Five Harmful Mistakes to Avoid in any Immigration Case

I am speaking to you today about common mistakes and how to avoid them in your immigration case. Always consult a competent, licensed immigration attorney about your case to determine your options may be.

Mistake #1: LYING TO IMMIGRATION – NOT TELLING THE TRUTH.

Under Immigration Law this is called misrepresentation. If you lie to Immigration on a visa application or to a border patrol officer when you’re trying to gain entry into the United States, or even at a green card interview, you could be stuck with a lifetime bar to any immigration benefit because of your misrepresentation, because of your lie.  There is a limited waiver available to those who are married to U.S. citizens or permanent residence or have US citizen or permanent resident parents. But even this waiver is discretionary and CIS will not approve the case for someone who has lied repeatedly or misled officials in a pattern of doing so overtime.

I often get asked, well CIS doesn’t know that my wife came in multiple times, do we have to tell them? Do we have to put it on the forms? My work worked here illegally do we have to put it on the form? No one knows about it. It was under the table she was paid in cash. You’re asking to file a case based on a house of cards that may fall apart at any moment. You want to walk around the rest of your life looking over your shoulder wondering if ICE agents or immigration is going to catch up with. A competent immigration attorney will never lie for you. We will risk our bar license for a fraudulent marriage or for any lie on any immigration. Lying on forms or through an immigration official is a felony and subject to a large fine and imprisonment. Be careful do not lie.

Mistake #2: CLAIMING TO BE A US CITIZEN ON A JOB APPLICATION OR TO RECEIVE ANY SORT OF STATE OR IMMIGRATION BENEFIT INCLUDING A DRIVER’S LICENSE.

The most common scenario I see for making a false claim to US citizenship. Claiming to be a US citizen is very serious. It is a lifetime bar to any sort of immigration benefit. It does not matter if you’re now married to a US citizen or have a green card waiting for you.

If immigrant or the consulate determines that you’ve made a false claim to be a US Citizen, you cannot get a green car.

If you are under age at the time that you made a false claim this doesn’t matter either. However there may be certain ways around it. Always consult an immigration attorney when you were very young when the false claim was made. If the claim was made prior to September 30, 1996 you may have a waiver or other options available to you. Again always talk to an immigration attorney about the circumstances in your case.

Many times someone thinks that they have claim to be a U.S. citizen by filling out a government employment form or private employment form. And they ask if they were either a US citizen or US nations. It is possible to make a false claim to be a US national and still be able to apply for green card. So, it’s very important that you understand what you claimed if this may have happened to you.

Mistake #3: FAILING TO KEEP COPIES OF ALL THE DOCUMENTATION THAT YOU HAVE SENT TO IMMIGRATION.

You cannot rely on a notary if one helped you before to keep copies of your documents. Immigration itself has lost cases before and even in cases where you need copies of a file, immigration can take many years to produce the requested file. The long waiting period to get a copy of your file could eliminate window of opportunity for you during which you may be able to apply for a green card. Don’t also count on your attorney to keep copies of your file. At the conclusion of your case you should receive at least a full copy of your file or what was filed on your behalf, you have a right to this under the state law. You should ask from this from your attorney if you have been represented before. I also suggest that you not send in originals to immigration unless they have specifically requested them. It is very difficult to get originals returned. The national visa center requires originals because they send the originals to the consulate so you will have to send originals to the National Visa Center when requested. However, you want to keep copies of the originals when you send the originals to NVC in case they are lost. At the consular interview in your home country, your original documents that you sent to NVC will be returned to you at that time.

Mistake #4: SENDING CORRESPONDENCE OR FILINGS TO IMMIGRATION OR THE COURT WITHOUT PROOF OF FILING.

This is especially important when your case involves a crucial deadline. I suggest you send any documentation to immigration via certified mail or FedEx or another way that you can track the package. Proving that you mailed to the package or request on time can be crucial especially when you’re trying to reopen cases that were denied based on missed adjustment interviews, miss green car interviews or if you received a removal order because you did not show up for court even though you requested that your master calendar hearing be rescheduled. The court can claims it never received it unless you have proof that you tracked your package and they did.

Mistake #5: FAILING TO HIRE A COMPETENT IMMIGRATION LAWYER.

Immigrants often go to notaries who are unlicensed document preparers because they think they are less expensive than attorneys. Most of the time these notaries charge as much as attorneys but cannot represent you in court if you get put in removal or deportation proceedings because they are not attorneys. Often people are put in to removal proceedings because the wrong thing was filed or they didn’t file correctly and you’re stuck in court by yourself. Be careful when asking a general practitioner to take your immigration case. A general practitioner is someone who focuses on many different types of law. As a result, given how complicated immigration law can be, it is impossible for general practitioner to be an expert in immigration matters when they are focusing on many other types of law.

Inexperienced attorneys or notaries can end up costing you thousands as they waste the CIS fees that you’ve already filed and expose you to immigration by filing the wrong thing or filing for relief that you are not eligible for just to buy you time. They expose you to be in place in the removal proceeding which can be very expensive and very traumatic.