In order to receive competent legal advice from an immigration attorney, it is critical that individuals are honest and forthcoming from the beginning of their immigration case. Individuals should be prepared to disclose with confidence any aliases, immigration violations, criminal history, prior immigration applications, and unauthorized employment, among other things. This type of information is crucial for an immigration attorney to thoroughly evaluate a case and determine appropriate options, possible waivers, and strategy from the beginning of a case. Under the rules of professional responsibility, your immigration attorney will only disclose information to the government that is necessary and will maintain the confidentiality of your personal information.
Below is a non-comprehensive list of possible issues to discuss and disclose to your immigration attorney:
- Unauthorized employment;
- Criminal history, including tickets, arrests, or any contact with the police and the outcome of any charges;
- Immigration violations, including any contact with immigration officers;
- Past entries and departures from the United States;
- Past due taxes or tax fraud issues, such as claiming dependents who you do not support;
- Prior immigration applications;
- Possible false claims to U.S. Citizenship;
- Use of any controlled substances, including marijuana; and
- Aliases or other identities used.
Many individuals make the mistake of believing that “little white lies” about their past will have no impact on their current immigration case. However, these types of lies could result in significant immigration consequences for failure to disclose, including being placed in removal proceedings. The U.S. government possesses years of historical records that could be traced back to you via fingerprint, alias, or address.
It is best to disclose the information you know to your immigration attorney so that neither you nor your attorney is caught off guard in an immigration interview or court hearing. Alternatively, if you are uncertain about what is contained in your past file with the government, it is advised to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request before filing any type of application for immigration benefits.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office at (714) 786-1166 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.