Bad truth or good bola?

Bad truth or good bola?

A Filipino and his U.S. citizen wife came to my office recently for a consultation. They drove several hours to see me in person. He was crying and begging me to accept his case, but I advised him to wait until there would be further changes in law. He is not eligible to apply for a green card. To do anything now would likely result in a denial, and he is spending money for nothing.

This man had entered the U.S. on a crewman’s visa. He did not have the benefit of section 245(i), which is a law that might enable a crewman to adjust status (be interviewed in the U.S. for a green card), provided he was petitioned before April 30, 2001. He was not petitioned before that date. He also committed fraud by entering into the U.S. under a different name.

He then asked about “provisional waiver,” as he had seen success stories on my television show, Citizen Pinoy, involving crewmen who were able to go back to Manila for their immigrant visa and return to the U.S. without being subject to the 10 year bar. I pointed out that provisional waiver is available if the person’s ONLY immigration violation is he overstayed. It is not available if a person has other immigration violations such as FRAUD.  Therefore, he was not eligible for a provisional waiver.

This person had consulted with me a few years earlier, and I had told him the same thing: he’s not eligible to apply for a green card at this time, and he should wait. He did not like that answer and went to an immigration consultant, and paid the consultant over $10,000 based on the consultant’s promises and assurances that his case was “easy,” and the consultant would be able to obtain his green card for him in the US. After paying all that money, his case was denied, as I had predicted. There was no change in immigration law since the last time he consulted with me, and so, my advice was the same.

But my point is, when you seek advice, what is it that you want? Good bola, or bad truth? Sometimes the truth is not what you want to hear, such as there may not be anything that could be done right now.  People tend to listen to the bola, but I’m glad that there are many Filipinos who consult with me, saying they came to me to get a “straight answer.”

I’m not saying every case is hopeless, but consult with an immigration attorney, as there could possibly be hope in your case. Do not rely on consultants’ promises that sound too good to be true, as you may end up like this man.

Michael J. Gurfinkel has been an attorney for over 35 years and is licensed, and an active member of the State Bars of California and New York. All immigration services are provided by, or under the supervision of, an active member of the State Bar of California. Each case is different and results may depend on the facts of the particular case. The information and opinions contained herein (including testimonials, “Success Stories”, endorsements and re-enactments) are of a general nature, and are not intended to apply to any particular case, and do not constitute a prediction, warranty, guarantee or legal advice regarding the outcome of your legal matter. No attorney-client relationship is, or shall be, established with any reader.

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