Immigration Technology

Immigration, Technology and Enforcement: It is a Brave New World

It is clear that immigration has increased its enforcement efforts in the Trump administration.  None the less the Obama and W. Bush administrations also had a significant increment in the cases of removal or deportation from the United States.  In the Obama administration the number of aliens that were deported was higher than ever before.  In the W. Bush era the creation and activation of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003 led to a natural increase in removal cases.  The common thread in all of the above is not a negative animus against immigrants, that could be said about the current administration, but not of the previous. The one thing that is a powerful, yet silent, cause behind the rise of enforcement action by immigration agencies is an exponential increment in the use of technology for the processing of cases.  Just to understand what is happening, let’s look at the change of case processing over time in regards to fingerprints.  In the past individuals were fingerprinted in carboard cards that were sent to the FBI and physically compared to one another without the certainty of inclusion in any type of database.  Now fingerprints are collected electronically and immediately available for use and comparison by immigration.  So, what does this mean for the average immigrant, including those individuals who already became citizens of the United States?
Using “preparers,” “notaries,” or “friends” in your dealings with immigration is, more than ever, not an option.  Errors, misstatement and outright fraud, that usually take place with these individuals are things that WILL be seen and found.  They are no longer things of the past – we are not dealing with paper files. We are in the world of electronic files where all information, biometric and biographical, is shared and corroborated.  An omission or a misstatement by someone, like a “notario,” who does not have the preparation or credentials of a lawyer, can be deadly to an immigration case.
Crimes, convictions, marriages and deportations are no longer “forgotten.” If any of these things have happened in a case, they are not going to simply “disappear with time,” as some people think.  Now, more than ever issues with such things are easily discovered and MUST, as has always been the case, be disclosed in your immigration proceedings.  Not doing so may result in your deportation twenty years from now!  For example, read about operation Janus where individuals who were not properly naturalized, be it for lying or fraud in their immigration process, are now being denaturalized.  Also, if you are an immigrant who has an arrest or conviction and who has not yet naturalized, you are also exposing yourself to detention and deportation when traveling out and back to the United States.  Simply put, your biographical history is now in the internet and ignoring it is not a solution.
The bottom line is this.  We ARE living in the age of Big Brother and the U.S. government has the technology and the will to use it to enforce immigration laws.   Remember, Facebook, Instagram, Etc.… collect and share information with third party databases who in turn provide information services for the Government.  Your life is out there in the internet and immigration can get it. So, if you have issues with your immigration past, are having them now with immigration or the law, or think that you may have them in the future, consult or hire a competent immigration attorney who has dealt with cases like yours in the past.

Immigration knows your information, it already has it, so why lie? Disclosure is the best way.

It is hard to believe that the question “how will Immigration find out?” is still being asked by clients and relied upon by some lawyers.  Not only is this line of thinking one that may jeopardize an attorney’s license, it is an almost assured way of ruining a case.  In ANY immigration proceeding, be it your first or last, credibility is an essential part.  Why?  Because not only may your credibility support the case, in some instances it is the reason why you win it.  For example, an asylum case may be granted solely upon credible testimony. (Asylum Credibility) At the same time, the moment credibility is lost with an adjudicator or opposing party, it is very likely that the case will follow the same path – no matter if it is USCIS, an Asylum Officer, or an Immigration Judge.  So, advice.

First.  Always disclose arrests, marriages, changes of address, travel to and from the U.S., etc…  If for some reason your attorney tells you that such act or situation may be an issue: DEAL WITH IT up front.   Trying to hide it or not disclosing it to a department of state consul, an immigration officer or a customs and border protection agent will eventually surface, destroy your credibility and create a disqualifier in the form of fraud.  (Immigration Fraud Info) Further, remember that most things have waivers – few don’t, like a false claim to us citizenship (but even that may be salvageable!) – and it is better to disclose and request a waiver than to fail to disclose and, not only get your case on the path to assured denial, ending up with a fraud charge for which you may need a second waiver.

Second.  Tell your immigration attorney and keep a record of what you said.  Lawyers are human, they make mistakes, forget things, and cannot read minds.  So, do not assume that your lawyer knows something in your case if you have not expressly told him or her about it.  If you think something should be in everyone’s record tell your lawyer and let him or her guide you on that issue.  Take it as a serious warning if your attorney even hints at not disclosing a fact or issue with your case. (This is not to be confused with what the government must prove in its burden in certain cases, but this is a very fine line which you must walk with care).

Finally, keep in mind the information that you have in the internet.  It is public information in many cases.  Google, Facebook, Instagram and other applications and social media services provide a summary of the information they have collected on you.  (Ger your information) You may want to retrieve this information to have a record.

So, when dealing with immigration start from the idea that all negative information about you is in their hands. This leads to better preparation of cases and better results for you as you will not have to worry many years later if your citizenship may be revoked be cause of an undisclosed fact in your immigration history. (Denaturalization Cases)  So talk your attorney or if you do not have one, get one. Good luck.  For more information go to our main page.