Common Mistakes New Immigrants Make

1. A Friend Referred Me To A Person Who Does Political Asylum Cases.

First and foremost, do you have a real case for political asylum? Only an attorney, who is specialized in this area, can tell you that. Don’t rely on the fact that someone can fill out a form. Do you qualify? If you don’t you could end up in the Krome Detention Center, and deported within 6 months. The fact that you file for asylum and get a receipt from USCIS, or even if you get an employment Authorization Document because 150 days have passed does not mean you will be granted asylum. If your case is denied, you will be deported. This is a complex and difficult area of the law. If you qualify then go for it. However, economical duress is not a factor, nor is persecution for economical reasons. Do not sign blank forms and most importantly do not sign false statements. You will be in severe legal problems if you do.

2. A Friend Referred Me To A Person Who Can Give Me A Permanent Residence Stamp.

There is no such a thing as a stamp for permanent residence. Many of our countries do have a simple procedure and an agent can conduct this process. In the US this is not the case. There has to be an underlying petition for the immigrant visa. Usually a family member or a company must petition for you. There are other petitions, such as a religious minister or you have extraordinary abilities. Did this person file a petition for you? Do you have receipt of this petition and copies of the file? What is the basis for the petition? Once you have the petition approved you can file the I-485 for adjustment of status. Sometimes you can file them together, but you need an underlying basis. Watch out. The stamp, called the I-551 is granted in a personal interview with USCIS. No one else can put it in your passport otherwise.

3. A Friend, Who I Don’t Really Know, Told Me About Someone Who Gives Out Social Security Cards That Are Real.

This is not even a real issue. Anyone who has been in the US for more than five minutes knows that a Social Security card has to be issued ONLY by the Social Security Administration and is based on authorization from USCIS or the SSA. Any other deviation is fraud. Do not go there. It is a Federal Crime and has severe consequences.

4. A Friend Told Me How To Get A Fake EAD Card.

Do you have any idea of what a Federal crime is? To falsify a Federal document can put you in jail for 10 years. If you obtain a fake document that is ONLY issued by the Federal government of the US you have committed a serious crime. This is not just a piece of paper. You are a criminal, by the fact that you requested and obtained it. The fraud does not only apply to the person who made the document. You are just as criminally liable as the producer of the document. You obtained and used it. Want to go to jail and be deported? Be my guest!

5. A Friend Told Me About A Person Who Can Get Me A Visa Through A Church.

Religious worker visas are a very important part of our ministry for God. However, you must ask yourself if you really are a religious There was a sunset for immigrant religious worker visas in September of 2004. Did you apply after this date? If you did you have no visa. If you applied before, is there a real position for you? You can apply still if you are a priest, nun, monk, pastor, or other positions of specific religious or spiritual responsibility in a church. Sadly this visa has been abused grossly and is under strict review. Please do not use our Father’s name in vain to gain immigration benefits. Not only is the US government looking over your shoulder, but God is too. I would beware of the latter.

6. A Friend Told Me About A Person Who Files Labor Certifications Cheaper Than Lawyers.

Well this is one of my favorite topics because I know the consequences so well. There is a law that says that agents may file labor certification. I agree, they may. The question is why pay them? They are not authorized to make sure that the labor certification has any value. It may be certified but it is a worthless piece of paper if the company or the person does not qualify to use it. It’s about as useful as a sheet of Kleenex. The sad part is that most applicants will not find out that they are not eligible for several years. The labor certification is certified and the I-140 is filed with an I-485, we all get Employment Authorization, excellent and then the case is denied. It used to take three years for this to happen, but now it will be 6 months or less so you will not hear such success stories for long. The problem is that agents are not authorized to determine the two steps that come before and after a labor certification. First, an attorney must determine that the person has the legal status to apply for the labor certification. No one else can do this. It is punishable under law for non-attorneys to do so. Before you start you need to know you will make it to the finish line. Why bother otherwise? There are a lot of subtle legal issues to resolve when it comes to legal status. Second, you need to know that the company qualifies to pay you the salary and you need to know that you qualify for the position. Just any old company, cannot request a labor certification, there are specific standards. Only an attorney can determine this and it must be done prior to the filing of the labor certification. Also, you as the applicant must have the correct credentials. Only an attorney can determine this. Why, because there are legal interpretations involved. It is easy to fill in a form, but you can do it wrong. The legal consequences of doing so are only validated if they are done by a trained professional who has passed the Florida State Bar or equivalent. There is a reason for this: a professional is responsible for his work. Unlicensed practitioners of law have no problem with messing up. The Florida Bar actively investigates this type of non-professional activity and brings suit against them.

7. A Friend Told Me About A Lawyer Who Does L-1 Visas For Start Up Companies.

This is my personal nightmare. Unskilled attorneys and paralegals think the L-1 is THE solution to immigration to the U.S. Frankly, it is not. Most companies that begin operations in the U.S. take 5 years to reach the organizational structure needed to meet the legal requirements of recruiting a multinational executive. The first year is a freebee, anything goes, but after one year the company has to prove that the ”manager” has three or four professional employees who execute the tasks, and below them there have to be employees to “do” the ministerial work. That means a startup company needs 8-10 employees minimum to qualify the L-1 candidate within a year. Go figure, that’s financial Besides, these geniuses never tell you that the foreign entity has to continue full blast. How can you leave your corporation in a foreign country to start a new one in the US and keep both corporations going full steam? Something has got to give!

8. A Friend Told Me That Lawyers Are Expensive: Look for Alternatives.

Alternatives are expensive. A lawyer is bound by the law, and by ethics. Prices set by paralegals and non-lawyers tend to be the same or higher than legal fees. Lawyers have limits set by law, and what really matters is that they must answer for their mistakes. A “notario” is not accountable for anything if they mess up. A lawyer is accountable and they lose their license if they fail to file a case, or they submit false evidence. If you don’t like the lawyer’s price look for another one, but never think that a good lawyer is going to be more expensive than a fraud. It just doesn’t work that way. Would you give your child a scorpion instead of bread? Think about it?

“A Friend Told Me…” Do We Get the Gist? There are a lot of ways to get deported, don’t have a friend aid you!


This article is solely a partial explanation of all the issues related to the topic of this newsletter, and is not to be considered legal advice.  Persons interested in obtaining more information should consult with their legal counsel to obtain explanations of all issues addressed herein.

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