Does the location of my USCIS office matter?
Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, Immigration Lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. In this video, we’re not really talking about legal advice. We’re talking about things that I’ve observed.
Most of my videos are related to the rules and regulations related to immigration but this video, along with some others, are more about my impressions of having practiced immigration law for now 13, 14 years, and that is that offices that are in what I would call red districts or very conservative places take on the personality of that office.
I’m thinking right now of an office in Centennial, Colorado you guys have heard me bad mouth if you’ve seen my video outside the Denver field office. It’s in this suburb called Centennial, an exurb, which is sort of like beyond the suburbs. It’s a place where most people would consider themselves Republican, and it’s a conservative area.
All I can tell you is that that immigration office is one of the worst that I’ve ever dealt with. I’ve also come across some that have that same feel down in Florida.
I do believe that the offices take on the personality of their locale, so the urban inner-city offices are interesting places to go. The offices are usually pretty worldly and cosmopolitan.
I’ve been to an office in Arlington, Virginia, which there are a lot of government people there in that region, a lot of military people in that region. And it’s a very rigid regimented office.
So, it’s really interesting actually, to get to travel around the country and see how different offices handle things differently.
I remember I had a case out in, I think it was San Jose or Santa Barbara or Santa Cruz out in California, and it was real laid back.
The officer was telling us all these funny stories about how jacked up the USCIS office was under President Trump.
So, it’s funny how different places handle cases differently. You know, we talk about all the time about the asylum office, or yeah, there in the immigration court in Atlanta, Georgia, has this 2% approval rate. So it’s interesting just how different things are.
Now in law school, they teach you this concept called arbitrary and capricious. And if you follow the Supreme Court, one of the reasons that they struck down President Trump’s attempt to dismantle DACA was that the agency had acted arbitrarily and capriciously, and what that means is that the law should be applied the same way every time.
You can’t just do whatever you want. So, I always thought that arbitrary and capricious also applies to the way the different offices handle different things, and sometimes even different officers handle the same case differently.
Here in St. Louis, I would say we have a mixed bag of officers and a mixed bag of approaches.
But I’ll take that any day of the week over sort of these hardcore Republican, very conservative people that are, “You’re going to follow every single rule, or we’re going to deny your case” versus Chicago.
Those guys up there, I really like them. They’re very professional, very calm, very “I’ve seen it all before.” They’re not phased by much. It’s fun. It’s fun getting to travel. It’s fun getting to see different offices.
But you might give that some thought when you’re thinking about applying and where you live at the time that you apply.
I’ve been to good suburban offices. The suburban office in Dallas, Texas is terrific. You just never know.
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