Category: Citizenship / Naturalization

Here’s What Happens When You File a Fake Green Card Case


Can I get away with immigration fraud if my spouse decides not to sponsor me anymore?

Hi, I’m Jim Hacking immigration lawyer practicing all throughout the United States. Yeah, it’s a ridiculous title to this video.

I have to tell you that I had something happen for the first time in my many years of legal experience. That is that someone came into my office and they told me flat out that they had paid seven thousand dollars to a friend, a US citizen friend to sponsor them for a green card based on a fake marriage. I honestly have never had that happen before and I have to tell you I was quite surprised. I was surprised that someone was that honest. I was surprised that they had the nerve to tell me. I was surprised that they were even thinking about how to get back at their US citizen spouse for not going through with the promise to perpetuate this fraud. I believe what happened is that as the interview date got closer, the US citizen wised up to what they were doing was a crime under federal law and they didn’t want to go through with it. That’s a good thing.

You shouldn’t file fake immigration cases. It’s one of the worst things you can do. It can prevent you from getting any kind of benefit whatsoever. In addition, it also makes it harder on all the good people who want to get a green card the right way who have a valid marriage. It’s bec of people that pay off other people to get them a green card that cases are harder for regular folks who are just trying to do the right thing. I was quite upset with this person. I held my anger and I told her that this is not a good thing that you did and you should be glad that you’re not going through with it anymore. My advice to her was that she should withdraw this fraud and the petition. Now that leaves her out of status and she’s been out of status for a really long time which is probably why she went ahead and paid for this. Here’s the thing folks, don’t assume that immigration lawyers are going to help you with your fraudulent fake marriage cases. That’s not our job. That’s not what we’re here for. Our job is to help the people who have legitimate claims for lawful permanent resident status for people that are married to real life citizens and have real life marriages.

We want to make sure that we’re not poisoning the well and making immigration think that we file for those claims. We don’t file for those claims. We don’t file fake claims and this person is exactly the kind of person that makes life difficult for the rest of the applicants. Obviously it should go without saying that you should never file a fraudulent marriage based case. Immigration will find out about it. We’ve had many cases in the office recently where immigration has found out about it and so if you are considering filing for a green card, it has to be legitimate. It has to be a real marriage based on what? Love. Nothing else. Not for an immigration benefit. Not because it’s convenient. Not because they want to be able to keep working. We get married for one reason and one reason alone and that reason is love. Don’t listen to anybody who tells you otherwise. Don’t engage in immigration fraud. This couple was headed to a denial. They were headed to a finding that the immigrant beneficiary had engaged in fraud, that the US citizen had engaged in fraud, they could be criminally prosecuted and they sure as heck weren’t going to get a green card.

That knowledge is an expensive lesson. I can’t believe that someone would pay that or would engage in such behavior. If you have such a case, don’t take it to this law office. We don’t have any interest in it. We’re not about filing fake immigration cases. Some people think that the only reason you need a lawyer is when you have a fake immigration case and that’s completely wrong. I’m sure that the vast majority of fraudulent immigration cases are filed by people who don’t have attorneys. Any reputable attorney would turn it down. We do sometimes hear about attorneys who don’t but I’ll tell you this right now.

Don’t ever come in here and try to pedal a fake immigration case past us. We’ll figure it out and immigration will figure it out and you’ll get deported if not, sent to jail first. That’s our lesson for today. Enough pontificating. We’re not here to berate you or to make you mad. Rather we want to educate you on the perils and the problems associated with filing a fake immigration case. Do you so at your peril. You will get caught, you will get punished, and you deserve it. All right. If you have any questions give us a call. 314-961-8200. We’d love to help you out with any legitimate spouse cases.

In the meantime, make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel. That you like us on Facebook. We also have a Facebook group where we post news and immigration related issues on our Facebook group. It’s called Immigrant Home. So if you want to do a search for Immigrant Home you can find it on there. Otherwise, feel free to email us Or you can call us at 3149618200. Thanks a lot. Peace.


How Immigration Interviews Are Like A Concert


Jim Hacking: How is an immigration interview like a high school musical concert? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, Immigration Lawyer, practicing law throughout the United States. Today I was meeting with my clients, getting them ready to file their spouse visa application. They’re excited about getting it on file, but they did have some concerns about the interview itself, and so we talked about how the interview goes. About what happens, how you get sworn in, and put under oath, and how they ask for all your identifying documents. How they ask for all your other supporting documents for the application, and this principle that I’m going to talk about today really applies to all kinds of immigration cases. It doesn’t just apply to spouse cases, but in any event, I was trying to explain to them what it’s like for the officer to be receiving all of the evidence, and so obviously, I’ve never been an immigration officer, but I have been in hundreds of interviews.
I’ve had the chance to observe officers, and see their reactions, and how they respond to various answers, and to various evidence that is presented to them, and so I thought I would make this video to explain it to you the way I explain it to my clients. The way I sort of set it out is that in a lot of ways, an immigration interview is like a musical concert, and I have been spending a lot of time at my son’s various year end holiday concerts, and so the metaphor seemed apt, and so in these situations, you always have one of the high school kids. The music is sounding great, and then every now and then, you hear a wrong note, and if there’s a collection of wrong notes, then you’re sort of scratching your head and saying, “What is it about this song? What is it about this band? What’s going on? Who’s making that noise?”
It’s not what the person receiving the information or the music is expecting, so an immigration interview is a lot like that, so when you go in for your interview, you want to hit every note perfectly, and if your notes are off, if you have a combination of notes, if you strike one bad note after another, it’s going to end up with a very bad, messy interview. What do I mean by that? Well, the example we were talking about today in our meeting was driver’s licenses, so sometimes people will go to their interview and the couple may have just recently moved in together, and one or both of them may not have gotten around to updating their address on their driver’s license, so when the officer starts off the interview by reviewing their identifying documents, they look at the driver’s licenses and here you have two people, who say that they’re married, who are asking for an immigration benefit, yet they have two different addresses.

Now there might be logistical or legal reasons for this, but this is a bad note. Another bad note is when you come without all your documents. If you don’t have your original birth certificate with you or if you don’t have the original marriage certificate. These are all notes that cause the officer to pause, and we don’t want our immigration officers pausing. We want them to be going along quickly and as smoothly as possible, because when they pause, they think. When they think, they think of more questions to ask. Our job, as immigration attorneys, is to be the conductor. We want to orchestrate a interview that sounds perfect, that sounds great. Obviously, we’re always telling our clients to tell the truth, but there are really tons of reasons why the way you present yourself, the way you sound with your answers, the answers that you give, the evidence that you bring, all these things contribute to a good concert, a good interview, so make sure that you don’t sing the wrong note. That you don’t hit the wrong note.

Don’t bring in bad evidence. Don’t make it easy for them to deny your case. You want to do everything you can to have your case tracked the way that they’re used to receiving their cases, so you’re going to want to have all of your evidence lined up. You want to know all your dates. You’re not going to have any fumbling around, looking through documents, all that stuff. You really want to put on a show for the officer.

Obviously, you’re always telling the truth, and being truthful, and honest, and thorough as you can, but at the same time, there is a little bit of professionalism and good work that you bring when you go to an interview properly, so if you have any questions about this, if you want to know how we can help you sound a better tune at your immigration interview, be sure to give us a call at 314-961-8200 or you can email us at

If you liked this video, be sure to hit the like button below and subscribe to our YouTube Channel. We’re heading towards 900 subscribers and we’re really excited about that. We want to get as many subscriptions on, so that you guys can find out whenever we update the YouTube Channel. Thanks a lot and have a great day.


Can a conviction for soliciting a prostitute keep me from getting my citizenship?

Prostitution is considered a “conditional bar” to establishing good moral character. INA § 101(f) and 8 CFR 316.10.

The USCIS website’s help center says, “[a]ny person coming to the United States to engage in prostitution, or any person who has engaged in prostitution within ten years of his or her application for a visa, adjustment of status, or entry into the United States, is inadmissible. This section also applies to those who have made a profit from prostitution.”

However, the Policy Manual, volume 12, chapter 5, part F, says that engaging in prostitution once, doesn’t fall within their definition of engaging in prostitution. Part F states:

“An applicant may not establish GMC if he or she has engaged in prostitution, procured or attempted to procure or to import prostitutes or persons for the purpose of prostitution, or received proceeds from prostitution during the statutory period. The BIA has held that to “engage in” prostitution, one must have engaged in a regular pattern of behavior or conduct. The BIA has also determined that a single act of soliciting prostitution on one’s own behalf is not the same as procurement.”

From that language, it seems that a client won’t be barred per se for participating once in prostitution. However, an applicant still needs to demonstrate five years of good moral standing to qualify for naturalization, as found in chapter 9 of the Policy Manual. So hopefully a client’s act of prostitution, when taken into account with their other acts, is not enough for them to fail their good moral standing test.

2016 American Nobel Prize Winners are Immigrants

At a time when immigration is in the spotlight and under attack by many critics, it is ironic that all but one of the 2016 American Nobel Prize laureates are immigrants. Laureate is the title given to those who have been honored for creative or intellectual achievements, and this is exactly what the Nobel Prize is awarded for.

The intellectual value that immigrants bring to American academics goes relatively unnoticed by critics like Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who throughout his campaign has proposed a crackdown on immigration.

Sir J. Fraser Stoddart, an honoree in chemistry from Scotland, says the United States is what it is today because of open borders. Moreover, he accredits American openness with the bringing of top scientists to the country and says that the scientific establishment in America can only remain strong “as long as we don’t enter an era where we turn our back on immigration.”

Trump has centered his campaign around two things that appeal to a particular segment of the American population: stricter immigration policies and the revocation of free trade deals, both of which would apparently rescind the negative effects globalization has had on the job market.

While Trump wants to strengthen immigration laws and has proposed “extreme vetting” of potential immigrants from countries with a history of terrorism, others have said that the current immigration process is already too strenuous. Duncan Haldane, an English Princeton University research who won the prize in physics, called the process a “bureaucratic nightmare for many people.”

The fact that so many top American scholars are immigrants defies the common consensus that the immigration process only feeds the low-skilled job market. Critics of immigration accuse immigrants of taking low skilled in-demand jobs from Americans, but overlook the fact that they contribute greatly to American research and education.

As the presidential election approaches rapidly and immigration continues to be viewed under a microscope, it is important to acknowledge the plethora of benefits immigrants bring to American society. Hopefully, the large number of immigrant laureates is a gentle reminder to voters of this fact.



USCIS backlogs prevent thousands from voting

If only they would follow the rules. This is what many citizens will say of undocumented immigrants, claiming that if they only followed the established immigration process to the letter, they wouldn’t have any issues. This is an understandable assumption, but we see with cases like that of Rudy Zamora, this isn’t always the case. Mr. Zamora, an immigrant from Mexico, is proof that the current immigration process doesn’t always work as it is intended to.

Mr. Zamora has spent his entire life as a bystander in elections rather than a participant and when he was finally able to legally submit his naturalization paperwork, he did. Yet, backlogs in naturalization processing prevented him from voting in the Nevada caucuses, an election that a reasonable person would say he applied in time for.

There are many cases similar to that of Mr. Zamora. In fact, over half a million immigrants who applied for naturalization months ago are still waiting on their answer and are coming to terms with the fact that they most likely won’t hear back before the November election. The significance of this is that despite the fact that the next president will play a huge role in their lives, they do not get a voice in who that person may be. Moreover, whether thousands of immigrants can vote or not will significantly affect the outcome of the election due to the candidates’ drastically different views on immigration.

There has been a swell in state level applications, specifically a 31.2% increase, at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that has led to a backlog that will prevent many from casting their vote.

A spokesperson from the USCIS claims that the agency is on track to meet its goal of processing applications between five and seven months, but he acknowledges that there has been a significant increase in applications across the board. The additional time it may take for particular applications depends on the processing times of specific state offices.

Diving deeper into the fluctuation of naturalization application processing times reveals that it is not uncommon for volume to spike around election time. However, the spike this year is more extreme than in the past because of the particular political climate. While one presidential nominee plans to crack down on immigration, the other nominee aspires to streamline the process and offer a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. With this in mind, it makes sense that this election is especially pertinent to immigrants.

These additional votes that could be cast could have a significant impact in the election, especially in swing states like Florida, which has more than 66,100 applications pending and consistently wavers between blue and red.

Luckily, it does appear that the USCIS is taking steps to expedite processing times through actions such as sending additional staff to offices with backlogs as well as authorizing overtime for these offices.  

The fact of the matter is that this type of backlog should never hinder a person from expressing their opinions through a ballot, yet our country is still in this situation. As the elections creeps closer and closer, more immigrants with pending applications hope and pray they might be able to participate in one of the biggest elections this century has seen.


6 Common Mistakes When Completing N 400 Naturalization Form

What are some tips to consider when filling in the N-400 naturalization application? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking,

Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer, practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. We’ve been filling and filing a lot of N-400s lately. This is the application that you complete in order to apply for citizenship or naturalization. In doing so, we came across some tips and some suggestions for you that we think are really helpful.

Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer, practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. We’ve been filling and filing a lot of N-400s lately. This is the application that you complete in order to apply for citizenship or naturalization. In doing so, we came across some tips and some suggestions for you that we think are really helpful.

Number one is definitely take your time. You don’t want to be rushing through it. You don’t want to be making mistakes and filling it out haphazardly. You want to make sure that all the information provided is correct.

One way to do that is another tip, which is to gather all the documents ahead of time that you’re going to need. You’re going to need our birth certificate, your driver’s license, your green card, all your other identifying documents. Marriage certificates, any other documents. There’s going to be information on there. Your passport. All these things are the kinds of information that you’re going to need in order to prepare an N-400 correctly.

Another tip is to read each question carefully. I know it sounds simple, but you have to keep in mind that once you get past the basic biographic information, that you’re answering questions that are all designed to determine whether or not you might not be eligible for naturalization. There are a lot of what we would call silly questions, or strange questions, or questions that people think the answers are obvious. You may get in the habit of just clicking no, no, no, no, no. Or boxing out no, no, no in answering each of the questions. It’s really important that you look at each question, think about it, and you answer it correctly and accurately.

One place we see this is the question that the ask about citations or arrests. Immigration treats traffic citations as a citation. Any kind of interaction with law enforcement, you’re going to want to make sure to get those records and to do that ahead of time. If you don’t bring them to your interview, your case is going to get delayed. You want to be able to provide accurate information about what the disposition was of any traffic or criminal matters.

The N-400 itself looks pretty simple, although it has now grown to over 20 pages and there are a lot and lot of questions on there. It would be easy to get into a rhythm of just answering the questions no all the time. You don’t want to do that. You want to take your time and make sure to examine each one carefully.

Another thing that you want to keep in mind is that you want to make it as neat as possible. You should do it on the computer if possible. You also want to keep a copy of the N-400. You want to make sure that you have a record of what you submitted to the Immigration Service.

When you’re done completing your N-400, you’re going to want to definitely send it by some kind of trackable mail. You’re going to want to make sure that you send it by Federal Express, or UPS, or the postal service with a tracking number so that you can confirm that it was, in fact, received by the Immigration Service.

Another mistake people sometimes make is they file too early. Make sure that you don’t file too early. You have to wait a full 5 years of having a lawful permanent resident status. Unless you’re married to a US citizen, then you can apply after 3 years. The law does allow you to apply 90 days early. Make sure that you don’t send it in too early, or you’re going to get it sent back and you’re not going to be able to … You’re going to waste your time and your money on that postage fee.

These are some tips to consider with your N-400. Remember and keep in mind that each of the questions is important and is designed to determine whether or not you are eligible to become a US citizen. If you’ve had a green card interview, you’ve been through the process, you sort of know how it is. If you haven’t been through a green card interview, then the Immigration Service is going to look at this as your one chance to really inquire as to whether or not you deserve to be in the United States and whether or not you get to be a US citizen. Make sure to take it very seriously. Don’t make mistakes.

If you have any questions about filling out the form, we don’t fill out forms here at the office, but we will be happy to help you and represent you in the N-400 naturalization context. In our experience, it’d be foolish to file an N-400 on your own if you have any kind of yeses, if you have a lot of yeses on the criminal issues, or multiple marriages, of your immigration status was questionable at times.

You want to make sure to consult a knowledgeable immigration attorney, whether that’s us or someone else. That’s up to you. You definitely don’t want to go into that thing alone because there’s a reason that we go to law school. There’s a reason that we study immigration law. You want to make sure that you put yourself in the best position possible. If you have any questions about this, give us a call at 314-961-8200. Or you can email us, If you liked this video, be sure to click the like button below and to sign up as subscriber to our YouTube channel. Thanks a lot. We’ll see you later.


Miss Universe strikes back

Former Miss Universe Alicia Machado finally has the chance to get back at Republican nominee Donald Trump for the insensitive and disrespectful comments he made to her in the late 1990s. Ms. Machado, a recent U.S. citizen from Venezuela, won the Miss Universe beauty pageant back in 1996 and has since then been a strong opponent of Donald Trump due to the demeaning and racist remarks he made to her following the competition.

Shortly after her victory, Ms. Machado gained a small amount of weight and this led Mr. Trump to refer to her as “Miss Piggy.” Another instance, Mr. Trump called her “Miss Housekeeping,” insulting her Latina heritage.

These events that took place between Trump and Machado happened in the late 1990s, following the 1996 Miss Universe Competition; however, they have resurfaced this election season because, first and most obviously: Trump is the Republican Presidential Nominee.

Secondly, though, Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton called Trump out and defended Machado at the first debate this past September, when she said “Donald, she has a name. Her name is Alicia Machado. And she has become a US citizen and you can bet she is going to vote this November.” Machado later tearfully thanked Clinton for her defense against Trump’s “Miss Piggy” remarks.



Trump’s supporters have attempted to thwart Ms. Machado’s credibility through digging up ancient accusations against her, but she has continued to fervently speak out against Trump. As reported on the Hacking Law Practice website back in June, this former Miss Universe got her US citizenship with the intent of voting against Trump, wanting to take a mature path in opposing a Trump presidency.

Just as Ms. Machado, anyone and everyone should exercise their right to vote if they are able. If you are not a US citizen however, you may not register vote, that is a deportable offense. Unfortunately for Trump, Ms. Machado, and many others who have been offended by his disrespectful words, are preparing to cast their ballot for perhaps one of the most unusual elections America has seen in many years.

When a US Citizen Passes Away

What if I apply for citizenship after three years and my US citizen spouse passes away?

We had this situation arise recently and I was really surprised when I did the research to find out what the rule is.

We have a couple that we represented a long time ago. We helped them get a marriage based green card. This is actually one of the first same-sex couples in St. Louis to get a green card based on marriage. We were very fond of both of these clients. When the whole case was over, they had taken us out to lunch and we became good friends over the years. This was about three years ago.

Recently, our non-US citizen spouse, the foreign national with the green card, was getting ready to apply for citizenship. Around the time that he became eligible, which is three years after getting his green card … If you’re married to a US citizen and you got your green card based on marriage, if you have that, then you can apply after three years. As apposed to the general rule, which is that you have to wait five years of having your green card to apply for citizenship. We began to prepare the paperwork.

At that point, the US citizen passed away. We were very sad. We were very sad that he died and that our foreign national client was left alone. He, too, is very sad. It’s been a tough situation.

We thought, without doing the research, that he’d be able to go ahead and apply for naturalization after three years because the marriage had ended through no fault of his own. He loved his husband. There was really no reason, we thought, that the rule shouldn’t apply. But when I did the research, lo and behold, it is the rule that the US citizen has to be alive up until the time that the person actually naturalizes.

There’s a similar rule when you apply based on marriage and the marriage ends in divorce. If you apply after three years, but you get divorced before the oath ceremony or at any time during the process, you can’t get your citizenship. You have to wait the full five years.

Now, luckily in this case, we had filed already and we didn’t lose the filing fee. But we were surprised to find out that a foreign national who’s married to a US citizen and has that US citizen spouse pass away, is ineligible to apply after three years. The marriage has to be ongoing at the time that the person gets naturalized. We were very surprised by this. We were sad to tell our client. It’s all good. He’s going to wait the whole five years and he’ll be fine once he gets it, but we were surprised that he wasn’t going to be able to get his citizenship at this time.

If you have any questions about when to apply for citizenship, whether you should apply after three or five years, or if your marriage is going through rocky times, or if your spouse passes away, make sure to give us a call at 314-961-8200. We’d be happy to explain it all to you, walk you through it. We hope this video helped. If you did like this video, please click liked. And also, please make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you get updates whenever we post new videos. Thanks a lot. Have a good day.


Don’t vote in this election


Hey everybody. I just got back from immigration and I thought I’d shoot this short video, because I’ve been worried about something. The deadline for registering to vote throughout the United States is coming up pretty shortly, and I want to make sure that you know who can and who can’t vote. It’s very, very important that if you are not a US citizen that you do not register to vote. Registering to vote can be a deportable offense. It can be very serious. We’ve had many cases in this office and in offices around the country where people mistakenly registered to vote. If you have a green card, you cannot register to vote. You cannot vote. If you have a work permit, you cannot register to vote. You cannot vote. If you have asylum, you cannot register to vote, and you cannot vote. The only people who can vote and the only people who can register to vote are US citizens, so don’t make that mistake.

One time I was volunteering with some other immigration lawyers, and we were talking about all the problems that immigrants get into when they register for citizenship too early. A young man came in and he said that one day he was at home making breakfast, and somebody knocked on the door and they said, “Sir, it’s time for you to register to vote.” He filled out a registration form. Then of course, after he filled out his registration form, what did he get in the mail? He got a voter ID card. Mm-hmm (affirmative). Then when the next election came down, he went down to the election board and he voted. This poor man, even though he was just a green card holder, should never have registered to vote, and he should never have voted, but he voted.

Now, some people would say that everybody should know that only US citizens can vote, but some people get confused. Sometimes when you register for your new driver’s license they tell you, “It’s time to vote. It’s time to register. You better sign up.” You want to do your job, do your duty, and so you go ahead and register to vote through no fault of your own. Remember, if you’re an asylum holder, if you have a work permit, if you have a green card, if you’re here on a visit and someone tells you register to vote you tell them, “No, no, not now, not until I become a US citizen, not until I’ve had my green card for three or five years, and not until I’ve taken my naturalization exam.” It’s only then that you can apply for citizenship. Don’t apply too early. Don’t screw yourself over, because you’re going to get in big trouble. It’s really hard to undo a false claim to US citizenship even if it’s entirely not your fault.

I hope this video helps you out, and if you have any questions give us a call here the Hacking Law Practice, 314-961-8200, or you can email me at Thanks. If you like this video make sure that you sign-up to register to get a subscription to our YouTube channel so that whenever we update our videos you get an update. We’ll talk to you later. Remember don’t vote unless you’re a US citizen. Thanks.

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Lawsuit Helps Man Get Naturalized After Three Years of Waiting

This spring, our office was hired by a young man from Bangladesh.  The man was living in Chicago, working for a Fortune 500 company.  Despite his corporate success, his naturalization case was being delayed by USCIS.  The man had waited over three years to swear his allegiance to the U.S., but he could not get any answers from USCIS.

The man hired our firm to file a lawsuit in federal court in the Northern District of Illinois.  We sued the director of USCIS, the head of the Chicago field office and the Attorney General of the United States.  The lawsuit was a “mandamus” action and sought a judicial order compelling the agency to decide our client’s long-pending case.


The case had apparently been delayed due to military service that the man had performed back home in Bangladesh.  After we had the defendants served with a copy of the lawsuit, USCIS in Chicago quickly scheduled him for a re-interview to discuss the military issue.

We are happy to report that late last week, our client became a naturalized U.S. citizen.  After waiting more than three years and many efforts to get action his case, the lawsuit we filed for him did, in fact, compel the agency to finally decide the case.