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Can’t Ever Rely on What USCIS Says

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Can I rely upon what USCIS tells me? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer, practicing law throughout the United States. Have our offices in St. Louis, San Diego, and Washington DC. The answer to this question is no, no, hell no. You can’t rely on things that USCIS tells you. So I can’t tell you how many people call me up and tell me that their case has been denied. And that one of the reasons it got denied is because they relied on information from a USCIS officer. When I was a relatively new immigration lawyer, I used to sit down at the St. Louis field office waiting for an interview. And there were some kind people that worked at the front desk for InfoPass, which was this great old system where you could actually go to immigration and talk to a live person.

They’ve largely done away with InfoPass, but back then there would be an officer sitting at the window and she would give out wrong advice all the time. And people think that when they call the 1-800 number and they talk to a tier one or a tier two officer, and they get information like that, that that’s sort of guaranteed in gold that what they said is true. There’s no substitute for knowing the law. There’s no substitute to working with a competent immigration lawyer. And the problem with talking to someone on the phone, there’s several problems. One, you don’t know if what they’re telling you is accurate. Number two, they don’t know if what they’re telling you is accurate. A lot of times they guess. They may be well-meaning, but they do give out wrong information all the time. But most importantly, there’s nothing documented.

There’s no proof that this is what you had. Now, my wife is very smart and a very good advocate in all aspects of life. So if she takes something back to a store and is dealing with a manager, she’s writing down the name of the manager, the date and time, everything that happens. And you can certainly do that with USCIS. I think it’s helpful to get USCIS officer badge numbers or a last name so that you can document it, but still at the end of the day, it’s not guaranteed that whatever they tell you is accurate and it’s not guaranteed, that it’s going to keep your case alive. So if you’re hearing things from an immigration officer and they don’t sound right, or if you’re not confident in the accuracy of what they’re telling you, you probably need to go talk to a competent immigration lawyer who knows what they’re doing so that they can tell you if in fact the information that you’re receiving is accurate.

That’s the most important thing. We want to make sure that we receive accurate information. And so you can’t just say, oh, I talked to an immigration officer and he told me everything’s cool with my case. So therefore I don’t need to follow it anymore. I don’t need to check my mail. These are the kinds of ways that people get into trouble. And you might find this surprising. You might find this unrealistic, but it’s actually true. I can’t tell you how many people come on the immigration answers show or come into our office and say, oh yeah, Jim, that officer told me X or this officer told me Y. They told me I’m going to get my citizenship. No problem. Well, they don’t know all the facts of your case. They don’t know all the ins and outs of the immigration law. And they’re overburdened. They’re answering too many calls. They might be trying to be nice and help you. But at the end of the day, you cannot rely on the information that they provide. You can’t take it to the bank.

If you have questions, if you’re wondering about some information that you receive from an immigration officer, give us a call at 314-961-8200. You can email us info at hackinglawpractice.com. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called immigrant home. If you like this video, we ask that you please share it out on social and that you subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you get updates whenever we make videos, just like this one. Don’t forget most Tuesdays and Thursdays you’ll find us live in our immigration answers show on YouTube and on our immigrant home Facebook group answering as many of your immigration law related questions as possible. Thanks a lot and have a great day.

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