How Does a Background Check Help You in Immigration?

Why should you do a background search every single time you apply for an immigration benefit. It’s simple. You could have an order of arrest.

Transcript (Transcripción):

Andres Mejer: Why should you do a background search every single time you apply for an immigration benefit. It’s simple. You could have an order of arrest. 

Andres Mejer: Your name could have been confused. 

Andres Mejer: Imagine that Sergio Caprio with a P instead of a Cabrio with a B, was arrested for a crime and deported. Imagine. And your name is Sergio Cabrio. And someone makes a mistake and puts his information on your contact. So when the FBI pulls you information or an ice pulls your information they see an order of deportation that belongs to Sergio Capri Caprio instead of said Cabrio and they try to deport you to reinstate it. If you don’t do anything and you’re from Mexico you’re gone within a week or from Canada. Other countries might take two weeks or more. But the point is they will look to deport you real fast. Had you done a background search you would have been able to find out. So what did what do I what am I talking about when I say a background search. 

Andres Mejer: So we look for FBI search that shows me any arrests or detention. Sometimes it shows deportations or ice arrests not always. That’s why you have to separately contact do a FOYA  to ICE, Department of Homeland Security, USCIS, Department of State, Customs Border Patro,l EOIR, which is the courts and OBDIM, which is a clearinghouse that has all your fingerprints from all agencies. So what happens if I was caught in the border in 2003 and I said my name is Jorge Fernandez. When it’s not I’m Andres Mejer and I was deported and then I come back in another time and I have no problem, if I don’t tell my attorney, if I don’t tell somebody about their priority deportation. 

Andres Mejer: You know, people think oh well I use different name, immigrations not going to know. Of course they know, they fingerprinted you. That information stays. I want a record of everything. Any arrests, any detention, traffic violation, look in New Jersey. DUI is a traffic violation, but for immigration purposes it’s a serious offense. It’s a big deal. So we need to know it. We don’t want to find out after the fact that there was a problem that we could have fixed. Let me give an example. We’ll talk about Maria. 

Andres Mejer: That’s not her real name. So last week I went to her Green Card interview. She was ultimately approved, now she entered the United States with a transit visa. What’s that? Well you really see them very often nowadays but a transit visa is a generally someone’s given permission to come in know say it’s for a very short period time. Hers was two days. She was from the Philippines. She was traveling to Los Angeles and from there she was going to take a flight to Brazil to get employment training. Now fast forward 20 years. She’s married a U.S. citizen. She has to prove that he’s a U.S. citizen. She has to prove that the relationship is legitimate. She also has to prove that she entered legally. And what those conditions were, now we pulled the information so we had proof of her entry but because we saw the category was a transit visa we also knew that. And that’s why we communicated with our client in advance and asked, listen what was the reason why you came into the United States. And she said I enter United States in order to travel travels to Brazil. When did you find out that? Why didn’t you leave Brazil? Why didn’t you leave the U.S. to go to Brazil? Well the moment I landed I got a text message telling me, yes there were text messages back then too. I checked it, I got a text message telling me that the training was canceled and to go back to the Philippines. So I sat there with nothing and decided well I’m in the U.S.. Let’s see what I can make out of it 20 years later. Here she is. So because we did that we requested the documentation we were able to prove the necessary elements. And because of that she is now a green card holder. 

Andres Mejer: Let me give you another example. Let’s talk about George. George is from Costa Rica. His wife’s in Puerto Rico and applied for him. They have three kids together. He entered the US with a visa as a tourist and overstayed. Now during the 20 years that that he was here. During the 20 years that that he was here. He was arrested for soliciting prostitution. He also had two orders of arrest. For. Failure to appear. 

Andres Mejer: For driving without for driving on a suspended license. Problem is second conviction, he had already been convicted once. Second conviction automatic jail time. So he got pulled over, didn’t show up. Then he got pulled over a second time paid bail. Didn’t show up. And I asked him Have you ever been arrested. No absolutely not. I asked him in front of his wife, which I I try not to do now didn’t occur to me. This is how I learned. He was embarrassed that he never told her about his arrests particularly soliciting prostitution even though it was before he met her. 

Andres Mejer: He was embarrassed to tell her. So he didn’t. He would rather get detained. 

Andres Mejer: And possibly deported rather than have his wife learn you know what he did when he was younger. Now because we pulled the background search we found it and we asked me to listen do you understand the gravity of this. We filed for you you would have been arrested you had two orders of arrest and a conviction for something that makes you inadmissible. 

Andres Mejer: Now we reopened the conviction, we made we made that go away. We defended him in both driving with a suspended license cases. He didn’t go to jail we minimized it. We remanded it down. And then today he’s a Green Card holder. But had we not done the background search. He would have been found inadmissible. United States. He could have been put in removal proceedings and his life would have been very different. It is incredibly important that you, your attorney always do a background search. We don’t know what we don’t know. I had a client once she was in removal proceedings actually she started out that she was she was charged with a DUI here in New Jersey. Now I mean this is not her real name but. 

Andres Mejer: Let’s say it was Guadalupe Fernandez Hernandez. Problem was. There was an order of arrest for a DUI drug related in Arizona for a Guadalupe Fernandez Hernandez. And let’s say her birthday was March 6. The one I was my client. Well in Arizona with the birthday was June 3rd. So the US. 

Andres Mejer: The way we write our dates is different than most of the rest of the world. We do Month, Date, Year. Most of the rest of the world. Does it. Date, month, year, smallest to greatest. We just. Confuse everything, so.ICE. Thought they were one and the same. 

Andres Mejer: We ordered a copy of the discovery and it was a photo of the of the guy in Arizona charged with the crime. The guy looked not nothing like my client. First of all he was a foot taller and about good 100 pounds more. 

Andres Mejer: Guadalupe it can be male or female. Incredibly important to order the documents ,request the documents, review the background search, FBI traffic violations and each of the immigration agencies. Again if you’re applying for immigration benefit Let’s assume you’ve had CPS for 10 years. You don’t want to put information. So I mean you know every five at least five to six times. You renewed you TPS, well your information might might be different then than it is now. 

Andres Mejer: You don’t want to risk that. We need to review it. 

Andres Mejer: Sometimes we need to prove the manner of your entry. Sometimes we need to prove that you’re admissible in the United States when they believe that you’re not. So I don’t know what I don’t know but I don’t want to find out. Once you’re in front of an ICE officer. That’s. I wouldn’t say it’s too late but it. 

Andres Mejer: It takes a tool that we have to fix what could have been a bad situation and make it an easier process, a cheaper process and a faster process. You know if we find out you have an order of deportation, I’ll give you a perfect example. There was a woman again. We’ll just call her Guadalupe and. 

Andres Mejer: Her husband, well her son was in the military. We got her parole in place. He was over 18. When he turned 21. He filed for his mom. 

Andres Mejer: She failed to disclose that she was caught at the border and she entered more than once. She told us and she swore under oath that she only entered the United States once. Well it turns out she entered once. Then. She left. 

Andres Mejer: And she came back. She was caught gave a fake name. And then came back and wasn’t caught. 

Andres Mejer: And. Her entries and exits made her inadmissible. So even though she now had parole in place which is which is legal status. And even though her son is a U.S. citizen she was inadmissible because of those entries and that she lied to it under oath in front of immigration an immigration officer. Now,she refused. She signed a document saying I understand there are consequences if I don’t do a background search but I don’t want to do a background search. I don’t need one. She said I will need one. Well she was wrong. And now she is in removal proceedings. You know I never would have would have put her forward for a Green Card knowing she’s inadmissible. 

Andres Mejer:  I hope I answered all your questions. My name is Andrés Mejer. Thank you for joining us on this show.