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 US Immigration Lawyer Steven Riznyk Gives Out Visa DVD's 
US Immigration lawyer Makes a bold Statement to support Immigration Reform through Education

San Diego, CA December 15th, 2010---Thursday, December the 16th, will be a very unique day at the Washington offices of the USCIS.

People waiting in long lines at the  U.S. immigration office (USCIS) in Washington D.C.  will receive a special Christmas present: a 5-hour DVD explaining every single visa and Green Card along with tips  and secrets to making the American dream come true. The thought is that people waiting in lines cannot afford a lawyer and need the information the most, as the system is complex and can be daunting with permanent consequences.  Dallas-based US Immigration Explained will be handing out 200 DVDs that contain both English and Spanish versions valued at approximately $10,000. The program covers every single visa and Green Card as well as what is required to win the case (with the exception of medical, as that would double the length of the already long, four-hour and 45-minute program).  

He is also giving away the program to immigration officials, police officers, politicians, and other officials, as explained below. The problem, states Mr Riznyk, is people don't get the bigger picture. Whether it be an intending immigrant or an anti-immigration person, they focus on one area, not realizing that everything is interconnected and effects the rest; remove any organ in your body and see if the system operates....same with immigration, 'everything' is important. Additionally, states Mr Riznyk, I believe this program will lower illegal immigration and work better than any fence, and for a lot less money. Mr Riznyk's position on controlling our borders is that education and information will work over the long term and cost a lot less than other options. His belief is supported by the $1.5 million he personally invested in all aspects of this program. 

When asked, the author of US Immigration Explained and the CEO of the company, immigration lawyer and negotiator Steven Riznyk, stated that the reason for the give-away is that "I don't think many people realize how complex US immigration law really is...lawyers even struggle with it" . I  have two law firms, one that caters to the public, and one that creates cases for immigration lawyers. If  you could only hear my calls for a week you would understand how complex it is, when highly experienced lawyers don't know what is going on, never mind the public that uses the Internet as their sole source of guidance.

He goes on to state "Many people risk their futures, their educations and income streams ...they put it all on the line without realizing how multi-dimensional the system is. My law firm is flooded with calls who have made disastrous mistakes on their own and with all the capabilities we have, 'we' can't even help them, and we specialize in complex cases. I think that today, the best weapon the immigration department (CIS) has in their favor is the very people who prepare their own cases...I think those efforts probably lead to a very high percentage of deportations annually. We decided, he states, to offer people the opportunity of being armed with the knowledge they need so they don't ruin their own lives...what better Christmas present could we give...this one will last forever and impact a family's future generations. If this DVD saves only one family from deportation then we did our job well, because every single person counts. On the other side of the equation, if one person realizes the consequences of entering illegally, we may keep a family together and perhaps save a life. The flip side of it is that the same person may realize that they can enter legally, perhaps under an H2b; knowledge of immigration is critical. 

Mr RIznyk goes on to state "If there is one thing that I hope I did right in my career in immigration, that would be simplifying this black box called immigration so the world could understand it"; I wanted to do for immigration what Google did for the Internet: organize information so people can understand it. Although our company cannot afford to give this program free to the world, he states, I  am willing to provide it via streaming free of charge to immigration and consular officers as well as lawyers, accountants, politicians, police/FBI/CIA officers, and government employees who deal with immigrants. Mr Riznyk, who has conducted immigration seminars worldwide to both the public and lawyers alike, including at Oxford University, spent one and a half years authoring the DVD and producing the program, digesting three feet of legal information, and adding his two decades of experience with immigration. I tried to create it, he states, using as a foundation the thousands of questions people asked me at the many seminars and conferences I spoke at. I tried to anticipate what people need to know. It has been approved by the State Bars of California and Florida for 4 hours of Continuing Legal Education credit for lawyers in those states (other states are still to be applied for). Steven Riznyk has also created a streaming site that breaks up the DVD into multiple sections for people who are concerned with giving away their address. His privacy policy, he states, is simple: no information is shared with anyone ever. 

"The biggest problem most people face" states Mr  Riznyk, "is that the system is simply too complex to understand". Worse yet, people find scattered information on the Internet and then follow what they think is good advice. It's good if you know the surrounding picture. However, too many people pick a couple of facts from the Internet and use that line of thinking to create a case. They do not fully understanding the surrounding laws and regulations that affect the case.  

US immigration has been called the most complex area of law today. Immigration Reform should focus not only on dealing with the population of people here illegally but also with simplifying the laws and procedures so that it can be understood, states Steven Riznyk . There are immigration lawyers who can't figure it out all day long, as I get called on a regular basis by lawyers confused with this system states Mr Riznyk. There are constant changes and amendments, as well as interpretations.  What we need is an organized system for both the immigration department (CIS) and the people who depend on it. With procedures changing on a regular basis and cases being interpreted nationwide by a number of judges with differing viewpoints, we have a system that couldn't be more complex. Moreover, there is no one to call for help. With all the books, associations, web sites and everything else, when you create a case you hope you have all of the best information available because even as a seasoned immigration attorney, at the end of the day, you are all alone and hope you have it right; you can't pick up the phone and ask someone to clarify.

If people understood our laws, he states, I don't think so many would enter illegally. They don't understand consequences because they don't understand the law. There is a rumor out there that if you can simply get into the United States, you can stay. I have heard it from so many people. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I believe in controlled legal immigration, states Mr Riznyk, because we need it, but I do not support illegal immigration and I think the best thing we can do is educate people about our system. Nothing out there does that and the Internet and downloadable forms are two of the biggest problem creators out there because they leave people with a false sense of confidence. Most of the appeals my firm does today are for people who conducted their own cases and lost. The second biggest source of cases is for waivers- people with a criminal record. There are tens of thousands of people out there with criminal pasts who will one day make a trip outside the U.S. or apply for citizenship only to find out that they will spend a year or more outside the U.S. without any access because they didn't file a waiver. Left to their own devices and their lack of understanding they make the job of immigration officials easy, as they put the rope around their own necks and they are just waiting for an officer to come to their home at 6 A.M. and pull it; this has happened to hundreds of people who called me. I want to help people understand the system, states Mr Riznyk, and then make a choice rather than be blindsided because they couldn't find the information or didn't even look in the first place. 

Some of the popular areas where people get caught include what is called an I130/485 case, or marriage to a U.S. citizen. Countless situations occur where the foreign person entered illegally. In many cases, the person who entered illegally did so on more than one occasion. In filing a case where a person entered illegally, there is no choice but to have the interview at the foreign Consular office. Once the person has an interview outside the country, they will not be able to return if they lose their case. Regrettably, many people who file their own case have the mistaken idea that immigration is as easy as filling out forms, not realizing the importance of knowing the law. Well, once you have entered the country illegally more than once, there is no waiver (another term for the government overlooking a negative situation) available and as a result people are caught by surprise and families are torn apart with difficult decisions ahead as the citizen is still in the United States. This could have been avoided with a little knowledge so the people would have time to plan a permanent departure, not have an interview and remain barred for at least 3-10 years under the current overstay regulations.

Even in a case where someone entered illegally just once, they still must have an interview abroad. The only way to re-enter is to create an extreme hardship waiver. The only people who qualify are spouses, sons and daughters of U.S. citizens and Green Card holders, also called Permanent Residents. "There are two problems here", states Mr Riznyk. The first, is that people download the form and then fill it out. "In the 23 years that I have been a lawyer I have yet to hear of someone simply filling out a form for a waiver and winning the case. There may be some, but I haven't heard of them; this is even more relevant as many waivers created by lawyers, after hours of research are denied". In order to win a waiver, a legal brief must accompany it. In this document, one uses a web site such as Lexis or Westlaw where cases are researched, and then from hundreds of cases, you hope to find 2 or 3 that strongly support your position. It's not over then. The case must then be written in a persuasive fashion that sells the position; mere presentation of law and facts is boring at best, and not very compelling. The second problem, states Mr Riznyk, is that the person needs to qualify for that waiver. An extreme hardship waiver needs exactly that to win. The mere facts of separation or financial hardship will not overcome the bar. "Sadly, I receive several calls a month by people who filed their own waivers, wrote letters to accompany them, and then call me because their husband is not returning from the interview".  This could have been resolved if the person realized that a letter alone would not be enough, and secondly, that financial hardship, barring some extraordinary circumstances, is simply not enough with which to win a case. The point here is that you must understand the law, and not believe what you read on a web site to be complete unless you know it to be so. Many web sites only address one aspect. It's the same as being informed that a stock is trading at $50; that number is irrelevant unless you know what it traded for in the past; information in a vacuum, such as that found in the Internet is dangerous.

Another common problem people face is they may have entered legally but then overstayed their visas. In the case of marriage to a U.S. citizen, in some situations the person can still 'adjust' their status to that of a Green Card holder, but only if they haven't left the country. There are two bars: one for 3 years if a person overstays 6 months, and one for 10 years if the person overstays one year or more. These bars do not kick in, however, until the person leaves the country. Often,  the foreign person leaves the United States to take a cruise for example, and are now faced with a 10-year bar when they try to re-enter; a classic situation of lack of information.

A regular call Mr Riznyk receives is from the person with a criminal record. There are scores of people with legal Green Cards as well as visas who have criminal records from their past, which may even have taken place in their home country many years before even applying for the Green Card. What these people don't know, is the net is closing and U.S. authorities are slowly but surely creating a comprehensive database of people's criminal pasts. As a result, people who often travel regularly, from the U.S. to Canada for example, find that one day they are not allowed to re-enter. These people could have avoided all of this by filing a waiver and requesting the government to overlook the past misdeeds. Now that they are stuck outside the country, these people will lose their jobs, sometimes their homes, and will be separated from their families for about a year, while their case is being processed. Most people discover their inadmissibility for the first time when they apply for citizenship. The form seems harmless, states Mr Riznyk, but you need to know the law that goes with it.

"I wish I could afford to give this to every intending immigrant, visa holder or visitor" states Steven Riznyk, but it is not possible. Whether a person has a lawyer or nor, they should really understand the system that will affect the rest of their lives. Too many people make mistakes that keep them permanently barred from the United States. One client cannot re-enter because her flight was delayed and she had to fly one day later than allowed on her visitor's visa. Another elderly lady who came to babysit her grandson was charged with working without authorization; this happened to a hospital volunteer as well.  I can't emphasize how important it is to understand immigration.  Just as a doctor who sees people who don't survive smoking, for example, I see the people who don't get good news from the CIS.  It is a very serious area of law with (sometimes) permanent consequences and frankly I am surprised how little people know about it, especially those who go on to conduct their own cases. If you had a life threatening disease you would want to know everything you can about it, states Mr Riznyk, well immigration should be treated the same way. This is one area of law that cannot be ignored and in many ways is more severe than criminal. In criminal, you do the time and it's over. A mistake in immigration may not be forgiven for all of your life; and this is the only life you'll get.  


Steven Riznyk is an immigration attorney and business negotiator with offices in San Diego and Dallas, serving clients nationwide and worldwide.
His phone number is 877-223-4684 or 214-764-3462 at
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