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The Mean Lady at USCIS

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The mean lady at immigration. Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our offices in St. Louis, Missouri, San Diego, California. In today’s video, we’re going to talk about the mean lady or the main man at USCIS. Now, many field offices have that one cranky old officer who’s been there way too long, who needs to go, and who just is not pleasant. And we come across these officers from time to time. We had a client from a lawsuit run into one of these barracudas down in North Carolina last week. And some immigration officers are very fair, very professional, very thorough, but not trying to play tricks or not trying to be abusive.

But there are some officers, a very small subset of officers, who really take great glee in abusing the people sitting across from them. That abuse may be directed at the lawyer. That abuse may be directed by the applicant or the petitioner or the beneficiary. You never know who’s going to receive the wrath of these officers. And a lot of times they will go out of their way to make life difficult. One thing that we see often is, there’s an officer here in St. Louis who really likes to abuse newer lawyers. That until she knows you, she’s really hard on you, and she also says things that aren’t very nice. And she says those not nice things in front of your clients. So, you never want that to happen. It’s always tough. Now, this happened a few times to one of our newer lawyers, recently. Of course, both cases still got approved. So you’re sort of left scratching your head, like, “Who wants to go through life like that? Who wants to be mad all the time? Who wants to be grouchy?”

But the point of this video is that you have to be ready for anything. If we come across a tough officer, so be it. That’s fine. Sometimes, I like to have tough officers. I like to have officers who know all the powers that they have and who know when they can approve a case, even though it might seem like it’s an unapprovable case. So, you never know what you’re going to get. But the point is that, as an immigration attorney or as an immigration applicant, you have to be ready for anything. If they’re there and they’re not being nice, you have to make sure to be as nice as possible. What I like to do is to be extra nice. I like to be extra nice when the officers are being unfriendly. I sort of think of that Michelle Obama line, “When they go low, we go high.”

And that’s sort of how you want to be. You sort of want to be above the fray. It’s almost as if you’re sort of sitting up above the room, watching everything that’s happening, or you can even pretend that it’s being videotaped. And you want to say to yourself, “How do I want to come across? If they’re going to be mean, I’m going to be even nicer. I’m going to be even more professional. I’m not going to take the bait. I’m not going to lose my temper. I’m just going to be there. I’m going to answer their questions. I’m going to give them the evidence that they want. I’m going to do everything that I’m supposed to do. And I’ll be the professional. I’ll be the pleasant one. I am going to be more nice than them.”

I think about a lawyer that I know. His name is Mr. Graham. Mr. Graham had an opposing attorney who was always mean to him and was always rude. And one day Mr. Graham called up that lawyer’s secretary and said, “You know, what is that mean attorney’s shirt size?” And Mr. Graham then ordered three shirts for that lawyer. And that helped break the ice with this guy. Of course, you can’t give presents or bribes or gifts to anyone at USCIS, but you can be nice. You can be nicer. And don’t feel intimidated. Don’t let them push you around. You have every right to be there. You paid your fees. You’re legally eligible for the application. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have even gotten this far.

So, don’t feel like that they’re above you or better than you. Don’t don’t have that be your attitude. Go in there, confidently. Look them in the eye. And I think that if you’re direct and kind, and concise, which means to use small words and answer as quickly as possible. If you stare at them and be confident as a woman or confident as a man, just be there, sort of like ready, then I think they’re going to back off, and they’re going to respect you more. And that’s going to make your case go a whole lot faster.

If you have questions about the mean old lady or the mean man at USCIS, give us a call 314-961-8200. You can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. Be sure to join us on our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home. If you liked this video, we ask that 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. Thanks a lot and have a great day.

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