What if USCIS ask other people for evidence about my case?
Hi, I'm Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer, practicing law throughout the United States at our offices in St. Louis, San Diego and Washington D.C.
In today's video I want to talk about when USCIS goes out and does some independent investigation. That might be contacting your landlord to get a copy of your lease, or to ask about your living arrangements. That might be contacting your ex-wife or your ex-husband. That might be contacting employers. They do do this sometimes. Every field office has a fraud unit, and if not, they are connected to a fraud unit, and they can bring someone in from the fraud unit to investigate you. USCIS does spend time going out and interviewing people about your case. They don't do it in every case, for sure, but they certainly have the right to do it as well.
One of the most frequent things that we see is when the landlord is contacted about the living arrangements. We have seen situations where people have given fake leases to USCIS. USCIS has figured that out by getting a copy of the real lease from the landlord. They've also gone on to talk to landlords to ask them about whether or not they've seen the couple together. So this is in a marriage context where they go and check to make sure that what you're telling them is true, that you don't actually live in the apartment with some other woman or man. That can really cause a problem.
Interestingly this week I had a client, or a potential client, ask me about the fact that USCIS had come to his leasing office and asked for a copy of his lease. The building called him and said, "Should we give this to them or not?" Now, he was on the fence as to whether or not to tell them to give them the lease because it did, in this particular instance, look a little strange. I told him, "Dude, you can't have any fingerprints or any efforts trying to stop USCIS from doing their job. If you do that, you're toast. It might even be a federal crime. I told him to let the landlord know to release the information as soon as possible. You have to understand that if you're going to apply for an immigration benefit, especially for a marriage-based Green Card, they're going to investigate you.
One of their other favorite tricks is to go out and talk to the ex-wife or the ex-husband. If you're filing for a removal of conditions and you've gotten divorced, or even if you're applying for citizenship and you've gotten divorced, they do go out sometimes and contact the ex-spouse. A lot of times they wait to see if a marriage falls apart and then when it does, they pounce and they go and talk to the ex-spouse. And of course, as you might imagine, the ex-spouse usually doesn't have anything good to say about the immigrant. That is something else that you need to be thinking about if you're applying for immigration benefit, is that they're probably going to go, or at least there is a chance they're going to go, talk to your ex-spouse.
Then the last time or last instances that we see them really going out of their way to contact people, is to contact employers. One of the things that they want to make sure of is that you've never made a false claim to US citizenship. So they'll go out and request copies of your I-9s. They'll ask for your personnel file to see if you've ever represented yourself as a citizen. This is especially true if you've been in the United States for a long time without permission.
USCIS has these powers. They use these powers. And most importantly, you should anticipate these powers. Now, you should always tell the truth at USCIS, because it's the right thing to do. You should always tell the truth at USCIS, because that's what I tell you that you should do. That's just good legal advice to always tell the truth. But, you have to ask yourself, "Well, if I'm confronted with evidence developed by USCIS from other people, what's that going to look like? What are my answers? How are they going to match up to what USCIS finds?"
If you're worried about that or if you have questions, give us a call at 314-961-8200. You can email us [email protected]. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group that's called Immigrant Home. We'd love to have you in there. On our YouTube channel you can subscribe and get a update whenever we make a new video, just like this one. My kids say that you're supposed to click that little bell, so you get the notification. And then don't forget on Tuesdays and Thursdays, most Tuesdays and Thursdays, from noon to 1:00 PM Central, I'll be live in our Facebook group answering as many of your immigration law-related questions as possible.
Thanks a lot and have a great day.