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Citizenship Denied – Now What

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I lost my citizenship case. Now what? Hi. I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our offices in St. Louis, San Diego, and Washington, DC. We have a long-time client who we represented many years ago who applied for citizenship recently. Just this week, his case was denied. He was predictably very upset about this and I understand the frustration. He was denied for some minor, minor criminal activity and traffic stuff from many years ago. Well beyond the five years of good moral character that UCSIS is required to look back at when determining whether or not to give someone their citizenship. For this guy, they went back to 2007, 2009, 2012. This was many, many years ago. I believe that their decision was wrong. Nonetheless, the client was very upset. In fact, he was so upset that he didn’t reply to us. He had his secretary send us a fax to tell us how upset he was.

Anyway, we were able to talk to him and to walk through the N-400 denial, and why we think USCIS made a mistake. We recommended that he file an appeal. When your N-400 is denied, you file an N-336, which is a request for rehearing by another immigration officer at the same level or a higher level. You get to go to USCIS and present to them why you think they made a mistake. In fact, when the N-336 hearing begins, usually the officer has read through the file and they say, “Okay. Jim or Andrew, or Manny, or whoever, you guys say that we made a mistake. What mistake did we made and what evidence do you have that you should have your client be naturalized?”

In this particular instance, we have good guidance. Because lately in this particular field office, there has been three or four cases that we’ve had where we thought that USCIS was really stretching in denying the N-400 and that their rationale for denying it was, again, well beyond the five years, not warranted under the law. Just that little pushback, just filing the N-336, and paying that filing fee, showing up for the interview, that was enough to tip the scales. We think the same thing will happen for this client. We’ll keep you posted on that. Hopefully, that’ll be what happens.

But when you get your N-400 denied, these are the questions you need to ask yourself. Is it worth appealing? Did they make a mistake? Am I right? Should I be a citizen? Are they wrong under the law? Sometimes you might want to wait and refile; sometimes you might want to appeal. This is one of those things where I think it really helps to talk to an experienced immigration lawyer who knows the field offices because you can predict how a field officer might respond and what you might expect at the hearing. This is one thing that takes a little bit of sophistication, a little bit of nuance, and a little bit of history with the field office to understand what the best bet is in each case. Sometimes they’re right when they deny a naturalization case. In those situations, that’s probably when you’re going to wait and refile, or try to figure something else out.

If you have any questions, if your N-400 has been denied, feel free to give us a call, 314-961-8200. You can email us, info@hackinglawpractice.com. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called the Immigrant Home. We hope you liked this video and that you shared out on social, and you subscribe to our YouTube channel. Also, please remember that on most Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon central time, you’ll find us live in our Immigrant Home Facebook group and on the YouTube channel answering as many of your immigration law-related questions as possible. Thanks a lot and have a great day.

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