In my consultations with new and existing immigration clients, I frequently run across these issues. In the United States, ignorance of the law is never an excuse for failing to follow the law. Make sure that you don’t make the following mistakes when pursuing immigration benefits.
Accepting a plea bargain in a criminal case without consulting an immigration attorney.
What may seem like a victory to a criminal defense attorney can have serious consequences on your immigration situation. Often, defense attorney encourage clients to accept plea deals to avoid jail time or to lessen consequences of criminal conduct. A plea that seems like a good idea might still place you in removal proceedings. Indeed, in some situations, an individual might be better off serving some time in jail if it results in preserving his immigration rights. Before you accept any plea bargain, it is absolutely critical that you consult an immigration attorney.
Failing to abide by all terms and conditions of your visa.
When you are granted a visa, you agree to follow the rules associated with your visa. If, for example, you are present in the United States on a B-2 visitor visa and you are working without authorization, you have violated the terms and conditions of your visa. You are now considered out of status and accruing unlawful presence, which can lead to serious consequences that may include future bars on receiving immigration benefits.
Making false statements.
There is no such thing as a “little white lie” when it comes to talking to immigration officers or filling out immigration forms. If an immigration official has determined that you have committed fraud or misrepresentation in seeking immigration benefits, you will be permanently prohibited from obtaining immigration benefits under Section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. In limited circumstances, an individual who has committed fraud or misrepresentation can request a waiver of the ban, but these waivers are rarely granted.
Common examples of misrepresentation include lying about your work history, your education, or your financial documents. Another example is not disclosing the presence of family members in the United States when required to do so on Form DS-160. Another separate category involving fraud or misrepresentation is making a false claim of U.S. citizenship, which usually results in a permanent, lifelong ban on U.S. immigration benefits. In dealing with U.S. immigration officials, honesty is always the best policy.
Lying to your attorney.
The only way your attorney can represent you is if you always tell the complete truth about your situation. Your attorney is required to keep all of your information confidential. If you fail to tell the truth about important matters and your attorney discovers it later, he might be forced to withdraw from representing you under the rules of professional conduct that he must follow.