There are sleazy attorneys in nearly every field of law, but they seem to migrate particularly to immigration law. This is true for a number of reasons, not the least of which being:
– The supposed desperation of their clientele;
– The language and cultural barriers;
– The opportunity for high fees; and
– The ability to manipulate the situation.
Some immigration lawyers are sincerely dedicated to their work and would never try to manipulate you or charge you for services that have not been provided. Sleazy immigration attorneys, however, will charge high fees for very little service and may very well endanger your chances of being approved for citizenship.
Here are a few ways that you can identify and avoid sleazy immigration attorneys:
Avoiding Sleazy Immigration Attorneys: In-Person Solicitation
Nina has shown up for her citizenship interview at USCIS, and she is waiting her turn. A nicely-dressed gentleman sits down beside her and informs her that he is an immigration attorney. He tells her that it is almost impossible to be approved without the assistance of an attorney, and offers his for-profit services.
This should be a tremendous red flag. Competent, scrupulous immigration attorneys do not need to solicit clients this way. Not only that, but this type of solicitation is both illegal and unethical.
Avoiding Sleazy Immigration Attorneys: Guarantees
Roberto is meeting with his immigration attorney for the first time, and the lawyer tells him that he knows someone at USCIS who will put Roberto’s application at the top of the stack. Further, the attorney guarantees that Roberto’s application will be approved.
No attorney can guarantee approval, so don’t believe an attorney who says it. USCIS officers are the only people who can approve an application, and your attorney cannot make it happen.
Avoiding Sleazy Immigration Attorneys: Fancy Clothes & Offices
Immigration attorneys rarely make fortunes from this line of work, and ones who dress extravagantly or who have plush offices with multi-million-dollar artwork on the walls are trying to impress prospective customers. Avoid lawyers who have few qualifications, but who dress the part of a high-end corporate attorney.
Avoiding Sleazy Immigration Attorneys: Encouragement for Lying
Any immigration attorney who advises you to lie on your citizenship application is an attorney to avoid. This can result in a permanent decline for citizenship, and may get you thrown in jail. Report attorneys who ask you to lie and make sure to find someone else.