Category: General

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 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.

Immigration Alert – 5.11.2015

Lots of interesting immigration news this week, including a very harsh decision forimmigrants who mistakenly vote in a U.S. election.

Author Tells Sad Tale of Not Being Able to Get Lawful Permanent Residence

The Huffington Post published an interesting account of what is like living in the U.S. while hoping to obtain a work-based green card.  People ask us all the time whyimmigrants don’t all just get in line and wait their turn for permanent residence.  Unfortunately, there is no line to get in for most people.  Bronwyn Lee described having her family’s entire future depending on some bureaucrat at USCIS.  Ms. Lee’s husband is a super-successful researcher.  Due to the arbitrary nature in which our nation’s immigration agency hands out green cards, there is no certainty that Ms. Lee and her family will be able to stay.  This piece highlights, in a very personal way, how many of our clients feel when waiting on a discretionaryimmigration benefit from USCIS.  In short, it is very painful and frustrating.

USCIS Officer Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison, Asked for Cash & Egg Rolls

A few months back, we told you about the USCIS immigration officer who was accused of asking for bribes of cash and of egg rolls in exchange for favorable decisions on pending immigration cases.  Last week, the officer pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison.  Officer Mai Nhu Nguyen, an 8 year officer, offered to approve questionable green card applications in exchange for envelopes of cash and/or Vietnamese food, including egg rolls.  The scheme “unrolled” after one immigration applicant notified the FBI of the shakedown.  Federal agents swooped in and arrested Nguyen after the applicant recorded the bribe on tape.

Democrat Hillary Clinton Shifts Position on Immigration

As the process to nominate the 2016 Presidential candidates gets under way, the Democratic frontrunner has shifted her position on immigration and shifted to the left.  Former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton has taken a harsh stance on immigration for years. Now that she needs the Latino and progressive vote to get the nomination (and the Presidency as well), the Democratic stalwart is singing a different tune.  Last week, Ms. Clinton sat down with student leaders in Nevada and stated that immigration reform must include a path to citizenship for the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants.  It sounds like a bunch of convenient rhetoric from someone who wants to get back to the White House.  On a related note, Think Progress had a handy chart this week to show each candidate’s position on immigration.

Immigrants Who Vote Can Be Deported, Regardless of Intent

The federal Board of Immigration Appeals recently ruled that an alien who voted in an election was deportable.  Federal law prohibits non-citizens from voting in federal, state and local elections.  In fact, it is a crime to even register to vote in such elections if you are not a citizen.  Ms. Margarita del Pilar, a Peruvian national, obtained lawful permanent resident status in 2004 and obtained an Illinois driver’s license the next year.  In obtaining her driver’s license, she also registered to vote.  She later voted.  When she applied for citizenship in 2010, her application was denied and she was placed in deportation proceedings. DHS alleged that Margarita was deportable for having violated federal law by voting.  The lady argued that she had no intent to violate the law and that she had simply been mistaken.  The BIA rejected the argument, finding flatly that the law prohibiting immigrants from voting before becoming citizens had no intent or knowledge requirement.  As such, the order removing the woman back to Peru was upheld.

U.S. Start-Ups being driven out of the Nation

Immigrant entrepreneurs are no longer looking for the U.S. as a top choice to start their company. In fact, many successful immigrant entrepreneurs have had to pack up their businesses and move back to their native countries because of our unwelcoming and jumbled immigration system.

Our immigration system is pushing people away

According to author and entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa, the number of Silicon Valley start-ups founded by immigrants has declined since 2005. Mainly, he believes it is “because we won’t’ give the foreign people who are already here visas to start companies.” Anand and Shikha Chhatpar are two Indian engineers who were educated in the U.S. and eventually started their own company building Facebook apps.

However, despite their company thriving, the immigration system is in such a mess that the two could not obtain permanent residency through the visa process. “So now they’re living in India, paying Indian taxes employing Indian workers,” Wadhwa tells NPR. “It’s a big loss for America. This is the stupidity of our immigration system.”

Other Countries will get U.S. educated entrepreneurs

Statistics prove that immigrants have a strong tie to launching their own businesses in the U.S., but our immigration system is driving them away. Entrepreneurs who graduate from U.S. colleges have to leave the country once their student visas expire and they develop their companies in countries all over the world except for the U.S. Economists call this “a loss for this country.”

Many supporters of immigration and the new reform bill Congress is trying to pass talk of the important drivers of our economy and the contributions immigrants have. Unfortunately, by the time Congress makes up its mind about implementing a new immigration system, thousands of potential businesses will already be thriving somewhere else bringing that country jobs and revenue.

If you have questions regarding applying for a visa or immigration laws, contact us at 314-961-8200 or visit our contact page

U.S. Immigration Officials want to transport exchange student back to native country in coma

After a horrible accident leaves a Pakistani exchange student in a coma, his student visa is set to expire and immigration officials are looking to transport him on a flight back to his native country. Family members are concerned that the 24 hour flight could do more harm than good and want for him to stay in the U.S. where medical care is more advanced.

Accident puts exchange student in coma

Muhammad Shahzaib Bajwa was studying anthropology and sociology at the University of Wisconsin when his car hit a deer running across the highway. He was taken to the hospital then transferred to a different one after going into cardiac arrest. Since the accident, Bajwa has been laying in a coma. Bajwa’s older brother and mother flew to the U.S. from Pakistan after hearing what happened and have been receiving help from the Islamic community who have found housing for the family members. “The support and the love we got from the people of Duluth, from the UWS people, the hospital, it’s been very tremendous,” Shahraiz said.

Community working to extend Bajwa’s Visa

While the family is trying to remain positive and stay focused on Bajwa’s recovery, they quickly learned that his student visa was going to expire and was not going to be extended. Because of this, the hospital began making transportation arrangements to send Bajwa back to Pakistan. His family is concerned because “It’s a 24-hour flight, and anything can happen to him on the flight,” Shahraiz said. “We don’t want to take that risk, and we want to keep him here until he is fully recovered because it’s the best medical system in the world. And they want us to take him to a third-world country.” Church organizations and immigration attorneys are currently working on the case hoping to have an exception made in this case and have his visa renewed. Even if the extension is granted, doctors predict a long road to recovery is ahead of Bajwa.

If you have questions regarding applying for a visa or immigration laws, contact us at 314-961-8200 or visit our contact page.

VIDEO: Our St. Louis Immigration Attorneys Can Help You

Do you have immigration questions about yourself or a loved one? Are you going through deportation proceedings? Have you recently become a citizen and want to bring over a spouse or family member? Are you having trouble getting resolution from the USCIS? Are you getting frustrated by the lack of answers about your immigration application? If so, you need to stop waiting and start demanding answers.

At the Hacking Law Practice, we have created this website for you. We strive to maintain a portal of helpful information to assist you with all types of immigration questions and circumstances.

Unlike many other sites, you don’t have to pay for the information you need; it’s all here at the click of a button. We want to be a helpful resource for you—no matter whether you need the assistance of a St. Louis immigration attorney or not.

Stop waiting for the federal government to make decisions about your future. Browse our site to find the information you’ve been searching for. If you don’t find the answers to your questions, please contact our office. We’ll be more than happy to answer your immigration questions for you—and even review your case—for free.

VIDEO: Tired of Waiting for the Government to Decide Your Future?

What makes the St. Louis immigration attorneys at Hacking Law Practice different from all the others? For one, we file suit in federal court to help bring our cases to resolution much quicker. People spend a lot of time and energy doing things like contacting their senators, scheduling InfoPass appointments with a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Immigration Officer, or calling the National Customer Service Center (NCSC), but no matter what they do, they don’t get any results.

In our office, we look over your immigration case and aggressively pursue a resolution. Sometimes we find that the case should have been decided years ago, but you’re just being pushed to the end of the line time and time again. At Hacking Law Practice, we push you to the front of the line.

Once we get involved, we will file a suit on your behalf. Once a suit is filed, the government has 60 days to respond. At this point, the immigration service usually looks over your case and decides whether they have what it takes to deny your case, or whether they should approve it. By proceeding this way, we’ve helped many people get their citizenship and green cards much quicker than they otherwise would have.

Are you tired of waiting on the government to make a decision about your future? If so, you need to stop waiting and start demanding answers. Contact Hacking Law Practice at 314.961.8200 today to learn how we can help you.

VIDEO: Should I File an Immigration Request On My Own?

Many people decide to handle their immigration requests by themselves because they think that the immigration service is there to help them. However, that’s the wrong way to think. While a lot of the people who work for the immigration service are very hard working and well meaning, it doesn’t mean that they are working for you. They are paid to scrutinize your profile in order to find things that are “wrong” in order to deny your case.

When you decide to “go it alone,” you’re facing the government all by yourself—and that’s not a place where you want to be.  If you’re filing an immigration request, you need to do everything in your power to make sure you don’t give the immigration service any reason to deny it.

When you work with the St. Louis immigration attorneys at Hacking Law Practice, you’ll be working with a team who knows what the immigration service is looking for.  As we prepare your case for filing, we will sit down with you to examine any issues that you may face, such as past criminal records, which weaken your case. We will let you know whether you should proceed or whether you should wait a few more years to apply in order to ensure your case is presented as strongly as possible.

If you would like an experienced professional to examine your case, determine any possible problems, and build the best case possible, contact Hacking Law Practice at 314.961.8200 today.


VIDEO: What Information Do I Need to Apply for a Visa in St. Louis?

If you are seeking help for obtaining a visa or with other immigration services, our St. Louis immigration lawyers can help. We have refined the process in order to keep your case moving as quickly as possible.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has many forms that request the same information in several different ways. Instead of asking you to provide the information several different times, we developed a copyrighted checklist that outlines all of the information requested so you only have to list it once. This allows us to complete all of your forms and have your documents prepared within 24 hours. Once we have obtained all necessary information, we will be able to process your paperwork and forward it to USCIS quickly. There are always delays in immigration cases, and we are here to do everything we can to keep the case moving as fast as we can.

If you are overwhelmed by the immigration process, contact a St. Louis immigration lawyer at Hacking Law Practice. We can help lighten your load. Call our office at 314-961-8200 to schedule a consultation.

VIDEO: Order The 10 Biggest Immigration Mistakes People Make Today!

Are you wondering how to handle your immigration case? No matter whether you’re at the beginning, middle, or end of the immigration process, The 10 Biggest Immigration Mistakes People Make is a must-read for you. Written by St. Louis immigration lawyer Jim Hacking, this book is full of everything you need to know about immigration in the United States.

Jim Hacking wrote this book because he kept seeing people make the same huge mistakes on their immigration cases, time and time again. He decided that he wanted to educate the public to try to help them not make these kinds of mistakes. He is experienced in helping people after they’ve filed their case, but he would prefer that they take the right steps from the beginning.

If you’d like to know what to do—and what NOT to do—when applying for immigration, you need to order this book. Contact St. Louis immigration attorney Jim Hacking today to request your FREE copy of The 10 Biggest Immigration Mistakes People Make.

VIDEO: Husam and Amat on St. Louis Immigration Attorney Jim Hacking

Today, our clients Husam and Amat went to the USCIS office in St. Louis, Missouri for their marriage visa and green card interview.  Everything went well and our clients did an excellent job answering all of the questions.  They were relaxed and well-prepared.

We are very happy for (and proud of) Husam and Amat.