Don’t lie or I’ll know. Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our offices in St. Louis, Missouri, San Diego, California, and Washington, DC. When I was in college, my mom gave me a book to read. The book had not been published yet. I actually got it in the authors galleys. And the name of that book was Silence of the Lambs. Silence of the Lambs is about an FBI profiler, a brand new baby profiler named Clary Starling, who is sent to interview a serial killer named Hannibal Lecter played by Anthony Hopkins. And she’s supposed to be asking him about the habits of a serial killer who’s on the loose to try to see if Hannibal Lecter can help her and the FBI find the serial killer named Buffalo Bill.
And in the movie, Anthony Hopkins starts grilling Jodie Foster more than she’s asking him questions. And he asks her a question and he says, “Don’t lie or I’ll know.” And I was at an immigration interview this morning, a naturalization interview, and it was a very straightforward case and very approvable and it got approved on the spot. So that was not an issue. And there are certainly no lying at issue in that case, but it made me think of some other cases we have in the office right now, where either the clients wanted us to lie or the potential clients wanted us to lie, or they had lied, or they had told us many different stories and we were worried they were going to lie. And that quote from Anthony Hopkins, from Hannibal Lecter himself, he said very creepily in the movie, “Don’t lie or I’ll know.”
And that was very scary, as he was scary throughout that film. But that quote just sort of peaked my interest in the back of my mind. I thought of it when I thought about how people answer questions at UCIS, and you should go into immigration with that mindset, don’t lie or I’ll know. And that’s coming from the immigration officer. Do not think that you’re going to be able to lie and get away with it. Lying is one of the big Cardinal sins in immigration. That’s one of the things that can be unforgivable. There are certain waivers available for certain misrepresentations, but generally lying to UCIS is a really big deal and it can keep you from ever getting an immigration benefit, even with a qualifying relative, even if you’re entitled to it, if you have flatly lied to UCIS. So when you’re answering your questions in immigration, you should assume that they know all the facts.
And that might mean that you withdraw an application or that you never file an application, but you should never go in there thinking that you’re going to be able to lie and get your way out of it. And so that quote should be your marching order as you prepare for your interview, don’t lie or I’ll know, and that’s coming from the immigration officer. If you lie, they’re going to know, or you have to at least assume that they know. Don’t think you’re going to get away with it. Don’t think you’re that clever. Don’t think you’re smarter than they are. You might be. You might have a PhD. You might be better educated than them. Doesn’t mean that you know your stuff better than they do. It doesn’t mean that they won’t catch you in a lie. So if you have questions about this, or if you’re thinking about filing an application that involves lying, you should be very careful and you should call our office, first, 314-961-8200. You should email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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