How Did We Help Get Client’s Naturalization Approved

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Tell us how you stopped a guy from losing his green card and getting his citizenship.

Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer, practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. We sue USDA for delays all the time. And most of the time we don’t get involved in the underlying case, we just stay the lawsuit lawyer. The person might have a lawyer on their underlying immigration case, or they might have filed with themselves. And so I would say we probably only get involved in the underlying case, maybe 10 or 20% of the time, maybe 15% of the time. But we have a case where I had a fellow from India who’d been waiting a really long time for his citizenship. And he had had a brutal two sets of interviews at the field office in Virginia earlier this year. And they spend a lot of time asking him about some business transactions that he’d had, a company that he had started, an H1B employer company, a staffing company.

And after we sued them, he got scheduled for a third interview. And the client asked me to come, paid for me to come. I flew to Virginia and we had his interview a few weeks ago. And people ask me all the time, “Jim, how do you know or why is it valuable to have an attorney attend your interview?” Now, I think these days with immigration, most benefits, you should have an attorney involved, but in this particular case, I know for a fact that if I hadn’t been at that interview, his case would have been denied. We had a very nice officer, very professional. The officer had worked in the service center in Vermont and knew a ton about H1Bs. And so it was funny. We were there for a naturalization case, but we spent most of the time talking about the prior answers this person had given on his N400 interviews about this company that he had started with some friends.

And I think that company and those friends were under active investigation. Whereas our guy was sort of a side player to it. And when I was at the interview, a lot of times when I go to the interview, I’m not exactly like my wife. My wife, who I practice with loves to get involved and loves to interject. And I don’t usually do that unless I feel a need to. So in this case, I did feel a need to. The client was nervous. As many clients are, and he had missed some questions related to this employment and this company that he’d had. And the question came down to, he was here on an H1B, he hadn’t listed this company that he started as an employer, but he never gotten paid by this company. He got paid when the company was sold, but he never took a salary.

So he had filled out immigration paperwork that didn’t say that he had worked there. He hadn’t listed it as an employer. He hadn’t listed it as income. He had paid taxes on it when he sold it, but he hadn’t treated himself as an employee. And so there was some confusion. There was also some confusion because he and his friends who started this company, weren’t really formal in their titles that they had designated each other. Sometimes one of them was President, sometimes one of them was the Secretary and vice versa. And so the immigration service had this paperwork that seems sort of inconsistent. And so as the interview went on, it became clear that we had a fair officer, but also that he was trying to clear up what had happened and why this guy had different designations for the company and why he hadn’t listed as someone that had employed him.

And so he and the officer were going back and forth and I sort of jumped in and the officer to his credit had encouraged me to jump in to help clarify things. And I did. I said, “Look, there’s a real question as to whether or not this is even employment. He listed it. When he sold the company, he told you all about it. He clearly identified the fact that he owned this company and that he had started the company and he hadn’t hidden anything.”

And so I really started got, got into it with the officer in a very kind way. We were very all very professional, but I could see during my talking and the officer listening and us going back and forth about what constitutes employment and whether my client had misrepresented anything, I could see the officer beginning to nod. And I thought that we had him, that he had come around to our way of being, but the way that my client had been answering the questions and the way that he’d been missing exactly what the officer was asking, because he was going off on these tangents. And he also sort of had these same things that he wanted to say over and over instead of answering the exact question.

So I kept stopping my client and I’d repeat the question over and over until the client actually understood the question. And because it was obvious that I hadn’t coached my client and my client had wanted me to sort of go over everything with them. And I said, “No, we’re not doing that. I don’t want you to go in there with new information or memorized information. I just want it to be natural.” And it worked exactly right to work exactly the way I wanted to because the officer knew that I wasn’t hiding anything. He could tell that my client wasn’t hiding anything. And because we were so honest and because we hadn’t done anything wrong, we just got an approval notice and an oath ceremony notice for our client. He’s going to get naturalized on December 18th. So we’re very excited for him.

And so that’s the value of having an attorney. It’s not so much do I know every provision of the INA. It’s that I know people, and I know how to talk and I know how to clarify things during an interview. So maybe my wife is right. Maybe I should get more involved during the interviews, but on this one, it really worked out. And so we’re happy for that.

So if you have questions about this, give us a call (314) 961-8200. You can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group Immigrant Home, and make sure that you subscribe to our YouTube channel. And every Tuesday and Thursday from 12 to one central time, we are live in both those places. And you can go in there and ask us whatever immigration question you want for free. Thanks a lot. And we’ll see you next time.