This is the question many undocumented young people are asking as the August 15th start date for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) process nears. Many people, including fellow attorneys, believe immigration law is simply filling out forms. Why would anyone hire an attorney to fill out forms?
Immigration law is not just filling out forms. It’s more akin to tax law in that it is based on regulations, statutes and ever-changing interpretations by government agencies. There are many pitfalls when filing the forms with the government. If an application or petition includes certain information, it can raise a red flag and start in motion the process of removal and court proceedings. Each question on any immigration form is included for a reason. Answering incorrectly can have substantial consequences for the applicant or applicant’s family members. From my experience, USCIS rarely regards incorrect information provided on a form as merely an error.
Many beneficiaries of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) will be able to fill out the forms, which are admittedly straightforward; however, there exists a broader context to the DACA process. For example, the forms, when released on August 15th, will likely ask for certain information about family members as well. Issues of confidentiality and potential deportation risks to those family members should be considered in depth.
I cannot tell you how many times I have met with people who either began the immigration process (245i adjustment, marriage-based adjustment of status, consular processing, I-601 waiver) on their own or had a family friend help them. They filed the wrong forms or included incorrect information or suddenly were facing deportation in immigration court. The cost to hire an attorney at the outset, or at least consult with an attorney before moving forward, would have been nominal, but the costs to extricate the person from the situation afterwards, was thousands of dollars.
When you hire an experienced immigration attorney, you are buying peace of mind. You know you have someone on your side that understands the pitfalls and knows how to avoid them. While you will undoubtedly pay less to fill out the forms yourself or hire a notario to file your DACA case, sometimes the cheap gets expensive.
At The Nunez Firm, we will be filing DACA cases later this month. We intend to charge a reasonable flat rate attorney fee that is affordable and fairly compensates us for the time spent preparing the case. We are offering free consultations to help potential DACA beneficiaries better understand the process and how we can help. Managing attorney Jay Nunez will personally meet with you and answer your questions regarding the exciting new changes that are coming about in immigration law.