What are some of the behaviors at an immigration interview that might lead your case sent to the fraud unit? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. We talked before in our prior video about the fraud unit and about what their job is. And today we’re going to talk about what can lead to a referral based on conduct in the interview.
We’re actually going to spend two videos talking about this because there’s a lot to unpack here. USCIS has released their fraud referral sheet. We have a copy of it, and we’re going to shoot these videos to sort of fill you in on when USCIS might think that there’s fraud. All right, so let’s get to it. So there are 10 general behavioral fraud indicators listed on this guide. We’re going to go over the first five now in this video.
And the first one is extreme nervousness. Now one thing that’s interesting with this fraud referral sheet is that a lot of the issues raised in this sheet are things that cut both ways. There are plenty of cases filed by legitimate applicants where extreme nervousness is exhibited, but it doesn’t mean that’s a fraudulent case. It just means the person is overly nervous. I filed a naturalization case last year, we had the interview today and my client was very, very nervous. That doesn’t mean he’s a fraud. And there’s plenty of people who do commit fraud who aren’t nervous at all. So I think this one is sort of cheesy and probably misses the mark.
The second one is over interaction. So I love this one over interaction. Now over interaction is something that I’ve seen sort of happen at interviews. And so I always tell my clients, “Just follow the officer’s lead. You don’t have to beat chums. You don’t have to be friends. You don’t have to make jokes. Just follow their lead. Just answer their questions. Don’t be cheesy. Don’t be overly talkative. Don’t be overly responsive. Don’t try to answer for your partner. If it’s a marriage based case, just answer the question and don’t give a big, long speech.”
So over interaction is a great thing. To me, it also uncovers it involves acting. So you want to make sure you don’t have over interaction. I think this is a good point to cover. So in marriage-based cases, you don’t want to be all lovey-dovey. Think about how you’d be sitting if you’re waiting at the doctor’s office, that’s how you should be in the interview. You shouldn’t be all like, “Oh, let me show the officer how much I love my wife by kissing her or rubbing her back.” I’ve actually seen that. And I’ve seen officers react negatively to that. So just be natural, don’t be over interactive. And I think that’s a good one. A good one to think about, to be careful about.
Lack of knowledge about basic questions. That’s the third one. Lack of knowledge about basic questions. So USCIS and the immigration service and the officers involved, they expect you to know your case. And we spent a lot of time getting our clients ready for their interview. And obviously if the case is legitimate, you’re not going to need that much prep time. You’re just going to need to know the dates. And I’ve had couples that I know are married. They have multiple kids, but sometimes the U.S. citizen or the foreign national don’t know all the right dates, that’s a bad thing. So make sure that your case backwards and forth.
And here’s the most interesting thing. You have to be able to answer these questions orally. The officer’s not going to hand you a piece of paper with the questions written on there and just let you answer. You need to be able to listen to them. So you really should practice. If English is not your primary language, you should practice hearing the question so that you’re ready to answer them. All right. So if you don’t have knowledge about basic questions, that’s going to be a problem, and that might get your case sent to the fraud unit.
Let’s turn to the fourth one, late for the interview. Now, I think this one’s sort of stupid. I’m sure there’s plenty of people who commit immigration fraud who show up a half hour early for their interview. And I’m also sure and I know for a fact that there’s people who come late to their interview and they never committed any kind of fraud. So I think late for interview isn’t really an indicator. Given the fact, especially that immigration officers are often so far behind on their interviews. I don’t think that’s going to be something that’s realistic as an indicator.
The last one, answers prompted by an attorney or other. Now, I try in my interviews not to prompt any answers. I try to let my clients stand on their own two feet. I tell my clients before the interview that I’m only going to be there to take notes and to write down everything that happens. And also to make sure that you understand what the officer is saying and that the officer understands what you’re saying. I don’t think it’s a good practice for the attorneys to get overly involved. If you need to clarify something, you absolutely should. But you should not interrupt the officer’s interview unless they’re going to something that’s completely crazy.
And you don’t want to be the ones to interrupt too much or to drive the officer crazy. So those are the first five fraud indicators. We hope that makes sense. If you have a case that you want to file or that you have on file you’re worried about, you’re worried about one of these five factors, give us a call at (314) 961-8200. You can email us at [email protected]
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