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US Immigration Decisions Based on Information in an Online Forum

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing US Immigration matters and I am specifically discussing this in the context of information generally found on the internet; Immigration forums if you will or Immigration fora if you will, and just discussing whether or not it is always a wise idea to use the information you find in one of these forum sites in your specific case. 

I want to be clear at the outset. I am not saying forms aren't useful or fora aren't useful, they can be. Visa Journey for example; I think there are others out there. They can be very useful for general information but the practice of law is kind of a weirdly fascinating thing. Folks who are sort of on the outside of it think it is one thing and those who have to deal with it often times truly understand it is another. At first glance it can look like "oh, if this recipe if you will, works in this case it will work in a case similar to it.” Maybe, but facts distinguish one case from another. Moreover, and this is a real problem I see with folks using information they found on a forum online and bringing it up on their case, is that information may have gone out of date, especially in the Trump era of US Immigration. We are seeing a lot of changes with respect to the way in which cases are processed. Okay the body of law has not shifted but the Administrative mechanism that processes these cases through, it has shifted a lot. I am here to tell you as a practitioner the administrative processing functions have diverged radically from what we dealt with prior to Trump coming into office. Meanwhile, certain rules have changed or more precisely the Executives’ interpretation of those rules have changed. Most notably the Public Charge rule has fundamentally altered the way in which we are processing cases, specifically Immigrant Spouse Visa cases, other types of Spouse Visas and Fiance Visas out of the US Embassy here in Thailand; cases out of the US Embassy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia; cases out of the Embassy in Vientiane, Laos; and that is primarily where we do with most of our cases. But this is having an even broader impact. I talked to other colleagues in the Philippines and Vietnam as well as even further out who say "yeah, there are broad ramifications of different interpretations and implementations of new policies associated with law that has been in existence for five decades in some cases". 

So again, taking information from an online forum can be very useful. What I would say is, it can provide you with great insight on the broad strokes of the Immigration process. It can provide you with good insight sometimes as to how long a case might take to process, but when applying law to facts or what we sometimes call making findings of facts and conclusions of laws in our legal opinions, nuances can matter and taking a one-size-fits-all approach, especially I should say in an Immigration context can be fraught with serious peril not only from the standpoint of causing delays but in extreme cases, it may cause cases to be denied and it could cause circumstances in which a person might be found to have committed something akin to Immigration fraud . 

So, the thing to take away from this video is, if you are looking at doing Immigration, if you are looking at going to the United States or getting a loved one into the United States and you are using online resources such as a forum exclusively, you think that that will provide the best sort of recipe or map if you will for getting through the process, it is not the wisest course of action often times. For this reason I urge you to go ahead and contact a legal professional and try to ascertain where things stand. At the very least get a consultation so you at least understand exactly how you need to process your case moving forward because some folks will go into this using out-of-date or erroneous information and it can be very detrimental to their case.