Category: Videos

Can a writ of mandamus help in delayed asylum cases

 

Can a writ of mandamus lawsuit work for people who have delayed asylum cases? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of office here in St. Louis, Missouri. You know one of our favorite things to do here at the Hacking Law Practice is to file lawsuits on behalf of immigrants who’ve been waiting too long for immigration benefits. Typically, we do that in the citizenship context, so probably over a hundred people have benefited from working with us to file lawsuits on their behalf against the USCIS. The way it works is you file a lawsuit, you ask a federal judge who doesn’t work for the immigration service, who’s appointed for life and who is not part of the executive branch, to compel the immigration service to decide a case.

We’ve had people who’ve been waiting for their citizenship for one, two, three, four, five, even nine years benefit from us filing a lawsuit. When you file a lawsuit, it generally requires the USCIS to take the case off the shelf. For some reason, they’ve taken people’s cases and put them up on the shelf, and the lawsuit makes them explain the source of the delay. When delays have gone on for a really, really long time, the agency usually does not want to fight. They just want to move the case forward. We oftentimes get positive movement on the cases, oftentimes scheduling an interview or scheduling an oath ceremony.
We’ve always known that it works in the citizenship context. We’ve also had success, which you can learn about on other videos, when it comes to green card delays. We even had success suing the State Department for delays in processing immigrant visas for the spouses of US citizens. The one thing we’ve never done before is file a mandamus action for someone who had been waiting for asylum. One of the reasons we were reluctant to do that is we weren’t entirely sure, given the fact that the immigration service and the asylum office has so much discretion in granting or denying asylum, we were reluctant to file a lawsuit on the asylum front. We weren’t sure if it was going to work.

About six months ago, we were hired by a very nice couple from Syria who happen to live in Michigan. They had filed for asylum in December of 2012. They had their interview just a few months later, which is unusual, but it does happen. Sometimes, randomly, certain asylum cases get assigned very quickly to an interview. Their interview happened literally six weeks after they filed. The interview was in January of 2013, and at the time that they hired us in October of 2016, they had been waiting for three and a half years for their decision. They had done everything they could do to try to get help. They had contacted the CIA ombudsman. They had contacted their senators and representatives in Michigan, and they had made numerous InfoPass appointments, and they just couldn’t get any movement.

One thing to keep in mind is this couple had hired the largest immigration law firm in the country. If I told you their name, you’d have heard of them. They have offices around the country and around the world. I think generally they specialize more in business immigration, and while they did take this asylum case, when I reviewed the paperwork that had been filed, I didn’t think they had done a very job. Specifically, what I complained about was the fact that the statement that was submitted in support of the asylum application was all over the map. It wasn’t very focused. It left a lot of things wide open and a lot of issues for inquiry by the asylum officer.

I talked to my client about how the initial interview had gone. He said that it had gone very well, that the officer had talked to them for about an hour, which is also unusual, and that the asylum case, he was told by the officer, would be approved in a couple of months. None of that made real sense. Nonetheless, we decided to file a lawsuit. We filed suit in Chicago, because that’s where our client’s asylum case was pending. We filed it in federal court. We served copies on the defendants, and pretty quickly, he got rescheduled for another interview. That was last January. I attended the interview with my clients. It was a long day. My client had a lot to say, and they had a lot of ground to cover. They were revisiting and reissuing focus on the case and the questions that had been answered back in 2013, and they wanted to make sure that my client had not supported any kind of groups that the United States was worried about in Syria.
When the interview was over, we thought that we had done a good job and that we would be getting a decision shortly.

It turns out that we had to wait a little bit longer. Now, the defendants had a certain amount of time to answer the lawsuit. Typically, it’s 60 days, but because they were working with us, we had given them some extensions and were coming up against a new deadline. I got a call from the US attorney who was defending the lawsuit to tell me that, lo and behold, the immigration service, the asylum office, wanted to interview our client one more time. Now, I took this as a good sign, because I figured if they wanted to deny the case, they wouldn’t call us back in for another interview, but that’s in fact what they did. This week, we went up to Chicago and had a third interview on the asylum case. It was relatively quick, but it was about an hour long.

One thing the attorney had told me when he called was that he was willing to promise that we would leave the asylum office that day with a decision. It was a very stressful day for my client and for me. We went through that hour-long third interview, and then they asked us to wait so they could talk to the supervisor. They had a few more questions after that, and then we had to wait a few hours while they issued their decision. We spent that time pacing back and forth in the asylum office. It was back like when I had trial work, and I was waiting on a jury. I really wasn’t sure which way it was going to go. The officer didn’t want to come out and see us herself. She had the lady at the front window give us the decision, so we’re sitting there waiting for the decision. It was very suspenseful. I was very worried.

The decision was sitting across from us. I couldn’t tell what it said. I was pretty sure that it was going to be a denial, but the agent happily told us that our client had been approved. His long four-and-a-half year wait for asylum had been granted, that he’d been granted a parole into the United States, and that he was going to be treated as an asylee, that a year from now, he can apply for a green card, and then five years after that, he can apply for citizenship. This happened on a day that there was a horrible gas attack in Syria, so it only led more importance and significance to the victory. We were very, very excited for our client and his wife and his two lovely US citizen daughters. They’re not going to have to go back to Syria or to leave the United States. It was quite a victory, and we’re really happy for our clients.

Lesson learned. If an asylum case has been pending for a really, really long time … It’s not going to work in every case, and I would say a delay of two or three or four years is sort of the minimum before we file a lawsuit, but to know that the immigration service, the asylum office, and the US attorneys will work with us on asylum cases is a very valuable lesson.

If you have experienced delay in any kind of immigration case, whether it’s citizenship, green cards, visas, anything, make sure to give us a call at the Hacking Law Practice, 314-961-8200. You can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. If you like this video, be sure to click the subscribe button below. Give us a like and a shout out on social media. We’d really appreciate it. It’s a big help. If you have questions that you want us to cover, just feel free to email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com, and we’ll try to shoot a video for you. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

 

Big Win at Immigration for Happily Married Couple

When a US citizen marries a foreign national, they can sponsor their spouse for a green card.

If the couple has been married less than two years when the green card is approved, then the foreign national only receives a two-year, temporary green card.

Before the 2-year green card expires, the couple must submit a form called an I-751 form to the immigration service. They have to demonstrate that they are still married and the marriage is real.

If the couple fails to submit this form, the foreign national can lose their status and even end up in deportation proceedings.

Early last year, our law firm was hired to represent a U.S. citizen and his wife. They are both originally from Kosovo.

They have three children and they have lived together every day since they were married.

This couple did file the I 751 on time, but they failed to respond to a request for additional evidence from USCIS. As a result, USCIS denied their I-751 petition.

This couple happens to be members of the Islamic faith. They dress in traditional Muslim garb. S it is not entirely surprising that USCIS sent the woman to deportation court.

This is a bit upsetting, however, given the fact that we have had many clients who come to see us after having not filed there I 751 on time, but without ever being placed in removal. We had a Canadian client who filed it nine years late and he was not placed into removal.

To the best of our recollection, this is the only couple that we have ever had actually sent to deportation for this failure to follow the rules.

After the deportation proceedings began, the couple hired us to try and help.

We filed a new i-751 and submitted a lot of evidence that the couple is still married. The best evidence, of course, is the fact that they have 3 U.S. citizen children between them.

The immigration judge put the deportation case on hold while USCIS decided what to do with the new submission from our office. Last week, we went to a 10 minute interview at the St.Louis field office of USCIS and the case was approved on the spot by one of the supervisors.

We will now be able to take that approval notice and get the deportation case stopped.

We are very happy for a client, especially the wife who has been afraid to go visit her mother back home because of the pending deportation case. Now, she will be able to go visit her family. Our client is also eligible to apply for citizenship now.

What Happens After You File a Lawsuit Against USCIS

What happens after you file a law suit against the Immigration Service for delaying your case? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri.

We get this question a lot. A lot of people are sometimes on the fence about whether or not to sue USCIS, and the FBI, and other agencies regarding delays in their immigration cases, and we wanted to shoot this video to explain to you what happens, what the process is like.

In our office, we have filed probably 60 or 70 of these cases at the present time, and we have a pretty good system for getting them out. What we do is we craft the complaint to set out the facts of your case to explain why your immigration case has been taking so long, and, most importantly, all the efforts that you’ve made to try to get the case decided without filing a law suit. We list those kinds of things that people do, like file info pass appointments, calling their Congress person or their Senator, calling the USCIS ombudsman, all the different things that you can do to try to make your case go faster. Usually those don’t work and they’re left with having to decide whether or not to file a law suit.

We draft the complaint, because you want the court to know that you’ve made good efforts to try to get your case decided. Some people wonder, “How long is a wait too long? When should I start thinking about filing a law suit,” and we generally recommend that you don’t file a Mandamas Action or a delay action under the Administrative Procedures Act until about a year has gone by. It usually takes us a couple days to put the law suit together, and then we file it in federal court.

The filing fee in federal court right now is $400. That’s always subject to change, but it’s $400 to get the law suit on file, and after we file the law suit, we file it electronically, and the good thing about federal law is that we can generally file it anywhere around the country, but lately we’ve been filing them in Washington, DC. The DC court has more experience in handling these cases. The US Attorneys up there are more easy to deal with, easier to deal with, and we generally have a good experience so far with the DC District Court.

After the law suit is on file, the court issues what are called summons, and a summons is a notice to a defendant that they’ve been sued. Typically in our cases, we sue the US Department of Homeland Security, US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the heads of those agencies as well as the head of the FBI, and the FBI itself for delays in processing mostly citizenship cases, but, also, green card and VISA type cases.

The defendants might change, depending on what kind of case we have, but the process after that is pretty much the same. After the court issues summons and have them signed by the clerk of court, we then attach that to the summons and a copy of the law suit, and we send it by certified mail to the defendants. It usually takes them about ten days or two weeks to get the law suits, and then, at that point, the defendants have 60 days to file their response. In most instances, the government does not respond much until towards the end of those 60 days.

If you serve them let’s say on March 1st, then you’re generally going to hear something from them about the end of April, and usually what they do is they tell you what their plan is, but that is what gets the ball rolling, because, at that point, there’s now an Assistant US Attorney or Department of Justice attorney who is going to have to defend that law suit, and typically what they do is they contact their people at USCIS and Homeland Security, and they figure out what’s going on with the case. They figure out if they want to fight or if they want to just proceed with the case. It usually involves them scheduling someone for an interview, and then the case is really underway.

That’s the process from start to finish, from the time that you hire us and we draft the complaint and we file the law suit, and then typically there’s then another interview or an original interview, and then the case is handled the same.

The law suits are really effective to getting movement on your cases. If you have a case that’s been delayed, if you want to know about how the process works and are thinking about getting started with suing Immigration Service yourself in federal court, make sure to give us a call at 314-961-8200. You can email us at info@HackingLawPractice.com.

We hope you like this video. If you did, make sure that you leave us a comment or review, and then make sure that you subscribe to our YouTube channel or join our Facebook group, so that we can keep you posted as to any new videos that we submit.

Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

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 info@hackinglawpractice.com. Or you can call us at 3149618200. Thanks a lot. Peace.

 

Does Mandamus Only Work in Delayed Citizenship Cases?

Do mandamus lost its only work and citizenship cases?

Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis Missouri. We’ve had a lot of success in suing the federal government, USCIS, and the Department of Homeland Security when our clients’ naturalization cases have taken too long.

The law says that if you’ve had your naturalization interview and 120 days have gone by, that you can go into federal court and ask a federal judge who doesn’t work for the immigration service to order the immigration service to decide your case, or the judge can decide on his or her own initiative whether or not you get to become a citizen.

The immigration service doesn’t like it when you sue them and they don’t like the idea that a federal judge will take their job from them. When you file a lawsuit, typically what happens in most cases is, they decide to decide the case. The case gets moving and cases that have been waiting for two, three, or four years can finally get resolved. That law, regarding the 120 days, is pretty black letter and the immigration service doesn’t have a lot of wiggle room. One of the tricks they try is they don’t schedule the interview right away.

Sometimes we’re filing lawsuits for naturalization applicants who have never had their interview because that doesn’t start that 120 day clock and that’s why they do it. We have had success in getting those cases moving. They’re not as highly successful as the ones where there’s been an actual interview, but we’ve probably filed suit on behalf of about 70 people who’ve been waiting for citizenship and the lawsuits generally work. They don’t work in every case, but they work in most cases. We wondered whether or not we’d be able to file these kinds of lawsuits and other cases in the immigration context, cases in which the naturalization was not an issue, but rather someone could get a green card.

One day a young man came to see me and he had filed his own mandamus against the immigration service because his green card case had been pending too long. They hadn’t scheduled him for an interview and his case had been pending for two years. He and his wife were getting frustrated that every time they went down to the immigration office that they couldn’t get any answers. He figured out how to draft a lawsuit and filed it on his own in federal court. We don’t recommend this.

Filing a mandamus action is actually pretty tricky, and the government was starting to play games with him, trying to change venue and filing a motion to dismiss and all these things. We wanted to see what would happen and we took this case. It turns out that the lawsuit worked almost the exact same way in the green card context as it did in the citizenship context. Since that time, we’ve probably filed 10 green card delay lawsuits and we’ve had a lot of good success with that.

Then one day a lady came to see me and she was wondering about her husband’s visa case. He was from Pakistan and his case had been pending for two years. We told her that she should sue them. She was sort of skittish and worried about suing them, so she didn’t do it. A year later she came back and now she’d been waiting three years. We told her, “You should sue the state department”. We had done some research and figured out that you could, in fact, sue the state department in federal court in the United States for a delay at an embassy overseas.

She was still skittish and still scared, so she decided not to do it. The fourth year she came back and she said, “Okay Jim, let’s go ahead and sue”. We filed the lawsuit and within 90 days after filing the lawsuit, her husband was in the United States with an approved visa. This was remarkable and it only happened because we filed the lawsuit. Now we know, and we have filed subsequently more lawsuits against the state department for delays in the issuance of a visa.

Last month, we filed a lawsuit over a four year delay on an asylum case. We’re very interested to see how this case works. It’s a lawsuit against a Chicago asylum office where a man has been waiting for four years for his asylum case to be approved. These are the kinds of things that you can do with a mandamus lawsuit. Not every immigration lawyer is familiar with the rules of federal court and filing lawsuits. I had been a litigator for 10 years before I started practicing immigration law, so I feel very comfortable in federal court, in the procedures, and the filing requirements, all those things.

We’re going to file a new lawsuit today over in Ohio. We’re excited about that, for a young man who’s been waiting for citizenship for two and a half years. These lawsuits work. They don’t work every time, but they work in a lot of the situations.

If you’ve been experiencing some kind of immigration delay, make sure to give us a call at 314-961-8200. You can also e-mail us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. We hope you like this video, that you found it instructive.

If you have any questions about it, make sure to reach out to us. Make sure also, please to like this video down below. If you want to subscribe to our Youtube and Facebook channels, that would be great. You’ll get updates whenever we upload a new video.

Here’s What To Do After You Get Your Asylum Interview Notice

What do I do after I receive my asylum interview notice?

Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. You know, a lot of the videos that I shoot, that we make, are based on current situations at our office, questions that come up either from clients or potential clients. We have a very interesting situation here in the office that just occurred. We have a fair number of asylum cases for clients from Iraq right now. Probably in our office, we’re handling about fifteen of these, and some of them have been pending for two years or more.

Last week, we got not one, not two but three asylum interview notices for the same day, and so we are working with each of our clients to prepare them for their interview and to gather the supplemental documents that we want to submit prior to the interview. It’s a very interesting time here. It’s very hectic so I’m going to shoot this video as quickly as I can. Basically, I wanted to talk to you about what we do to get ready for that final interview. The one thing that we do first and foremost is we meet with our client again. We go over the statement that we submitted, so whenever we file an I-589 asylum application, we always send in a long statement from our clients detailing why they fear persecution if they return back home.

The first thing we do is we review the statement with them and we go over it line by line with them, and we do that a couple of times to make sure that they’re comfortable, to refresh their recollection. As I mentioned, many of the time, these people had filed these two years or more ago. They probably haven’t really read up on it or paid attention to exactly what’s going on day to day in their home country so we want to prepare them for the interview because when they go to the interview, usually we don’t say that much as the attorneys involved. We really want our clients to stand on their own two feet, to be able to demonstrate and explain to the officer why they feel they need asylum and protection from persecution back home.

We spend a lot of time obviously preparing the clients for that interview. The other things we do is we start gathering supplemental evidence so again the evidence that we submitted two years ago might not be timely, and especially with countries like Iraq or where things are happening quickly and sides are changing and cities are falling, all these things are important to bring up, especially as we particularize them to our client’s case.

For instance, if we have a Sunni Muslim who doesn’t want to join ISIS, then we’re going to want to demonstrate what’s happening to Sunni Muslims who don’t join ISIS these days, so we want to make everything fresh and contemporary and updated, and we also want to go through and highlight all of that in the supplemental application memo so that the officer has an easy time going through the evidence and they understand why our client still feels they’re going to be persecuted if they return back home.

The two big things are to prepare for the interview by going over your statement, recollecting why you feel you’re going to be persecuted if you go back home, and the other one is to make sure that you’re submitting supplemental evidence, updated Human Rights Watch reports, State Department Country Conditions reports and any kind of news reports that apply to the situation in your home country. The tricky thing with asylum is that you wait and wait and wait for months and years and then when you get the notice, you basically have about two weeks to get your materials together and we like to submit them ahead of time, so they’re actually going out right now, as we speak, to the officer before they come to the interview.

If you have any questions about getting ready for your asylum interview or if you’re thinking about applying for asylum or you’re wondering whether or not you’re going to be able to show a credible fear of future persecution if you return back home, be sure to give us a call at 314-961-8200 or you can email us at jim@hackinglawpractice.com.

If you liked this video, be sure to click Like below and subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you get updated whenever we post new videos. Thanks a lot and we hope to see you soon. Bye, bye.

Don’t Use a Notario or Friend for Immigration Help!

Should I use a notario or friend to help me fill out my immigration forms? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States.

We want to begin this video by talking about what exactly is a notario, or a notary. A lot of time, in immigrant communities, you’ll see people hang out a shingle that says, “Immigration Forms, Forms and Taxes, Taxes and Forms, Immigration Help Here.” The person who hangs out the form is not an attorney. What you should know first and foremost, that this is the unauthorized practice of law. These people are breaking the law by claiming to be able to help you fill out forms. The law is designed to protect you. The law is designed to protect the immigrant from people what claim to know how to fill out forms.

We have seen many, many, many cases, far too many cases get denied or really, really screwed up because of bad advice that a notario, or a notary, or a friend, has given to an immigrant in completing their forms. The first problem is is that immigration is a whole lot more than just filling out form. A lot of people think that it’s just a matter of checking boxes and filling in information. The thing that is important is that each of the questions on most immigration forms, other than the biographical information, each of those questions are designed to address a particular area of the law within immigration. A statue, a law, or a regulation, that sets forth why someone may or may not be entitled to the immigration benefits sought.

Now, notarios, they just want your money. They just want to get your money in their pocket and to fill out the form as quickly as possible. We routinely see and hear about cases in which a notario fills out forms for someone, and the person is clearly not eligible for the benefits sought. The application is then denied, and the immigrant finds themselves not only with a denied immigration form, with the loss of the money that they paid to the notario, but sadly, they find themselves in deportation. This is one of the big ways that notarios can really screw up your case.

Another thing is that because they don’t know the law, they sometimes say things in your application, or they tell you to fill out a form a certain way, and that is bad information. We just got off the chat today with someone who said that the notario told them to lie about the fact that their father had been deported. They told them to check the no box instead of the yes box. They were trying to get the father back to the United States. Well, this is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Notarios are not lawyers, they’re not steeped in the law, they haven’t studied the law, and sadly, they make mistakes all the time.

They often prey on the fact that they are of the same immigration background, the same nationality, the same ethnic community as people who are seeking immigration benefits, so very very, very careful in dealing with a notario or anyone that says that they are able to fill out immigration forms. Make sure you see their bar card. Make sure that they’re an attorney. Check out their online reputation. Make sure that they are reputable and that they know what they’re doing.

If you have been screwed over by a notario, or if you feel like you have been taken advantage of, or have given them too much money, or given them money and they gave you bad information, you should really follow-up with your state attorney general. You should really follow-up with your state bar association, because like I said, this is the unauthorized practice of law. These people are taking advantage of the immigrants. They don’t know what they’re doing. They’re going to screw up your case.

I don’t care if you hire me or any other immigration attorney, but you absolutely should not be doing business with a notario. You should instead get competent immigration advice from a good immigration attorney, whether that’s me or somebody else, that’s just fine, but this video is a public service announcement trying to encourage you to stay away from notarios at all costs. They will hurt your chances of staying in the United States. They could get you deported, and they clearly don’t know what they’re doing.

If you have questions about this, give us a call at 314-961-8200, or your can email us infoathackinglawpractice.com. If you like this video, be sure to click the like button. If you want to sign up for our YouTube channel, make sure you subscribe so that you get updates like this video, whenever we send out a new post.

Thanks a lot, and have a great day.

Leaving the US While Your Green Card is Pending

Can I leave the United States after filing my adjustment of status application based on marriage to a US citizen?

Hi, Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. Whenever we file an adjustment of status application, we always make sure to make sure to file some accompanying documents, including an I-131, which is an application for a travel document, an I-765, which is for work authorization, and some other documents identifying the individuals involved in the process. There’s obviously the I-130, petition for an alien relative, and then adjustment of status application.

It usually takes about four months from the date of filing for the non citizen to receive their work card/travel documents. In the old days, these would come as separate documents. The travel document would be a piece of paper with the alien’s face on it, and the work card would be separate. For the last two years or so, USCIS has combined those into a single document. The way it works is after you file the I-130 and the I-45 package, a biometrics notice is sent out after the case has been receded, and the foreign is given an appointment date to go to the local service center and to get fingerprinted.

At that point, there are biometrics completed. Those are the biometrics, and then takes about ninety days for the background check to be completed. During that time, you’re in sort of limbo if you’re the foreign national. If you leave before you get the work card and the travel document in the mail, then you are most likely going to be deemed to have abandoned your adjustment of status application. At that point, that becomes a real problem. We recently had a situation where someone did just that. Her father got sick, and she had to leave the United States. Now she’s being forced to [council 00:01:50] her process. That is, she’s going to have to go through the consulate back home in China and deal with the State Department and the National Visa Center and all those other aspects of immigration that make life a little bit more difficult when you’re trying to come from overseas.

Generally, it’s a bad idea to leave before your travel document arrives. The USCIS doesn’t like it. It makes your case very complicated. It slows things down. Obviously, you’re not going to be able to come back into the United States until your I-130’s improved, and you go through the [counselor 00:02:23] process. Think long and hard before leaving the United States. If you haven’t gotten your travel document, a lot of times, especially married couples will have travel plans. Sometimes we have to tell them that perhaps those plans need to be changed. There aren’t many ways to expedite the travel document. The process takes as long as it takes. Sometimes USCIS does take the full ninety or even a hundred days to issue that travel document.

If you have any questions about this, be sure to give us a call at 314-961-8200, or you can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. If you like this video, please give us a thumbs up like on the YouTube channel. Make sure to subscribe to our channel so that when we update with new immigration videos, you’re the first one to see them. Thanks a lot, and have a good day.

 

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, jim@hackinglawpractice.com. 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.

 

When an Employee Lies on the I-9 Form

 

Can an employer fire an employee when they find out that information provided in the I-9 process was falsified?

Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. Employers contact us from time to time wondering what they should do when they find out that an employee has lied in the I-9 employment verification process. Most people who have been through the hiring process and have completed the paperwork that goes along with starting a new job are familiar with the I-9.

The I-9 is a form that the Immigration Service uses to require employers to document that an employee is who they say they are, and that they have authorization to work in the United States. You may recall that there is various columns of documents, identifying documents and documents that show that you have work authorization to allow you to be employed in the United States. Almost everybody who has ever had a job would have filled out one of these I-9s. The question then becomes, what happens when an employer finds out that the employee has lied or provided false documents and what should the employer do in that situation? Many wonder, “Can I fire the employee? Do I have to fire the employee?”

We’re shooting this video to try to explain to you what’s going on in these situations. We were doing research recently for a local company that had found out that one of their employees had lied on the I-9, and we came across a case that we found very instructive on this point. In the case that we found, there was an older Hispanic woman who had worked for a grocery store for many, many years, and she had provided false documents at the time of her hiring, and later on, when she got actual work authorization to be employed in the United States, she brought that documentation to her employer.

Here we have an employer who’s been provided two different sets of identifying documents, two different sets of work authorization cards, and the employer was really left scratching their head as to what to do. They were worried that if they fired the employee, that they could get in trouble, but they went ahead and terminated her because they had a firm-wide policy, not just with I-9s, that if you lied at all during the hiring process, it could be about a crime or your identity or any other kind of issue, if you had lied about any of that prior to your starting the work, then the employer had a blanket policy of firing those employees. The employer went ahead and fired the employee.

The employee brought a claim through the union grievance procedure against the employer saying that she was being discriminated against because of her Hispanic heritage and that now that she had proper work authorization, that that should end the inquiry, that the employer should not look back to the documents that were provided previously. Now, this case went on for a while. Both sides exchanged documents. There were depositions taken, and the case was sent to the OCAHO for review, and that agency determined that the employer had properly terminated the employee.

They found that because the company had a blanket wide policy of firing people when they are caught lying during the hiring process, that it was okay for the employer to terminate the employee at this time, even though she had valid work authorization. We conveyed that information to our client here, and they’re going to make their own determination as to whether or not they terminate this employee. These are the things that you have to keep in mind.

You need to be consistent in how you treat employees. You need to be consistent with your I-9 recording procedures. You need to make sure that your I-9s are properly documented and that you have all the Ts crossed and the Is dotted. You don’t want to do anything that messes up your I-9 system.

If you find an error on your I-9, you need to document it. You don’t ever want to erase the old I-9 information. You don’t want to destroy old I-9 information. You want to document for this particular employee everything that’s happened from start to finish so that if you ever get audited by ICE that you’re going to be able to explain adequately what it is that you did with this particular employee. I would not terminate an employee without speaking with a legal counsel and making sure that you make sure everything, do everything correctly.

If you have any questions about this, be sure to give us a call at 314-961-8200, or you can email us at jim@hackinglawpractice.com.

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