout’s client got his green card and now lives with his wife, a U.S. citizen.

Ballout has returned to Lebanon a few times to visit family. In July 2006, he brought his own family—his wife, Linda, and their children. War broke out again just as they arrived. With the airport closed, they were evacuated to Cyprus a week later via boat by the U.S. Department of State, escorted by U.S. Navy ships for protection. A more recent visit was two years ago, again with his family, and this time less eventful.

Sacramento lawyer Andrew Bohan, who attended Golden Gate with Ballout, says of his longtime friend, “He has always brought a calm to situations. I remember, during law school, a number of us were out hiking in the backcountry and we got disoriented. People were getting really anxious. Haitham was like, ‘It’s all good—we have to get over that ridge and we’ll be fine.’ That’s how he was, and is.”

Ballout acknowledges, “My wife sometimes says how steady I am. I think what happened before, it does help me keep things in perspective. I feel like I am lucky to be alive and lucky to be able to enjoy my family and my work and put my kids to bed at night.”

Thursday, 24 May 2012 04:18

Terms of Service

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The Haitham Edward Ballout website has been made available to you subject to your compliance with the terms and conditions set forth below (the “Conditions of Use”).

Thank you for visiting the Haitham Edward Ballout websites; www.balloutlaw.com, www.balloutimmigrationlaw.com, www.balloutinjurylaw.com, www.balloutemploymentlaw.com, www.nodeportation.com, and www.visa4us.com. Please read this document carefully before accessing or using any of the Haitham Edward Ballout websites. By accessing or using this website, you are agreeing to be bound by the Conditions of Use. If you do not wish to be bound by the Conditions of Use, you may not access or use the website.

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Haitham Edward Ballout reserves the right to change the terms, conditions, and notices at any time, and such modifications shall be effective immediately upon posting of such changes. You are therefore responsible for regularly reviewing these Conditions of Use and additional terms or notices posted on the Haitham Edward Ballout website. Your continued access of this website shall be deemed your conclusive acceptance of the modified agreement.
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Haitham Edward Ballout grants you limited license to access and make personal use of this website and not to download (other than for page caching purposes) or modify it, or any portion of it, except with the express written consent of Haitham Edward Ballout. This website or any portion of this website may not be reproduced, duplicated, adapted, copied, sold, resold, transmitted or otherwise exploited for any commercial purpose without the express written consent of Haitham Edward Ballout. You may not frame, or use any framing techniques to enclose any trademark, logo, or other proprietary information (including images, text, flash movie, page layout, or form) of this website without the express written consent of Haitham Edward Ballout. You may not use META tags or any other “hidden text” which utilize Haitham Edward Ballout, visa4us, visa4us.com, or any other derivative of our domain or company name without the express written consent of Haitham Edward Ballout. You are hereby granted a limited, revocable, and nonexclusive right to create a hyperlink to the home page of Haitham Edward Balloutso long as the link does not portray any false, misleading, derogatory, or otherwise offensive matter.

It is further understood and agreed that Haitham Edward Ballout cannot and does not guarantee or warrant that files made available for downloading through the website will be free of infection or viruses, worms, Trojan horses or other code that manifests contaminating or destructive properties. It is your responsibility for implementing sufficient safeguards and procedures to ensure that any files obtained through Haitham Edward Ballout are free from such contaminations.

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THIS WEBSITE AND RELATED INFORMATION IS PROVIDED BY HAITHAM EDWARD BALLOUT ON AN “AS IS” AND “AS AVAILABLEBASIS. HAITHAM EDWARD BALLOUT MAKES NO EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, REPRESENTATIONS OR ENDORSEMENTS OF ANY KIND, OR AS TO THE OPERATION OF THIS WEBSITE OR THE INFORMATION, CONTENT, MATERIALS, OR PRODUCTS INCLUDED ON THIS WEBSITE. YOU EXPRESSLY AGREE THAT YOUR USE OF THIS WEBSITE IS AT YOUR SOLE RISK.

TO THE FULL EXTENT PERMISSIBLE BY APPLICABLE LAW, HAITHAM EDWARD BALLOUT DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.HAITHAM EDWARD BALLOUT DOES NOT WARRANT THAT THESE WEBSITES, ITS SERVERS, OR E-MAIL SENT FROM WWW.BALLOUTLAW.COM, WWW.BALLOUTIMMIGRATIONLAW.COM, WWW.BALLOUTINJURYLAW.COM, WWW.BALLOUTTEMPLOYMENTLAW.COM, WWW.NODEPORTATION.COM, WWW.VISA4US.COM ARE FREE OF VIRUSES OR OTHER HARMFUL COMPONENTS. HAITHAM EDWARD BALLOUT WILL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES OF ANY KIND ARISING FROM THE USE OF THIS SITE, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, PUNITIVE, AND CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES.

HAITHAM EDWARD BALLOUT USES REASONABLE EFFORTS TO INCLUDE ACCURATE AND UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION ON THIS WEBSITE. HAITHAM EDWARD BALLOUT ASSUMES NO LIABILITY OR RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY TYPOGRAPHICAL OR OTHER ERRORS OR OMISSIONS IN THE CONTENT OF THIS SITE. IN THE EVENT THAT A PRODUCT IS LISTED AT AN INCORRECT PRICE OR WITH OTHER INCORRECT INFORMATION, HAITHAM EDWARD BALLOUT HAVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE OR CANCEL ANY ORDERS PLACED FOR THE PRODUCT LISTED INCORRECTLY. IF A PRODUCT OFFERED BY HAITHAM EDWARD BALLOUT IS NOT AS DESCRIBED, YOUR SOLE REMEDY IS TO RETURN IT TO HAITHAM EDWARD BALLOUT FOR A REFUND. ALL POSTAGE REQUIRED TO RETURN A PRODUCT WILL BE AT THE BUYER’S EXPENSE.

CERTAIN STATE LAWS DO NOT ALLOW LIMITATIONS ON IMPLIED WARRANTIES OR THE EXCLUSION OR LIMITATION OF CERTAIN DAMAGES. IF THESE LAWS APPLY TO YOU, SOME OR ALL OF THE ABOVE DISCLAIMERS, EXCLUSIONS, OR LIMITATIONS MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU, AND YOU MAY HAVE ADDITIONAL RIGHTS.

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Linked websites are not under the control of Haitham Edward Ballout is not responsible for the contents of any linked site or any link contained in a linked site. www,visa4us.com provides links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply or constitute an endorsement by Haitham Edward Ballout of the site.

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By visiting the www.visa4us.com website, you agree that the laws of the state of California, without regard to principals of conflict of laws, will govern these Conditions of Use and any dispute of any sort that might arise between you and Haitham Edward Ballout.

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Any dispute relating in any way to your visit or access of the Haitham Edward Ballout website or to the products or services you purchase through the Haitham Edward Ballout website shall be submitted to binding arbitration in San Francisco County, California, except that, to the extent you have in any manner violated or threatened to violate Haitham Edward Ballout intellectual property rights, Haitham Edward Ballout may seek injunctive or other appropriate relief in any state or federal court in the state of California, and you consent to exclusive jurisdiction and venue in such courts. Arbitration under these Conditions of Use shall be conducted under the rules then prevailing of the American Arbitration Association. The arbitrator’s award shall be binding and may be entered as a judgment in any court of competent jurisdiction. To the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, no arbitration under these Conditions of Use shall be joined to an arbitration involving any other party subject to these Conditions of Use, whether through class arbitration proceedings or otherwise.

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Thursday, 24 May 2012 04:16

Privacy Policy

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Haitham Edward Ballout is committed to protecting your privacy. That is why we have adopted this Privacy Policy. This Privacy Policy is intended to describe how your personal information is processed and used, and we will make every effort to ensure that our activities keep within the spirit of this Privacy Policy.

Please note that by visiting and using any of Haitham Edward Ballout websites; www.balloutlaw.com, www.balloutimmigrationlaw.com, www.balloutinjurylaw.com, www.balloutemploymentlaw.com, www.nodeportation.com, and www.visa4us.com you are accepting the practices described in this Privacy Policy.

What Information is Haitham Edward Ballout gathering about its visitors and how is it being used?

Every computer connected to the Internet is provided with a domain name (e.g. earthlink.net) and an IP Address (e.g. 192.164.13.145). When a visitor requests a page from within the Haitham Edward Ballout web site, our Web Servers automatically identify and log the HTTP request that is made to our Web Server. This information reveals nothing personal about you. In fact, the only information that we automatically gather and log is as follows:

  • The IP Address of the Site that may have Referred you.
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  • The Web Page that you may have linked to us from, if any.
  • The Product Identifier for Version and Make of Browser (e.g. Internet Explorer 4.5)
  • The Operating System platform that you may be running (e.g. Macintosh or Windows)
  • Search Words or Terms that are passed from a Search Engine (e.g. Google, Yahoo, or Lycos)

There is absolutely nothing special about the information just described, and the practice of collecting this data has been generally standardized by virtually every Web Server on the Internet today.

The purpose for this information is actually two-fold. One, Haitham Edward Ballout has found it advantageous to examine visitor traffic in its aggregate, so that we can ensure maximum compatibility for the various Browsers and Operating Systems that visit our site. Additionally, as any business should attest, it is our desire to generate greater amounts of visitor traffic. By analyzing visitation patterns, referring URLs and Search Engine terms, we can strategically enhance our exposure on the Internet.

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What other information does Haitham Edward Ballout request?

We may also request your e-mail address or mailing address for the purposes of conducting a survey, adding you to our mailing list, or by your request to have someone contact you for additional information. Whenever we request the identity of a visitor, we will clearly indicate the purpose of the inquiry before the information is requested. We maintain a strict “No Spam” policy that means we do not intend to sell, rent, or otherwise give your e-mail address to a third-party, without your consent.

In addition, Haitham Edward Ballout will not send you e-mail that you have not agreed to receive. If you are a member of our Mailing List, you will be contacted with announcements, news, etc…. You have the option of “Unsubscribing” from our Mailing List at any time, thereby disabling any further such e-mail communication from being sent to you.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012 05:21

Immigration Questions and Answers

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Having served immigration clients for over 20 years, we’ve learned a lot about immigration laws and procedures. We’ve addressed hundreds of questions and concerns around immigration related issues such as Green Cards, deportation and detention centers.

To help serve you better, we’ve compiled and listed below some of the top questions we've encountered about immigration related issues. If you still have questions after reading, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation.

I am married or engaged to my same-sex partner. May I petition my spouse or fiancee?

Yes, you may. Feel free to contact us for assitance with your petition. More info is available in the USCIS FAQ regarding same-sex marriages and immigration benefits.

Where can I get the Dream Act application?

The application is available online at www.uscis.gov/i-821d.

What is Obama's new policy of "Deferred Action" and how does it affect me?

Please see the Immigration News & Articles section of the website, the following links: Frequently Asked Questions / Preguntas Frecuentes, or call us for more information.

What happens to Deferred Action if a Republican becomes President?

A Republican president may or may not continue the Deferred Action policy. However, a Republican president will not necessarily revoke deferred action granted to anyone while the policy was in effect. This means that, if a Republican becomes president, new applications for Deferred Action may not be accepted.

If a Republican becomes president, we cannot guarantee that Immigration will not act on the information it has obtained from Deferred Action applicants. However, Immigration has repeatedly emphasized that it will continue to focus its limited resources on criminal immigrants that are a danger to the community.

If I am granted Deferred Action, may I travel outside of the United States?

You may not travel outside of the United States while your Deferred Action application is being considered. If your application for Deferred Action is granted, you must apply for advanced parole in order to travel outside of the United States. Please call our office to discuss the process for applying for advanced parole.

If I marry someone outside the US, will that person automatically become a citizen?

No. Your spouse will receive a green card first if the correct procedure is followed, and if your spouse is eligible.

How long does it take to get a green card?

This varies by person and state. The process of getting a green card isn’t complex but the process could be time consuming.

Where can I learn more about immigration Law?

The Immigration and Nationality Act is a law that governs immigration in the United States. For the part of the law concerning most types of permanent resident status, please see INA § 245. The specific eligibility requirements and procedures for adjusting to permanent residence status are included in the Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] at 8 CFR § 245.

Who is eligible for a green card?

To find out who may apply for permanent residence in the United States, please contact us to get eligibility information. (Please note, your permanent residence status will be conditional if it is based on a marriage that was less than two years old on the day you were given permanent residence. For more information, please contact our immigration lawyers to learn more.)

How do I apply?

To find out how you can apply to become a lawful permanent resident of the United States, please contact us to learn more – we will help you identify what you need to do. After you submit your application materials, you will be asked to go to a USCIS office to answer questions about your applications. Don’t worry, we will help you through this process.

Will I get a work permit?

Applicants for adjustment to permanent resident status are eligible to apply for a work permit while their cases are pending. You should use USCIS Form I-765 to apply for a work permit. You do not need to apply for a work permit once you adjust to permanent resident status. As a lawful permanent resident, you should receive a permanent resident card that will prove that you have a right to live and work in the United States permanently.

Can I travel outside the United States?

If you are applying for adjustment to permanent resident status, you must receive advance permission to return to the United States if you are traveling outside the United States. This advance permission is called Advance Parole. If you do not obtain Advance Parole before you leave the country, you will abandon your application with USCIS and you may not be permitted to return to the United States. For more information, please contact us.

How can I check the status of my application?

We will contact the USCIS office that received your application on your behalf to ensure that the process for you is as smooth as possible. We will work with the USCIS staff to obtain the specific information that you may need.

How can I appeal?

The only applications for permanent residency (Form I-485) which can be appealed to USCIS are those based on a marriage which took place while the alien’s application was in process or those based on Section 586 of Public Law 106-429, adjustment of status for certain nationals of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. These appeals must be made to the Administrative Appeals Unit (AAU). Be assured that we can help you through this process if necessary.
Contact Our Immigration Attorneys

Tuesday, 22 May 2012 04:39

HOW CAN WE HELP YOU?

Written by

Do you need help with an immigration matter? Call a Northern California Super Lawyer at (650) 373-1122
The Law Offices of Haitham Ballout have over 22 years experience with diverse immigration matters and we are eager to assist you in any way that we can.

Have you heard about the I-601A Provisional Waiver Expansion and you're wondering whether it applies to you?
Are you wondering whether you are eligible for Deferred Action under the Dream Act?
Are you or a loved one facing deportation? 
Have you or a loved one been detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement? 
Do you need to file a fiancee or relative petition on behalf of your non-citizen loved one? 
Are you an employer or employee who would like to obtain or update an employment visa? 
Have you been the victim of a crime in the United States and are wondering about a U-Visa? 
Has your petition been denied or have you lost an immigration case? 
Are you wondering about immigration opportunities for a same-sex partner?
Do you want to find out how you can obtain a Green Card? Work Authorization?
Have you been charged with a crime that may affect your immigration status?

Whatever immigration challenges you're facing, give us a call. Our friendly staff is ready and willing to speak with you about any issue. Call us today to schedule a consultation. Not located in the San Francisco Bay Area? Don't worry! Our attorneys are glad to provide phone consultations. 

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(415) 252-1234

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