Do Lawyers Scare Immigrants?

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Do immigration lawyers try to scare immigrants? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. You know, one of the fun things about getting a YouTube channel and a Facebook group off the ground is that you start getting all kinds of really great, interesting questions. And I’m excited about today’s question because I think it’s a very fair question. I think it’s a very important question and it comes from one of our longtime viewers. Her name is Selma Khan, so here’s what Selma said.

“Hi, I have questions. If possible could you make a video about this concern or question?” And here it is, “Is it true that immigration lawyers scare immigrants so that they can bring their cases to them? And they charge fees from them. Even some simple immigration benefits they explain to people, like it’s horrible if you file on your own.” THen she says, Selma very kindly says, “I’m not talking about you. I love you as a person and immigration lawyer. It’s generally, could you explain when people file their own case by themselves and when they need a lawyer? Thanks in advance. I love to watch your videos. Please keep updating us.”

All right Selma. So I was holding the camera down there because I was reading her question right out of our email. Selma, I do think some immigration lawyers and some notarios do scare immigrants in order to try to get cases from them. I’ve come across lawyers who have filed completely bogus asylum cases to make money. I’ve seen lawyers who tell a client to go one way with a case instead of another way with a case in order to make more fees. I have seen attorneys charge crazy fees for situations that don’t warrant it.

Now, do I think that that happens a lot? No, I don’t think it happens a lot. Do I think most immigration lawyers are ethical? I think most immigration lawyers are ethical. I think there are a lot of bad immigration lawyers out there. And I also think there’s a lot of people who get desperate because they need money. So I guess my answer to your question Selma is it does happen, but not very often. So I don’t think it’s necessarily something that you need to worry about. Now, you also talk Selma about whether lawyers try to make cases sound more serious than they are. On that one I’m going to have to push back a little bit. I am of the opinion right now that for most immigration benefits, you do need an immigration lawyer. In the old days, I would sometimes tell people, “Nah, you can probably file for citizenship on your own.”

I’ve never said that you could file for a green card without a lawyer. The one thing that I have seen people do is file for a green card renewal on their own. And if the person is sophisticated and they have a clean record, I might still recommend that. But for the most part Selma, I’m mostly going to say that you need a lawyer. Now, do you need to pay thousands and thousands of dollars for a lawyer? Nah, if the fees sound crazy, they might be, so feel free to check with us if you think the fees that someone’s quoting you are unfair. In our office we always try to play it straight. We charge what we think is a fair price. We’re definitely not the cheapest law firm in town, but I do think we’re one of the best. And I think that’s why we can charge more than other people.

So Selma, I’m really glad you watch our videos. I’m really glad you asked me this question today. I do think immigrants are a vulnerable population. I do think immigrants do get taken advantage of, and I hope that that doesn’t happen to you Selma or anyone else watching our videos. The reason I’ve made 650 or however many videos that we have is to educate you, to teach you, to show you what you need to know in order to make the best decision possible. There are immigrants all around the country who’ve been watching these videos. These videos get tons and tons of views. People who are never going to hire me. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s just fine with me because the people that I want to work with are the ones who understand the value that we bring, the expertise that we bring, the experience that we bring.

And so I don’t feel the need to scare people. I don’t feel the need to over-hype what we do. And I frankly don’t need, I feel, the opportunity or the need to sell. I’m happy when people don’t hire us. We’ve got plenty to do. I know that there’s some people who are going to be cynical and say, “Ah, Hacking’s full of crap.” But we’re happy to help when we can. We’re happy to help if we think we can add value, we’re going to turn down a case if we don’t think, I just turned down one 10 minutes ago where I didn’t think we’re going to be able to help someone whose wife told immigration that he and she were in a fake marriage. So I’m not going to get involved unless we can help. And we’re not going to try to scare you to hire us. We want it to be a good decision. We want you to be comfortable with it. We want you to know exactly what you’re getting into so that you make the best decision possible.

If you have questions about this or are thinking about filing for an immigration benefit and wondering if the fees are right, or if you should do it on your own, feel free to give us a call 314 961 8200. You can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called immigrant home. And if you like this video, we ask that you please share that on social and that you subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you get updates whenever we make videos, just like this one. Thanks a lot, have a great day.

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