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USCIS Giving Out Bad Advice

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USCIS is giving out bad advice? Hmm. Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our offices in St. Louis, San Diego, and Washington, D.C. Clients are sometimes surprised that they can’t rely on the information that was provided to them on the 1-800 number or even on the USCIS’s website, and this video is going to talk about that. It’s sort of funny, a lot of people don’t want to spend money on a lawyer, and they think that if they talk to someone at USCIS, that they can take that to the bank. Now, many times these clients, or potential clients, don’t even write down the name of the person that they’re talking to, but they’ll come in here and tell us, “Well, I know that you’re wrong, Mr. Hacking, because that USCIS officer told me otherwise.” “Oh yeah? What’s their name?” “I don’t know.” “What’s their badge number.” “I don’t know.” “What day did you call?” “Oh, I can’t remember. I think it was Tuesday.”

And so if anyone in their right mind thinks that a bland, alleged misstatement by a USCIS officer is enough to keep your case alive, they’re crazy and probably smoking crack. So you cannot rely on what a USCIS officer says. You can’t rely on what someone on the 1-800 number says. That is not the law. The law is not even what an officer says in your interview. The law is what the law is and the regulations are what the regulations are. And so I have personally seen USCIS officers give out bad information. Back in the good old days before Donald Trump, we had this thing called InfoPass. And InfoPass, you could actually get on the computer, schedule an appointment down at your local field office and go down and talk to an officer. And in St. Louis, this window was close by where we would wait to go into interviews. And so I’ve heard numerous pieces of bad advice given out at those windows, and not just in St. Louis, I’ve heard it in many different places.

And so the idea that you can latch on to these things and treat them as gospel is like, “Oh, well, yeah, I missed my biometrics appointment. Well, the officer said it was okay, that they’ll send me another one, but then they never did.” “Huh. Wow. Oh my.” That’s the thing, you can’t rely on them. You got to talk to a lawyer. You got to talk to someone who knows the law. You got to talk to someone who deals with these kinds of situations every day. And most importantly, don’t forget, they are not your advocate. They are not your friend. I’m not saying that they are affirmatively trying to screw people, but at the same time, they don’t owe you the same fiduciary duty, the duty of good faith, that your lawyer owes you. Right?

And so they’re just trying to get off the phone as quick as they can. They’re trying to answer your questions as quickly as they can. I do believe many of them are well-intentioned, but it doesn’t mean their advice is right. It doesn’t mean their advice is right at all. In fact, many times, their advice is flat out wrong and dumb and bad and going to screw you over. So if you have questions, go to the source. Read the law. Read the regulations. If you need help interpreting it, go ahead and talk to a lawyer. That’s what these videos are all about. That’s why I make these videos is just trying to make the law and the regulations that are as complex as can be readily understandable by you, but mostly to give you the insight that you need to think, “Maybe I need to talk to a lawyer.”

When I was in law school, I might’ve told this story before, but when I was in law school, Amany and I had to take tax. Of all things, you had to take tax your second semester of law school. Now, I knew goddamn well that I was never going to take tax because tax is boring, but it’s all statutory, right? It’s all whatever the Congress has written into the laws, that’s the tax, and then, of course, the rules and regulations developed by the Internal Revenue Service. Now, I hated tax. I really didn’t enjoy the class. The teacher wasn’t the nicest guy in the world and the class was horribly boring. And at the end of the semester, the professor said to us, “Look, I know most of you aren’t going to be tax attorneys and that’s probably a good thing. And what I did want you to understand is how complex it is. And I want you to understand that if you find your client in a tax problem, they need to talk to a competent tax attorney.”

I believe the same rule applies to immigration. It’s just as complex. And if I, Jim Hacking, the immigration lawyer, needed tax help, I would hire a tax attorney. And in fact, I have. I’m an attorney and I don’t think, “Oh, I took tax. I got a C plus, I think, in tax or a B minus, whatever it was, so therefore, I can handle my own tax matter.” If I’m smart enough to know that I need a real expert, then I hope that you have come to realize after watching these videos just how complex things are. You can’t rely on the internet. You can’t rely on USCIS, InfoPass, or phone calls. You can’t rely on general legal information. You need to have a specific answer to your specific question to your specific case.

Hope this makes sense. If not, give us a call 314-961-8200. Email us info@hackinglawpractice.com. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home. If you liked this video, we ask that you please share it out on social, that you subscribe to our YouTube channel, and that you join us on Tuesdays and Thursdays, usually at noon Central, live on our Immigration Answers Show, which is in our Facebook group and on the YouTube channel. Thanks a lot and have a great day.

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