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Don’t pick your lawyer because they are from your home country

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Don't pick your immigration lawyer just because he's from your home country.

Hi, I'm Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer and practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri, and in our office in San Diego, California, which opens tomorrow, January 4th. Very excited about that.

Today's video comes from a brief consult that I had this morning with a fine fellow who I liked a lot from Syria. And he had hired a Syrian American lawyer where he lived in his home state to help with his mother's asylum case and then with her green card application. And the lawyer involved made a lot of mistakes and gave some bad advice and took some approaches that I would not take. And as I was listening to this story, I was getting a little bit angrier and angrier hearing about the advice that this immigration lawyer had given to him.

And so, I don't always do this, but I did go ahead and ask for the name of the lawyer and I looked him up. And first of all, he didn't have a website. Second of all, it came up that he did car accidents too.

So I think that there's a real danger in dabbling in immigration law. I think there's a real danger in dabbling in lots of different areas of law, which is why we chose immigration back in 2012 as our exclusive practice area.

With immigration law being so complicated, there's just no way to get up to speed and stay up to speed if you haven't taken the time to drill down and learn the practice area backwards and forwards, and most importantly, stay up to date.

So the advice that the lawyer gave after a I-130 denial was to file an appeal. And this I-130 was denied simply because USCIS had not received the documents, which the lawyer says that were submitted. Now, we'll see whether the lawyer submitted those documents properly, but the bigger question is why file an appeal when you could have just gone ahead and done a whole new i-130. In this particular case, there are time consequences, there's time concerns because there are underage children who might age out.

And so, it was really a big mess of a situation. And I asked the person on the phone, "Why did you select this lawyer? Is it because he speaks Arabic?" And he said, "Yeah, that is why I chose him. My mother doesn't speak English very well and I wanted her to be able to have an attorney who understands her."

And I get that. I understand the idea of wanting to have someone who can speak to you in your language, but just because someone speaks your language doesn't mean that they are good immigration lawyers. And I think it's much more important to have a solid immigration lawyer who knows what they're doing with a solid plan versus someone who just happens to speak your language.

You know, there's a great attorney in Los Angeles named Carl Shusterman, and he did a post, a famous post a while back, 10 Reasons Why Not To Pick This Immigration Lawyer For You. And one of them was that they're from the home country or they speak the home language. And like I said, I get it, but you're really cutting off a lot of excellent legal talent by saying that you only want to use people who speak your language.

And I think there are a lot of red flags here. Number one, there was confusion about why this case was denied, and it seems to me that the lawyer probably screwed up the affidavit of support. Number two, whenever your case gets denied, you probably want to get another opinion, just because the lawyer might be trying to cover up for a mistake that they made. Number three, just because someone speaks your language, doesn't mean they know what they're talking about when it comes to immigration.

So I think there were a lot of red flags here and we're going to take a look at the case and see if we can help. But at the end of the day, I think that translation can always be solved. You can always find someone to fill that need and we can always find a translator here in our office. We have people that speak Spanish and Arabic and many other languages. And so it just doesn't make a whole lot of sense to decide to hire someone who handles all different kinds of cases just to handle your immigration case. To me, that suggests that they're a little bit desperate for income and that they don't necessarily know what they're doing. Not always the case, but often the case.

So if you have questions about this or if you need help selecting an immigration lawyer, give us a call at 314-961-8200. You can email us at [email protected]. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group. It's called Immigrant Home. We'd love to have you there.

Also, every Tuesday and Thursday, we're live in Immigrant Home and on our YouTube channel, which you should subscribe to. And usually on Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 1:00 Central time, I'm on the air answering all of your questions for free. So we're looking forward to that and we're looking forward to the new year. So thanks everybody. Have a great day.

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