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What happens when you lie to your immigration attorney?

To Be Legal 04-22-19

In This Episode:

What happens when you lie to your immigration attorney? In this segment, Andrés Mejer gives two examples of where not being honest with an attorney can hurt you.


Good morning my name is Andrés Mejer. I’m an immigration attorney and the author of Do you qualify forU.S. legal status. Welcome to the English version of our radio show. I’m in the car here right behind me isMt. Laurel. That’s a New Jersey field office. I just came out with a client and I’m waiting to go back again with another client. Today I want to talk to you about why.

What what can happen if you lie to your attorney.

I want to give you two specific examples of real cases that happened just last week. Now in that case the circumstances are real but the names are not. So first case is George. His criminal record affected him. We’ll talk about what do I mean by that. And the second is Maria who lied to immigration off officer about her entries into the US and what that means. So thank you for listening in here in the first part of our radio show. Para ser legal which is not in its usual time because unfortunately I did have to go with a client to immigration to USCIS field offices right behind me. Not that you can really see it’s just a brick wall. But here’s two scenarios that happened just last week. The first George now George. And that’s not his real name has been in removal proceedings since 2011. He had two prior immigration attorneys before coming to us. He came to us only about three weeks ago. The first thing that we do with every new client or every potential client is we evaluate his or her options. So when does he qualify for some form of relief. Number two does he have something in his background an arrest a conviction that could disqualify him. And third we create a plan. So George said he was never arrested other than by ice that he had no criminal record.

And we we decided we determined together that asylum was his best option. And we put a plan in place to be able to have a petition filed with the judge at the date of his court appearance which is three weeks away. So we made it a follow up appointment to bring in who give me a list of documents to come in with all his documents to quote our questionnaire so we can prepare the petition at the appointment.

He didn’t show up. We called back what happened. Hey.

He said Oh something came up. We rescheduled it. We informed. Listen you don’t have a lot of time. You know you can’t just bring this to us the day before and expect us to be ready. Second appointment.

He also doesn’t show up. They don’t take our phone calls the day before court.

He stops in the office at 548 justice so my team members were we’re leaving obviously no petition nothing could be prepared from 6:00 at night to 9:00a.m. the next morning. It needed to be filed with Texas and we need to get a receipt and none of that could happen that day or a couple hours before the appearance.

So at the court appearance we went. The judge was unhappy with him is an understatement. The judge almost gave him an order of removal on that day because it was a very old case and he was told the last time do not come back without a petition. We asked the judge to give us more time. The judge gave him a trial date and gave us time before then to prepare the petitions and prepare for Trump. Now. After that court hearing we had we went with another client. And George was leaving. Well ice grabbed George and detained him. And somebody was kind enough to let us know we went and we talked to. I said What are you doing. He’s represented by counsel. You can’t just take them. What they did but they allowed us to do we insisted that we meet him. And in going and talking to George we finally got the full story. He told us he was despite what he promised that he’d never been arrested.

He was already convicted of two Dubai’s now. That was about. That was 2011 2012. That was not the end.

That was not. If it was just that would be OK because he was previously released but he had two pending to you wise that he failed to appear in 2015. That means he had he had two active orders for his arrest. He walked into a building where ice has their offices their law enforcement. They looked him up. They found he had an order of arrest. They arrested him. That never happened to me before in immigration court. I mean he was already processed. He’s already in removal proceedings What worse can happen. But here he had an order. He had two orders of arrest for criminal charges. Nothing to do with immigration. Now had he told us in advance.

Maybe there’s something we could have done. Certainly not the day before.

But if he told us three weeks before we could have communicated with those courts we could have find out what the bail now was. We could have processed to bail so he would not have had an active warrant for his arrest. Now he would still have to confront and defend those two D wise and in prior shows we’ve talked about what are the common defense strategies for DUI. But he did. We didn’t have that opportunity because he didn’t confine did us and he didn’t tell us and it was preventable it was avoidable. But I understand why he didn’t go to court.

If he was convicted of either of those do you guys. He’s facing minimum six months in jail mandatory no discretion. Conviction means six months in jail for each case.

But unfortunately not confront confronting your problems does not make them go away. Lying to your attorney does not make them

go away. You know it’s unfortunate that he had to learn that the hard way. So anybody who’s watching this please. If you had any interaction with immigration or law enforcement for whatever reason let your attorney know. It can affect your case particularly if you have an order of arrest. Look if you fail to appear even if it’s a traffic ticket you drive without a license you go in you plead guilty they give you a five dollar fine. You make the first payment you could take a plan. You don’t make that are the best payments. They don’t go away. The judge gives you a bench warrant and next time they pull you over even for a small infraction you’re arrested you go to jail and then ice can pick you up. Don’t let that happen to you. Find an attorney get some help get some advice make sure that you don’t have an order of arrest. Very important. 100 percent preventable. What happened to George. Had he worked with his attorneys or even his prior attorneys because you know we’ve since reached out to them and he said look he would appear you make a payment plan. He wouldn’t pay. He wouldn’t show up and you know we only heard from him a couple of days before court. It’s the same thing that happened to us. So unfortunately George did not take responsibility for his scenario but I hope anybody listening to this learns from that and.

Reaches out to me to another immigration attorney to quote a defense attorney we can help you if not somebody else can help you. The important thing is you find out your options. If you have any questions you can give us a call at 8 8 8 8 8 8 0 3 0 7. Or you can find this on Facebook or on the web but on this mecca our law. So that was the first scenario. George. E forgot to disclose. Well he failed to tell us that he had orders of arrest. Not a good option.

Now let’s. This is again. This happened just last week. Now let’s talk about Maria. This is the second scenario. So for those who are just tuning in.

The subject of today is why lying to your immigration attorney is not a good idea. We’re talking about two case studies that happened just last week that. Had the client been honest with us we could have done things different. So George had an order of arrest had to. Those were not defended. Those were not addressed. So when you went to ice he got detained. Now we’re going to talk about Maria. Again. Maria’s not her real name. The facts are real. But her name is not to protect our privacy. Maria has three United States children. I’m sorry. ThreeU.S. citizen children. They were all born here. One of them is over 18 and was in them and it’s in the military. The oldest is 22. And she can file for her mother now. But here’s the thing. In order for mom to get her green card. She needs.

In order for mom to get a green card based on her daughter’s applying for her. She needs legal entry to the United States in prior episodes of this program. We’ve talked about what are the requirements for a family based petition. And there are. Basically two sometimes three in Maria’s situation does just two.

One. You have to document the relationship that her son really is her son that her daughter really is her daughter. So you know we almost we typically always know who Mommy’s birth certificate always has Mom’s name. Birth certificate does not always have dad’s name. Now if there’s any doubt if there’s any ambiguity there’s always a DNA test. There’s photos there’s a variety of ways to prove that the relationship is legitimate but that’s step one step two is. The change of status now change of status. That’s where Maria would go from undocumented or illegal or a student visa or a tourist visa or nature would be whatever kind of visa she adds to a lawful permanent resident. And that could happen either in the US or outside the US. If you if it’s outside of the US. Well once she leaves she needs a waiver because she’s already been in theU.S. more than one year without permission. And because of that once she leaves she’s inadmissible for 10 years unless she applies and receives a waiver but she doesn’t qualify for a waiver because you know it she needs to show parents or spouse that aU.S. citizen a green card in order to apply for a waiver. She doesn’t have that she has children who areU.S. citizens. So her only option would be change of status meaning inside had.

It. How does that happen. So the changes that is inside the US. Maria needs.

Forgive me I’m trying to play with the camera while I’m talking to you. So Maria needs an immediate relative which her daughter is daughter twenty two and aU.S. citizen and she needs legal entry into the US now. Maria told us she entered in 1986 and without permission meaning illegally. So she does not have legal entry. That’s where parole in place comes in. That’s where her son who’s a Marine can make a difference. Parole in place was created in 2013 under the Obama administration. The idea is that. citizens are green card holders people who are serving their country and have undocumented family immediate relatives like parents should not have to worry that their parents or their relatives are going to be deported while their their life is at risk. While they’re serving their country. So they created parole and place parole in place. Essentially give somebody legal entry into the US hugely important work authorization and protection from deportation. So that’s what we did from Maria. We asked Maria once she entered that stage she said 1986 we proved that her son was in the military. We proved that it is our son. We proved that Maria was a good moral person that deserved discretion and consideration and it was approved. So that approval is an admission into the US. It’s it’s a legal fiction.

But because the statute says you must have been inspected admitted or paroled. Well parole in place is a function of parole. So Maria was paroled in the United States. With that she had legal entry with that her daughter who is twenty two could file for her adjustment of status for her to get a green card. The US her son who was a Marine could not file for for his mother because he was under 21 years old. But his older sister was over 21 aU.S. citizen. She could. So that’s what we did. So sister applied for it for mom and in October we had an interview. The interview went very well. Officer said she was going to recommend approval for a green card but she just was waiting on the results of the background search. Perfect client said there was there was no negative hits. She only had one arrest and that arrest was was in the 90s and it was was dismissed. So months

go by. No decision. We send e-mails we send letters we ask the officer what’s going on. Last week we got called in back for another interview before we got here. I asked you know I asked Mary I asked a client so listen.

It is very rare that we have a second interview every single time there’s a second interview there’s some kind of problem that immigration is looking at. Is there anything you didn’t tell me. Is there an arrest is there multiple entries. Is there any fraud. Is there anything you didn’t tell me and Maria said no there is nothing. So I’m scratching my head wondering I don’t know what we’re doing here for a second interview but we went and I asked the officer with what we started said Officer last time you said you were inclined to approve what happened. So it’s some questions about her entries. So I asked you also what you mean. She answered that already. So I immediately knew that there was a problem. Turned out the problem was a much more significant than I thought. So Maria I test had.

Maria’s problem was she entered the US more than once. Problem was she lied about it and she got caught in repetition.

She said she only entered in nineteen eighty six in the first interview.

She said she only entered in nineteen eighty six at the second interview last week. She said she started saying the same thing and the officer asked her when was your last entry to the US. She said November 86 at NASA. Did you ever leave. She said no. I’ve stressed again. Are you sure. Yeah I’m sure. I only answered once officer asked a third time to be really sure. And Maria said again yes. I only answered once and I never left. So the officer turns the monitor around and says Is this you and Maria looks at it and says No I don’t think so. First she says no. Then said you sure because this came up when we when we ran your fingerprints. Then she said oh yeah that is me. You want to tell me what happened. So then she’s here. So here’s this here’s what happened.

Maria left the US in 2000 with her children because her father was deathly ill and until he passed away. So she went back to help him in his final days said goodbye and then came in to us. Now her kids areU.S. citizens. So they entered without a problem.

But Maria did have a problem. She was caught at the border. On July 2000 and July 14 of 2000 and she was returned to Mexico. Why is that a problem. Well first of all she lied to an officer. But outside of that. Why is that a problem. The law changed in 1997 so that if you come into the US either before 97 or after 97 and you either overstay or turn illegally give you might. My family’s example we came in 1981. We came in as tourists. We had legally but we overstayed their visas. The moment we overstayed we accrued what’s called unlawful presence time in the United States without permission. Anybody who’s an adult meaning over 18. And after 1997 is in the US for more than one year without permission. More than 365 days and leaves cannot come into the United States without applying and receiving a waiver. And here there was proof that she left theU.S. after 97. In 2000 by your testimony. Tried to come back in and was not allowed. So. In 2000 she did into the US probably the very next day is what she said but she accrued unlawful presence and she did not file and receive a waiver. She’s subject to what’s called the permanent bar. That means she must now stay outside of theU.S. for 10 years and there is no waiver for that none whatsoever. So had we known that this has happened we never would’ve filed for adjustment status. Just you know we know she’s inadmissible. And that’s the problem. Too often my clients and not just the immigrants in general believe if they don’t tell their attorney something it’s like it didn’t happen. At the end of the day. Immigration has your whole world. When they fingerprint you. I only have access to you. I only know what you share with me. If you’re not honest with me I can’t guide you and I can’t help you. So the officer. Wanted a sworn statement. And this was a two hour long interview. At the end of it. She gave a conclusion and said ma’am. You are inadmissible in the United States because of the multiple entries you are subject to the permanent bar and there is no waiver for this. Number two you lied to me. You gave me a myth. You made a material misrepresentation. The first interview at the petition you signed was incorrect at the interview. I asked you. You lied today when I asked you. You lied again and it was only when I showed you that I knew you had previously entered. That you admitted it. Because you lied to immigration officer. You made a mature interpretation. You’re also inadmissible to the US. Now. I instructed Maria not to sign that document because there’s nothing there. That was going to help her. I also had her and her daughter withdraw her green card petition.

Why do I do that.

Because if I didn’t it would have been denied and she would have been referred to ICE custody. She would’ve been placed in removal proceedings. I didn’t want that to happen. Now that may still happen. We are in the climate that we’re in. I would drew the application and I took her out of the building as quickly as possible to avoid any interaction with ice. Had I not been there she would have signed the document. She would have gotten denied today that day and she would have been turned over to ICE and ICE would have processed her. That’s what would have happened if I had not been there. Not because. I’m the greatest attorney on earth not because of that but because I knew. What was happening and I was able to guide her and say do not sign something that’s not in your best interest. She had nothing to gain by signing that document. The officer already could prove that she lied. The officer already could prove that she had multiple entries. She gained nothing by signing it and only did or harm. So we left. Now we’re going to try to reapply for the parole and place. Her employment authorization had lapsed because of her parole because we got her employment authorization under her green card petition. We are now going to request under the parole but. The now the case is a whole lot harder. I don’t know if they’re going to grant it because there’s proof in the file that she lied to an officer. So. Incredibly important to be honest with your attorney.

Here we just talked about two examples of things that in one case could have gone horribly wrong in other case it did go wrong by not being honest with your attorney. My name is on this method. I’m happy to answer any of your questions either now or in the future. Feel free to give us a call at 8 8 8 8 8 8 0 3 0 7 if you want a copy of our book do you qualify for us legal status you can contact us on Facebook on our Web or call the office. 8 8 8 8 8 8 0 3 0 7. The book talks about the nine principle path to legal status. If you’re in New Jersey I’ll send it to you. Free. If you’re outside New Jersey I’ll send you an electronic version. Thank you for listening. Until next week.

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