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Have You Ever Lied to USCIS

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Have you ever lied to US government official to obtain an immigration benefit? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States, out of offices in San Diego, Washington, DC, and right here in St. Louis, Missouri, where I am now getting ready to head into USCIS. I was thinking about a question that comes up on both the N400 and the I45 questions about honesty and specifically about lying to US government officials to obtain a Visa or an immigration benefit. And this can be a really tricky question. Obviously we want all of our clients to tell the truth, but in this instance, I’m talking about situations where the government concluded that sometime in the past, you lied to the government. So in other words, you had a prior denial and they’re claiming that you lied. And then the question becomes, if you apply for that benefit again, and you have to answer that question, do you have to admit that you lied to them in the past?

And so we’ve had situations where clients got quote unquote caught for lying. There was a finding of a misrepresentation, and they wait a certain number of years to apply for the benefit again. And then when they apply for that benefit, there’s that question, have you ever lied to US government official to obtain an immigration benefit? And if you say yes or no, that can lead to trouble either way. So one of the things that we like to do is sometimes to leave that blank and just to provide an explanation to let them decide. Or what we’ll say is yes and then in the explanation will say, according to you, I lied. I don’t think I lied. I don’t believe I lied. I never intended to lie, but you concluded that I lied. So because of that, I’m answering this question yes. And then obviously the client has to be very, very ready to explain this at the interview.

So it’s a pretty nuanced approach. It’s something that’s not easy to pull off. And so if you’re at that stage where you’re wondering, do I answer yes or do I answer no, I would say that that’s a situation where you need to have an immigration lawyer look at your case. Not necessarily be the one to file it. Not necessarily be going with you to the interview. I do think you need all those things, because if there’s been a finding in the past that you lied to the government, that’s going to be something that you’re going to have to successfully navigate at your interview. It’s something you’re going to have to talk about. And they might have real questions about that. So if you find yourself going through the forms and getting ready to answer that question with a yes or maybe, you’re definitely going to need a good explanation as to why you’re saying that you did lie, or why you’re saying that they concluded that you lied and you don’t just say no, because if you just say no, they’re going to say, a-ha-ha, you’re lying again.

They’re saying, look, we caught you lying before. You still haven’t admitted you’re lying. It’s sort of like going before the parole board where they want you to admit your crime and sort of self-flagellate yourself and sort of admit that you made this mistake. So it’s a pretty nuanced approach. It’s something that’s pretty tricky and it’s something that you probably need help with. So if you’re thinking about applying for an immigration benefit and you find yourself pausing on that question, feel free to give us a call 314-961-8200. Email’s info hackinglawpractice.com. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home. If you like this video, we ask you please share it out on social and that you subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you get updates whenever we make videos just like this one. Don’t forget, most Tuesdays and Thursdays you’ll find us live in our Facebook group and on the YouTube channel answering as many of your immigration law related questions as possible. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

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