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Is An Attorney Necessary At Your Green Card Interview?

Immigration attorney, Andres Mejer, explains if you need an attorney at your green card interview. When you hire Andres Mejer Law they will make sure you know what to expect, that you are prepared, and that if there are any changes during the process to the laws or procedures – you won’t be surprised.

Transcript (Transcripción):

Andres Mejer :Welcome to the English version of our radio program, Para Ser Legal. Today, I’m going to cover three topics about your Green Card interview that everyone wants to know. One. Do you need an attorney at your interview? The answer may surprise you.

Andres Mejer :Do you need an attorney at your Green Card interview? The answer is no. I know that’s a surprise. An attorney telling you you don’t actually need an attorney. You are never required to use an immigration attorney. The law gives you the right to have an attorney at your expense. But it. Is it mandatory? Should you? Yes. Do you have to? No. So let’s go and talk about what an attorney can do to help you. Most important thing is give you strategic advice. Look, if you’re going to drive long distance, if you’re in New Jersey and you’re gonna drive to Florida or California, you’re going to need a map and you’re gonna need to plot, of course, your first need to figure out how to get there. You don’t want to find yourself driving south when you should be going west at every consultation. We create a road map to your case focusing on three things. One, do you have a path to legal status? Because if you don’t stop there, too. Is there something in your past that can disqualify you like multiple entries, criminal conduct, prior petitions that have been denied, allegations of fraud? No. Any of those issues can can be the cause of a denial of your petition. And lastly, if there is a disqualifying event, can we fix it? Well, criminal conduct, maybe we can reopen, go to the crime. Multiple entries. Probably not depending on when they were before or after 1997. You don’t owe child support. We can fix that. owe back taxes. We could fix that. So depending on what it is, if we can’t fix it, there’s no point going forward and we’re not going to charge you anything. You need a plan.

Andres Mejer :So let me give an example. Right. A client came to office begging for help. Very sad situation. She’s a U.S. citizen. She filed for her her husband’s Green Card. They did it without an attorney. They went in interview also without an attorney, because they said this is a clean cut case. We have three kids. We’ve been together 10 years. What’s the problem? Well, the problem is he had a prior order of removal. Because he was caught coming into the boarder, fingerprinted and deported back to his country. Then he came back again, was not caught and has been here ever since. Well, she goes to the interview. They go to interview USCIS, ICE comes in and takes him because he was a Mexican citizen. In days he was deported back to Mexico. She didn’t hired us to get him back. Now, had they done a full background search like we do for all our friends clients. They would have known that this could happen up front. I would have known we would have shown them. We would have gone to the interview with what’s called a stay of removal application, ready and prepared. They would have known exactly how to deal with this fixable situation. It is fixable and he will come back. Unfortunately, they’re just gonna be separated longer. And again, it is very unfortunate.

Andres Mejer :Here’s another one. Again, a Mexican immigrant been with us for over 25 years. He entered legally, came as a tourist, no overstay and recently married a U.S. citizen. Sounds easy, right? She filed the paperwork for him. All they did together. They went to the interview, all without an attorney. At the interview, the officer says, hey, you know, look, I have no questions or doubts that this is true, that your relationship is real. You have multiple kids. You’ve been together for four years. But before I approve, you just have one quick question. Can you talk to you about this arrest in 2005? Well, so he goes, oh, well, I’m happy to answer that. Well, you know, I for my job, I needed to have a driver’s license. So I bought the identity of a Puerto Rican man. And I went to Motor Vehicle Commission and I applied for a driver’s license using his name. I was caught and I was arrested. But ultimately, charges were dismissed. Sir, can you just sign that for me? And you brought up a statement saying exactly that and the guy signed it. Thank you very much. Unfortunate. I have. I have to deny your claim. You made a false claim to U.S. citizenship and ICE is going to take you. And he was put in removal proceedings. Now. No. No attorney with our firm would ever have allowed him to make such an admission. First of all, we know we allowed him to answer the question. We would have just said, officer. Those charges were dismissed. Period. End of story. Officer had no way to know what happened or what did. Had no way to get those documents unless he provided it. But because it was dismissed, they would never have gotten that admission. They would never have been able to disqualify But for the fact that the immigrant volunteered the information. And then. Sign a document to it. He was put into removal proceedings and there was pretty much nothing I could do about that. It’s one of the reasons why I would recommend a full background search to avoid just such a surprise situation. So no one give you strategic advice.

Andres Mejer :Number two, an attorney can save you time and stress. Well, the immigration process is stressful. There’s no two ways about it. We understand you have a lot riding on your application. We find that our clients have lots of questions. And guess what? It’s not just that the initial consultation. It’s throughout the process. One of the services we offer is we stay with our clients through the entire process. We don’t charge extra for those questions. They’re included in our flat fee. Completing this process is difficult, but not impossible. If you do it alone. When I was younger, I used to file my own taxes and it doesn’t matter if I was going to get money or if I was going to pay money, I put it off at the last possible moment. I usually did it April 14th or April 15th because I knew it would take me hours to get it done. Now, when I open up my law firm almost 10 years ago, I initially was doing my business taxes and I learned. Much to my chagrin that business taxes are due at different times a year. It’s not April 15th and sometimes it’s quarterly. First year I did it myself. I missed a deadline and it cost me hundreds of dollars that I didn’t have. Because I did know. Now I use an accountant, not because I can’t do it myself. I can’t. But I know that it isn’t a good use of my time to spend hours making sure I do my one application correctly. An account does hundreds of tax applications each year. For them, it’s easy for me. It’s hard work. It’s the same with immigration applications. We do hundreds a year, so we’re very comfortable with the process. We can help you avoid the dangers of filing an application to the wrong place or setting the wrong fee or not providing the correct supporting documents and avoiding the known dis qualifiers. So do you need an attorney? No, not if you can invest the time and energy to do it right. An immigration attorney. There’s a lot more than just fill out paperwork. It’s about creating a strategy. When you hire us implementing that strategy until you achieve legal status, part of that is preparing you for the interview. What questions are they going to ask you? What documents you need to bring? Do you need to supplement your petition? Look, several years ago, you filed a Green Card application. You’re going to have an interview in two or three months. Within six months. You’re already a lawful permanent resident today. That process could take a year or longer. So you’re in a situation where you file the application and your interview may not be. Ten, eleven, twelve months later. By that point, there’s a lot of additional documentation, bank accounts, maybe taxes that that you’ve done. Maybe you changed jobs, maybe you had a traffic violation or accused of a crime. You know, a lot of stuff happens over the course of that year. So you need to supplement your documents. An attorney can help you do that. Just knowing what to expect and where to go is a huge relief for most of my clients.

Andres Mejer :So we’ll review with you the questions you’re likely to be asked at the interview. We know the law. We know what an officer can and cannot ask you at the interview. And we do what we can to make sure that your rights are upheld during this process. Now. Here’s one attorney can’t do for you, your attorney can’t answer questions for you, your attorney cannot argue with the officer about why you should be approved. We can point out certain documentation. We can point out certain facts. We can point out the officer. I think the clients misunderstood the question can you repeat? So were there the guide to facilitate, not to clash directly with the officer because the officer could ask us to leave in or ask for a supervisor? If that happens, but a good attorney will do everything they can based on the information that you provide to one determine chance success. Be honest with you about your chances. And three. Have you fully prepared and submit all necessary documents plus supporting evidence to make it more difficult for you to be denied. Whether you hire our office or another attorney, this information will help you have a better idea of what an attorney can and should do to help you.

Andres Mejer: Thank you for tuning in. I’m Andrés Mejer. If you have any questions, put them down in the comments below. Please subscribe to a channel so that you can be kept up to date on the latest happenings in immigration. Until next time I’m Andres Mejer. Have a good day.