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Almost every Filipino has seen the movie Titanic, the story of Jack and Rose who sailed that doomed ship, which hit an iceberg and sank.

During consultations, I sometimes compare the person’s immigration situation to sailing on the Titanic.

What do I mean by that?  

If a person wants to buy a ticket on the Titanic, I want to tell them about all of the possible "icebergs" they may encounter.

In the same way, if a person wants to pursue a particular immigration benefit, I think it is important that they be advised of all  the possible issues, problems, dangers, and the like (icebergs), in addition to being told of the requirements and chances.

I know this approach is counter – productive for business.

I probably could have more sign ups if I focus solely on the positive, and downplay the negative.  

But all of these Filipinos appreciate my approach.

They relate how when they went to consultants or others with their situation, and no matter how serious the case, they were told their case is "no problem," that they have a 95% chance of success, etc., and were asked to immediately sign the retainer.  

But they felt the person was more interested in getting the sign up and down payment than in giving them a realistic assessment of their situation.

In fact, I have turned down many cases, where I really felt the chances were slim, or the risks too great.

But I think I owe it to the person to point out the "icebergs", rather than telling them it's going to be smooth sailing, when I already know they're going to encounter problems, issues, or icebergs.  

And after pointing out those issues, they can make an informed decision to go forward, or wait for new developments in immigration laws.

And I want to be clear I am not "guaranteeing" success or approval on any person’s case, even a case that seemingly has no icebergs.

But I do believe it is important for a person to fully understand all aspects of their case and situation, not just the positive, but also the negative, so they can determine whether or not to proceed, and how to possibly deal with and avoid the icebergs.

***

Michael J. Gurfinkel has been an attorney for over 30 years, and is an active member of the State Bar of California and New York, as well as the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Immigration Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association.  

He has always excelled in school:  Valedictorian in High School; Cum Laude at UCLA; and Law Degree Honors and academic scholar at Loyola Law School, which is one of the top law schools in California.  

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(This is for informational purposes only, and reflects the firm’s opinions and views on general issues.  Each case is different and results may depend on the facts of a particular case. All immigration services are provided by an active member of the State Bar of California and/or by a person under the supervision of an active member of the State Bar. No prediction, warranty or guarantee can be made about the results of any case.  Should you need or want legal advice, you should consult with and retain counsel of your own choice.)