As an immigration attorney, I have had the horrible experience of going into an interview with a client and an immigration officer, and finding out at the interview that my client didn’t share all the details about their life with me, or outright lied to me. In addition, when their application was denied because of the information they withheld from me, they were angry with me rather than taking personal responsibility.
In contrast, I’ve also had clients who have shared uncomfortable facts with me about their personal life. Knowing about it helped me to take care of the problem before we went to immigration, and this helped them to get the approval they wanted.
Why You Might Keep Secrets From Your Attorney
While it might seem like a no-brainer to tell your attorney the truth, not everyone does.
That’s because people are afraid. They might have come from a communist country, or a corrupt country, with very little trust. Some believe that there’s no reason to tell their immigration attorney about something that happened a long time ago. They might hope that if they don’t bring it up, immigration won’t know, and it won’t affect their case.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, you should know that it’s always better to bring up something with your attorney before you even submit your application.
How We Decide If We Can Help You
At Andres Mejer Law, we look at three things when we meet with everyone.
- Do you have a legal path to citizenship or legal status? There are nine principal ways we look at here.
- Do you have something in your past that could stop you? There are five common dangers we ask about.
- If you do have something that stops you, can we fix it? There are three approaches to fix your past that we have successfully used for our clients that we may be able to use for you.
If you don’t have a path, or you have something in your past that could stop you and we can’t do anything to overcome that, we won’t accept your case.
We also can do a very thorough background check for our clients. This might show things that clients forgot about or didn’t tell us. We do this because letting us know about it helps you instead of hurting your immigration case.
No one likes to lose. We want to be successful for all our clients. No one is right 100% of the time, but that is our goal.
What You Should Share With Your Attorney
Not telling your immigration attorney about previous marriages could hurt your case.
If we don’t know, we can’t ensure that we submit the proper documentation to show that marriage was legally ended and the one they are in now is valid. Without a valid marriage, your application for getting a green card through marriage will be denied.
Prior USCIS Applications
I’ve also had people not tell me about prior applications to USCIS.
Why is this important to know? Because USCIS has that information. We need to know what you said on that application so we can make sure that the information provided on your new application is complete and says the same things.
Past Immigration Issues
We’ve had people not share that they used a different name, were deported from the US, or were found entering (or living here) illegally. It’s possible to overcome all of these issues, but we can’t do anything about it if we don’t know about it.
Consult a Trustworthy Immigration Attorney!
Just like you, we hate wasting time and money. Hiring an attorney and filing for your immigration status is not cheap. If you want to make sure you don’t lose that money, be honest with your attorney.
We won’t report you to ICE. We are under no obligation to turn you in. For most of what you tell us, attorney-client privilege exists meaning we couldn’t tell anyone even if we wanted to (which we don’t). The only person you are going to hurt by not being open and honest about your past is yourself and your family.
If you have something in your past that you think might keep you from obtaining a legal status, call us at Andres Mejer Law. We will be honest with you and let you know what we think your chances are. If we can’t help you, we won’t take your money.