You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

Believe it or not, we are occasionally asked, “Why do people need Immigration Lawyers?”

Well, here’s one example.

A client who we assisted with his green card in 1996 returned to our office in 2007. He hired us to represent him in his naturalization case.

Prior to green card approval, we disclosed that the gentleman had paid a fine for a minor violation in 1992.

Although Immigration already had this information in its file, we knew before the citizenship interview that they would request a certified copy of the municipal judgment.

We overnighted the court a request for the document. The municipal court never wrote back.

Then we called the court and left several messages but received no reply.

Finally a member of our staff personally went to the courthouse. The security guard directed him to the Records Department.

After he showed the copy of our letter to the Records Clerk, she said, “We don’t have this file. Go to the Violations Bureau.”

The Violations Clerk then told him, “We don’t have this file. Go back to Records. They have it.”

(You know what’s coming next, right?)

Records said, “WE TOLD YOU, we do not have this file. Go back to Violations. They have it.”

And wouldn’t you know it, Violations still did not have the file. But they finally agreed to look into the matter.

Now — remember — this all started because the Immigration Service requires certified copies of judgments before approving citizenship cases. This rule applies even if Immigration has the record from before they approved the green card.

Meanwhile our client cannot become a US Citizen until the municipal court finds a sixteen year old piece of paper.

So, now you know why people need Immigration Lawyers.

P.S. The Court requested a check for Fifty Cents.

Written by: Harlan York

Immigration Attorney Harlan York is Former Chair, Immigration Section, NJ State Bar Association and Former Co-Chair, NY State Bar Association CFLS Immigration Committee. Mr. York appeared on National Television on CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose and Primer Impacto on Univision, as well as Telemundo, NBC, and PBS. He was honored as First Ever Immigration Lawyer of The Year in NJ by Best Lawyers.

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