Selecting an immigration lawyer is a difficult task
I am sure that you may have heard the following conversation an endless amount of times: “I found the cheapest attorney,” “What’s his or her name, record and what did they promise you?” “I can’t answer all your questions, because I’m not sure, but the fact is that he or she is going to fix my papers and it’s not going to cost me an arm and a leg,”. Then everybody finds out what happens next: In the end, the so-called lawyer is a huge fraud, he or she disappears with the down payment and the victim has to start saving again in order to pay for it from scratch. The fact of the matter is that selecting an immigration lawyer is a difficult task that stands in your way of this adventure we call migration.
Officials at the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) have emitted several warnings against attorneys and public notaries who charge excessive, illegal fees for the infamous steps need to gain legal status. These swindlers promise the coveted residency status to illegal immigrants, in spite of the fact that nowadays there are not that many legalization possibilities. Nevertheless, desperate immigrants keep falling for their trap. Hard-working immigrants, who don’t have thousands of dollars available to spend on attorneys, are the ones who get the short-end of the stick. In this situation, their ignorance becomes easy prey for malice.
However, there are several ways to avoid this tragedy, and this article will try to lead you to one of them.
The decision to hire a good immigration lawyer is yours alone and at times indispensable in order for your legal status to turn out successful. In the United States, there are a variety of useful tools to help you in your search for an immigration lawyer.
For example, the American Bar Association (ABA) located at www.abanet.org. This organization contains archived information on U.S. certified lawyers. The ABA has a national registry on suspended lawyers and dissatisfied client complaints are available in both English and Spanish. A competent immigration lawyer can analyze your situation and advise you on the different legal options that are available, always letting you know the costs and consequences for each. You must always be aware of the fact that no one can guarantee absolute success on any INS-related matter, since immigration laws are extremely complex and are subject to changes on a regular basis.
To make your task easier, we have put together a series of suggestions that you should bear in mind when it comes time to select an immigration lawyer:
S Do not turn into one of these people who thinks he or she knows everything and anything. It is acceptable that you not know the terminology of migratory laws, but it is unacceptable that you not know the services at your reach. For example, several INS forms are free and available online and at public libraries: no attorney should charge you to obtain these forms.
S Find out everything you can about your lawyer before setting an appointment. What is his or her reputation? How long has he or she practiced immigration law? Does he or she have respectable personnel or does he or she have a solo practice at a hard-to-find office with no name? Does he or she belong to any certified organizations? Ask yourself -and answer-all these questions before making that first payment.
S Who helped your friend or neighbor with their immigration papers? Many times, it is best to seek a lawyer on someone else’s (someone you know, of course) recommendation. If your friend was satisfied with the services and the work of their lawyer, make an appointment.
S Call the INS help lines toll-free 1-800-870-3676 or 1-800-375-5283, to obtain a response to your questions.
S Remember that your lawyer works for you and he or she should inform you about all the paperwork involved. AT055897