What are Trends in USCIS and Department of State Visa Decisions, and How Can I Get Legal Advice?
January 23, 2019
Gaining lawful status in the U.S. has always been difficult. But, with new policies like Buy American Hire American and extreme vetting, we see more Requests for Evidence (RFE’s), Notices of Intent to Deny (NOIDs) and denials from both applicants outside and inside the United States. USCIS and the State Department deny approvable cases because they’ve been told denials will protect U.S. workers. I think the opposite is true – immigration continues to benefit U.S. business and workers, so more people and businesses are asking us what can be done.
It’s important to know the legal requirements for any visa or lawful status, and present relevant and sufficient evidence to meet each of the requirements stated in the statute or regulations. Now we need to present even more evidence and argue to the agencies and the federal courts why the case must be approved, and how a particular denial in fact violates the law.
Each case is different. Some agencies, like U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, will have an internal process available, like a motion to reopen or reconsider, or an appeal to an administrative appeals office to review a decision. Others, like U.S. Consulates abroad, or certain cases where the U.S. Customs & Border Protection turns someone with a visa away, have to be challenged either informally or sometimes by suing the agency in federal court.
Yes, it is possible to sue the government and win. In over 30 years of practice, I have not once had a client retaliated against. In fact, I’ve seen just the opposite. In most cases, our clients are treated with greater respect and get more consideration, because the government knows that it will have to defend a weak decision in court if we are involved.
Personal referrals are often effective, but don’t rely entirely on someone else’s experience–do serious research and talk with a number of attorneys. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and local bar associations have referral services. All of the attorneys in our firm are actively involved in AILA. Read online reviews, and assess the attorney’s experience and reputation. Different attorneys approach the same case differently–compare the information you get. You should learn what are the issues and obstacles, and what an appropriate strategy for your case is.
Get a written agreement that states what the attorney will do and how he or she will charge you, by time or project. Ask if you will receive copies of the attorney’s work product as the case proceeds–at Scott D. Pollock & Associate, P.C., we provide representation agreements, copies of all documents, and monthly account statements to our clients. Be sure your attorney is a good communicator and available. You should understand as much as your attorney about your case. Don’t trust an attorney who says she has connections or special access to Government officials. They are either lying or setting you up for big problems in the future. Immigration is a complex field. If an attorney’s promises seem too good to be true, they just may be. With the right attorney, hopefully the Government will approve your case without too much work. Be prepared for a fight with a trustworthy attorney on your side. Persistence often pays off in the end.