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The Nice Man at USCIS

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Let's talk about the nice man at USCIS. Hi, I'm Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our offices in St. Louis, San Diego and Washington, DC. I had an interview last week with a very nice immigration officer, and I felt a little bit bad because a week ago I had shot a video talking about the mean lady at USCIS, which of course could have been called the mean man at USCIS. I talked in that video, how a lot of immigration officers are well intentioned and do a good job, but that there are oftentimes one or two officers in each office who are mean and crabby and do whatever they can to try to hurt their applicant's cases. But I wanted to shoot you this video to talk about this nice officer. This was in long Island, and my client has literally been trying to get her green card for about 10 years. And it's a complicated story that I don't need to go into.

The point of this video is to talk about the officer. He was very kind. We were sitting out in the waiting room and I said I can usually tell by the way, the officer announces the person's name, of who they're going to interview as to how the interview is going to go. And what kind of an officer are they going to be. And this officer came out, he was a little chubby, like me, very nice guy, had a smile on his face. I could see it underneath his mask that he talked like he was smiling at the time that he was talking and he called out my client's name. He was very nice, he walked us down to his office, he was guiding us gently. He said a lot of things to put my clients at ease. I think probably three or four times he said something like, "If you don't understand my question, I'll be happy to restate it. Happy to explain it to you, whatever you need me to do. If you want to take a break, we can take a break."

And you can tell like that he was well-intentioned. He even apologized for how long my client's wife or my client had been waiting for her green card for these many years. And he said he knew that that was probably a hardship and that he apologized and that he hoped that he'd be able to render a decision quickly on our case. And he was also just really kind, he talked about how he had gone through the marital evidence we had, he asked us some general questions about the marriage. He looked at these huge, beautiful photo albums that our clients had from Pakistan where they got married. And it was like talking to a regular person. It wasn't like talking to an automaton.

I remember there used to be this officer in St. Louis who had been in the military and when Trump came in, he decided to be all, he walked like this and he talked like this, and was very stern and mean. And like I said last time, there's not really any reason to do that. Who wants to go through life like that? And so I certainly felt like this immigration officer was going to give us a fair shot. And so you can really learn a lot if you listen. And I know it's stressful because you're trying to answer the questions, but if you can just spend a little bit at a time during your interview, trying to gauge the personality and the approach of the officer.

The other thing I talked about with my clients on the ride back to the airport, you can usually tell when an officer's trying to actively prevent you from getting the immigration method. And when they're asking questions that are sort of designed to help you. And so it's important to listen to these things, I think this is one of the other good reasons why it's helpful to have a lawyer there because if they've been to enough green card interviews, they're going to be able to give you their insight because they're not the one in the crossfire. They're not the one having to answer every question. You have sort of an objective first and sitting off to the back, watching the whole thing. And I spend a lot of time watching the officer, trying to read them, read their emotions, read their whatever they reveal in the way that they interact with our clients. And that's almost as helpful as me taking notes of everything that happened during the interview, which is the other main job that I have when I'm at an interview.

So hopefully when you go to your immigration interview, whether it's for citizenship or green card or whatever else, that you got a nice officer, not a mean officer. But again, as always, we're ready for anything, whatever the officer throws at us, we're ready to go, we're ready to fight, we're ready to state our case. We're confident, we're unapologetic, we're direct and we're smiling even under that mask. If you have questions, give us a call, 314 961 8200. Email us at [email protected]. Our Facebook group is Immigrant Home. We'd love to have you join there. I think we have around 5,500 members in there sharing immigration information. And then finally, you know about our YouTube channel. We add a new video to it every single day. And we also have our live show on Tuesdays and Thursdays, usually at noon central, where I answer as many of your immigration law related questions as possible. Thanks a lot and have a great day.

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