The Importance of Honesty
I recently handled a immigration case that highlights the absolute importance of being completely honest when dealing with the USCIS. I was actually the third lawyer to work on the case. The client retained me after the previous two attorneys had mishandled the case to the point that the client was on the verge of receiving a notice to appear for deportation.
The case began as an ordinary adjustment of status case that went horribly wrong. The client, a Mexican citizen who is married to an American citizen, hired attorney #1 to file his application to adjust status to permanent residency. Unfortunately attorney #1 did not properly file the application and was served with a notice that he must provide the USCIS with additional evidence or the case would be denied. Attorney #1 compounded his mishandling of the client’s case by failing to successfully transmit the requested additional evidence to the USCIS. The client’s adjustment of status case was then denied. The USCIS further notified attorney #1 and the client that client’s work authorization and advance parole (travel document) associated with the adjustment of status application were cancelled.
After the client was notified that his case was denied he fired attorney #1 and retained attorney #2 to try to fix the situation. Attorney #2 filed a motion to reopen client’s adjustment of status case. Attorney #2 then advised the client that the client could travel to Mexico and reenter the United States using the cancelled advance parole document associated with the client’s now denied adjustment application.
Client did travel to Mexico and did re-enter the United States using the cancelled advance parole document associated with the denied adjustment of status application. Unfortunately the client’s use of the cancelled and invalid advance parole document to gain reentry to the United States constituted material misrepresentation to the USCIS. Shortly thereafter the USCIS sent the client a letter advising him that he was guilty of misrepresentation under section 212(a)(6)(c)(1) of the immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and was now going be excludable from the United States.
Approximately seven (7) days after the client received the notice of excludability the client retained me as his third attorney to file a waiver of excludability on grounds that his exclusion from the United States represented an extreme hardship to his American citizen spouse. I worked day and night over Christmas 2007 to get the client’s waiver of excludability, supporting evidence, and memorandum of law ready for submission to the USCIS within the remaining 23 day deadline.
I filed the waiver application on January 7, 2008 and we are still waiting to hear whether the waiver will be approved. The cost of hiring me to prepare the waiver application far exceeded the cost of hiring a competent lawyer to handle the client’s adjustment case in the first place. Moreover, it is far from certain the waiver will be approved.
Section 212(a)(6)(c)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides that an applicant guilty of dishonesty to the USCIS for the purpose of obtaining an immigration benefit will be excluded from the United States. The USCIS is not spare about applying this provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act. If a non-citizen lies to the USCIS and the USCIS finds out (and the USCIS almost always finds out) the non-citizen will be excluded from the United States.
I get calls almost every week in which someone asks me about whether their fiance can enter the United States on a tourist (B-2) visa and then get married. I tell these callers that they are playing with fire. Entering the United States on a tourist visa for the purpose of marrying an American constitutes material misrepresentation under section 212(a)(6)(c)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. It is a really bad idea to try to circumvent the immigration laws by using the tourist visa to enter the United States to get married instead of waiting for a fiance visa.
In conclusion, it is best when dealing with immigration to always be completely honest and forthright. If you are not honest your application can be denied and you can find yourself or your fiance ineligible to ever enter the United States.
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