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Position Paper on Inconsistencies Incompetence and Obfuscation

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Position Paper on Inconsistencies Incompetence and Obfuscation

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Position Paper on Inconsistencies Incompetence and Obfuscation

  1. 1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 IS IT INCOMPETENCE OR OBFUSCATION THAT BRINGS SO MANY SUBSTANTIVE INCONSISTENCIES & CONFLICTS IN THE INFORMATION THE PETITIONERS PROVIDE? - 1 Submitted by: Joseph P. Whalen 238 Ontario Street, No. 6 Buffalo, NY 14207 (716) 604-4322 (cell) (716) 768-6506 (land-line) joseph.whalen774@gmail.com TO: ADMINISTRATIVE APPEALS OFFICE (AAO) U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES (USCIS) DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (DHS) 20 Massachusetts Ave., NW, MS 2090 Washington, D.C. 20529-2090 POSITION PAPER Is It Incompetence Or Obfuscation That Brings So Many Substantive Inconsistencies & Conflicts In The Information The Petitioners Provide? I. Introduction I am troubled by something that I see far too often for my liking. In addition, I am concerned that the multitude of inconsistencies which AAO finds in the record evidence in a seemingly extremely high percentage of its dismissals is indicative of one or the other of two bad situations. The bad situations of which I opine are incompetence and obfuscation. The following excerpt is from an AAO non-precedential decision of the dismissal of an appeal of a denied H1-B “specialty occupation” non-immigrant worker visa petition (I-129). “Upon review of the file, we note that there are obvious inconsistencies and inaccuracies in the information provided by the petitioner that call into question the
  2. 2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 IS IT INCOMPETENCE OR OBFUSCATION THAT BRINGS SO MANY SUBSTANTIVE INCONSISTENCIES & CONFLICTS IN THE INFORMATION THE PETITIONERS PROVIDE? - 2 accuracy of the petitioner's assertions overall. Moreover, we note substantive inconsistencies in the information that the petitioner has provided about the nature of the work that the petitioner claims that the beneficiary would perform. It is incumbent upon the petitioner to resolve any inconsistencies in the record by independent objective evidence. Any attempt to explain or reconcile such inconsistencies will not suffice unless the petitioner submits competent objective evidence pointing to where the truth lies. Matter of Ho, 19 I&N Dec. 582, 591-92 (BIA 1988). We therefore make the following preliminary observations.” JUN122015_02D2101.pdf, at pp. 5-6. In its detailed descriptions, AAO observed not only inconsistencies but also “conflicts in the information provided by the petitioner” which only makes matters worse for the petitioner’s case. In this particular case, AAO found troubling issues in four broad categories as follows: i. With Respect to the Petitioner's Number of Employees; ii. With Respect to the Job Title; iii. With Respect to the Petitioner's Headquarters and Proposed Worksite Address; & iv. With Respect to the Credentials Requirement to Perform the Duties of the Position. Id. at pp. 6-7 While AAO listed these four broad categories in this particular case, these are not exhaustive or all-inclusive. These are merely several examples that illustrate the point. Additional issues that pop up which can be riddled with inconsistencies might include:
  3. 3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 IS IT INCOMPETENCE OR OBFUSCATION THAT BRINGS SO MANY SUBSTANTIVE INCONSISTENCIES & CONFLICTS IN THE INFORMATION THE PETITIONERS PROVIDE? - 3  Whether there is an employer-employee relationship;  Whether there is H1-B caliber work available;  Whether there is a sufficient amount of work for the time period requested; and/or  Any of numerous possibilities. Although I have begun this discussion by focusing on an H1-B case, these same general concerns apply across all employer-employee based benefit categories. II. Focusing on the Eligibility Criteria & Qualifications In this present discussion, I do not mind one iota at sounding like a broken record. Each case must begin with the basics. If the one making the request does not have a firm grasp upon what is demanded by the law in order to obtain the benefit then that just leads to confusion and very often, a big fat disappointment. In other words, if one applies for something for which (s)he is patently ineligible or not qualified, then (s)he might get nothing more than a broken heart and dashed dreams. The reader may have wondered at the title of this section, and rightly so. It is possible that a practitioner or adjudicator, let alone the petitioner and beneficiary, could be unclear about the differences between eligibility criteria and the qualifications necessary to meet them. It really is not all that complicated. Eligibility criteria are rules to be satisfied or expectations to be met. An individual’s qualifications are the tangible; and sometimes intangible; proofs or pieces of evidence, which can include testimony, that are presented in an effort to meet the aforementioned eligibility criteria.
  4. 4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 IS IT INCOMPETENCE OR OBFUSCATION THAT BRINGS SO MANY SUBSTANTIVE INCONSISTENCIES & CONFLICTS IN THE INFORMATION THE PETITIONERS PROVIDE? - 4 Some evidence is evaluated through an exercise of judgment. Judgment can seem like a purely subjective decision or a matter of discretion; but it is neither. Judgment is an arduous comparative evaluation of what may seem like ambiguous legal criteria to what may in fact, be highly variable and difficult to comprehend pieces of evidence—and possibly testimony. In the end, the exercise of judgment is a mixed question of findings-of-fact as applied to the pertinent law. There are different levels of eligibility. There is a basic technical, legal eligibility if one can put forth the most minimal of an evidentiary showing then they might be able to demonstrate a prima facie case. This could entail as little as filing the correct form with a check that does not bounce. For asylum1, there isn’t even a fee! The asylum-seeker just has an initial screening to see if they have a credible fear or not. Anyway, this initial level of eligibility only gets you just so far. Sticking with the same example of an asylum-seeker, the next step is to actually file the request. That request will be either an affirmative application filed with USCIS, or a defensive application filed with the Immigration Court. Unlike an application for adjustment of status, the mere filing for asylum does not make the applicant immediately eligible for the interim benefits of work authorization and (usually) advance parole. Only after a minimum of a qualified 180 days waiting2 , in which 1 I-589 | Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal | Form Fee: $0 (Biometrics services may be required at no cost.) 2 If the asylum-seeker causes delays in processing, the wasted time is added to their 180 day waiting period before being legally eligible to be granted work authorization.
  5. 5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 IS IT INCOMPETENCE OR OBFUSCATION THAT BRINGS SO MANY SUBSTANTIVE INCONSISTENCIES & CONFLICTS IN THE INFORMATION THE PETITIONERS PROVIDE? - 5 Congress envisioned that the request could be adjudicated, will the asylum-seeker be legally eligible to be granted work authorization. Also, a qualified minimum of 150 days must pass before a request for work authorization may be filed. See 8 C.F.R. § 274a (c)(8)(i). After a benefit request is properly filed, the adjudication is then governed by the controlling laws. Those laws are comprised of: an authorizing statue, implementing regulations, administrative and/or judicial precedents, and other interpretive materials including: form instructions, policy directives and/or memos, plus agency handbooks and/or manuals. Any of these sources may require the applicant to make an additional interim or intermediary showing of some kind. For example, the employment-based, first preference, immigrant visa category for “an alien of extraordinary ability” (EB-1A or E11) involves a substantive adjudication in two major steps. First, the evidence must satisfy an antecedent procedural requirement, which might be a one-time major international award such as the Nobel Prize or an Oscar -or- at least three of ten possibilities enumerated in the regulations. Only after making that first showing may the adjudicator proceed to the evaluation of that evidence in a “Final Merits Determination” (FMD). In that FMD, the acceptable evidence is painstakingly dissected and distilled for its, probative value and credibility. See Kazarian v. USCIS, 596 F.3d 1115 (9th Cir. 2010). It is now time to put this information into practical application.
  6. 6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 IS IT INCOMPETENCE OR OBFUSCATION THAT BRINGS SO MANY SUBSTANTIVE INCONSISTENCIES & CONFLICTS IN THE INFORMATION THE PETITIONERS PROVIDE? - 6 III. Case Preparation Once an applicant or petitioner; or more likely, their counsel, has an idea of what they are up against, they can better prepare for the challenge. This is where many folks go astray. Fear and uncertainty, tend to beget more of the same. It is essential that whosoever is preparing the filing truly understands the legal requirements. The selection of evidence must fully address those legal requirements. Some practitioners; or beneficiaries and petitioners; do not understand the eligibility criteria and therefore, cannot select the appropriate evidence to submit. In a worst case scenario, the adjudicator is presented with a petition or application that has been supported by the “kitchen sink approach” to case preparation. This is when an uncertain person includes “everything but the kitchen sink” because they do not know what is required in order to support the case. Unfortunately, when that type of case is filed, there is often something included in that mess which at least seems to point towards ineligibility. Make smart choices in selecting evidence and arguments in order to avoid shooting yourself in the foot. As an example, please consider the common mistake of claiming that a particular position is so complex that it qualifies as a “specialty occupation” but the pay offered is for an “entry-level” position. Inconsistencies reduce the chances for success. “… As noted above, according to DOL guidance, a statement that the job offer is for a research fellow, worker in training or an internship is indicative that a Level I wage should be considered.
  7. 7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 IS IT INCOMPETENCE OR OBFUSCATION THAT BRINGS SO MANY SUBSTANTIVE INCONSISTENCIES & CONFLICTS IN THE INFORMATION THE PETITIONERS PROVIDE? - 7 Although the petitioner asserts on appeal, that its proffered position is a "more technical position" due to its depth and scope, the Level I designation on the LCA does not comport with that assertion. Further, the evidence of record does not sufficiently demonstrate that the proffered position is a "more technical position." When the Handbook does not support the proposition that a proffered position is one that meets the statutory and regulatory provisions of a specialty occupation, it is incumbent upon the petitioner to provide persuasive evidence that the proffered position more likely than not satisfies this or one of the other three criteria, notwithstanding the absence of the Handbook's support on the issue. In such case, it is the petitioner's responsibility to provide probative evidence (e.g., documentation from other objective, authoritative sources) that supports a finding that the particular position in question qualifies as a specialty occupation. Whenever more than one authoritative source exists, an adjudicator will consider and weigh all of the evidence presented to determine whether the particular position qualifies as a specialty occupation. We have reviewed the letters from the petitioner's customers that the petitioner submitted on appeal. We observe that the majority of the petitioner's customers (seven out of nine) indicated that the petitioner's requirement of a bachelor's degree without any indication that the degree be in a specific specialty, is sufficient to perform the duties of the position. We reiterate that to demonstrate that a job requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge as
  8. 8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 IS IT INCOMPETENCE OR OBFUSCATION THAT BRINGS SO MANY SUBSTANTIVE INCONSISTENCIES & CONFLICTS IN THE INFORMATION THE PETITIONERS PROVIDE? - 8 required by section 214(i)(l) of the Act, a petitioner must establish that the position requires the attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree in a specialized field of study or its equivalent. As discussed supra, USCIS interprets the degree requirement at 8 C.F.R. § 214.2(h)(4)(iii)(A) to require a degree in a specific specialty that is directly related to the proposed position. Although a general-purpose bachelor's degree may be a legitimate prerequisite for a particular position, requiring such a degree, without more, will not justify a finding that a particular position qualifies for classification as a specialty occupation. See Royal Siam Corp. v. Chertoff, 484 F. 3d 139, 147 (1st Cir. 2007).” JUL012015_01D2101.pdf, at p. 9 IV. Case Presentation As demonstrated by the far too common and highly undesirable example above, it really pays to put genuine hard work into this effort. If a case is riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies, then that is a clear sign of poor case preparation which cannot be saved by snazzy case presentation. If a case is assembled such that it is easy to navigate from one solid piece of evidence to the next, then the adjudicator can do his or her work more efficiently and quickly. The more difficult you make the adjudication, the more time that must be consumed before you get that pesky RFE, NOID, or Denial; (or the less likely Approval). Conversely, what this means is that whatever extra care goes into thoughtfully assembling your case will make it easier and quicker to adjudicate to the desired approval. Help your adjudicator and you will help yourself. I rarely say that anything is “that simple”, but in this
  9. 9. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 IS IT INCOMPETENCE OR OBFUSCATION THAT BRINGS SO MANY SUBSTANTIVE INCONSISTENCIES & CONFLICTS IN THE INFORMATION THE PETITIONERS PROVIDE? - 9 instance I must acquiesce. If you assemble a case with care, then you will reap the benefits of it. V. Inconsistencies Inconsistencies come in a variety of forms. In section III, the I-129 filed for the H1-B “specialty occupation” computer geek, demonstrated that certain inconsistencies simply defy logic. In other cases it’s the devil-in-the-details scenario at work. In that the vast majority of evidence submitted to USCIS in support of benefits requests is documentary, it is the confused and conflicting details presented in those documents that create, reveal, and bear out the inconsistencies. The following expert is from an I-140 EB-1A or E11 immigrant visa petition for an alien of extraordinary ability in the arts as a traditional Chinese opera performer. With regard to the inconsistent information about the [--------] membership requirements submitted from Baidu Wikipedia, [--------] and the two letters from Mr. [--------] it is incumbent upon the petitioner to resolve any inconsistencies in the record by independent objective evidence. Any attempt to explain or reconcile such inconsistencies will not suffice unless the petitioner submits competent objective evidence pointing to where the truth lies. Matter of Ho, 19 I&N Dec. at 591-92. Regardless, the submitted evidence does not show that CTA members’ achievements are judged by recognized national or international experts in their disciplines or fields.
  10. 10. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 IS IT INCOMPETENCE OR OBFUSCATION THAT BRINGS SO MANY SUBSTANTIVE INCONSISTENCIES & CONFLICTS IN THE INFORMATION THE PETITIONERS PROVIDE? - 10 In light of the above, we affirm our prior determination that the petitioner has not established that she meets this regulatory criterion.” JUN102015_01B2203.pdf, at p. 8. AAO and USCIS Adjudicators in general seem to get a lot of mileage out of the precept from Ho, supra, that those inconsistencies must be resolved by competent objective evidence pointing to where the truth lies. In the above excerpt, the self-petitioner actually solicited written testimony in the form of two letters but those letters, along with at least some additional information from a website, did not agree with each other. Some folks prove time-and-again that certain old assumptions can no longer be relied upon. Several years ago, DOL and USCIS began to no longer be bamboozled by “computer programmer” occupations. With time comes experience and eventually more wisdom. The time has arrived that the mere mention of “computer programming” no longer buys you a “golden ticket”. The adjudicators are more savvy when it comes to evaluating claims that particular positions are highly complex when in reality they a routine, run of the mill, entry-level grunt work. VI. Incompetence I hesitate to jump to conclusions as to an applicant’s, a petitioner’s, or beneficiary’s motives when incorrect answers are checked off on a form. However, when such a mistake is compounded in some manner, the proposition that one is more than confused may attain a foothold. However, the first order of business in such situations is to pursue the
  11. 11. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 IS IT INCOMPETENCE OR OBFUSCATION THAT BRINGS SO MANY SUBSTANTIVE INCONSISTENCIES & CONFLICTS IN THE INFORMATION THE PETITIONERS PROVIDE? - 11 possibility, plausibility, and probability of genuine honest mistakes. To achieve such an end might necessarily entail the consideration of mere incompetence. “A beneficiary's relationship to a petitioner is a material fact involving the labor certification application. See, e.g., Matter of Silver Dragon Chinese Rest., 19 I&N Dec. 401, 404-05 (Comm'r 1986) (holding that a shareholder's concealment of his interest in a petitioning corporation constituted a willful misrepresentation of a material fact and a ground for invalidation of the labor certification). To provide an "opportunity to evaluate whether the job opportunity has been and is clearly open to qualified U.S. workers, an employer must disclose any familial relationship(s) between the foreign worker and the owners, stockholders, partners, corporate officers, and incorporators by marking 'yes' to Question C.9 on the ETA Form 9089." U.S. Dep't of Labor, Office of Foreign Labor Certification, "OFLC Frequently Asked Questions & Answers," "Familial Relationships," http://www.foreignlaborcert.doleeta.gov/faqsanswers.cfm (accessed Apr. 15, 2015). "A familial relationship includes any relationship established by blood, marriage, or adoption, even if distant. ... It also includes relationships established through marriage, such as in-laws and stepfamilies." Id.” JUN252015_01B5203.pdf, at p. 3. VII. Obfuscation Obfuscation means, in part, to misdirect, or to provide conflicting information in an effort to confuse. Obfuscation stands in stark contrast
  12. 12. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 IS IT INCOMPETENCE OR OBFUSCATION THAT BRINGS SO MANY SUBSTANTIVE INCONSISTENCIES & CONFLICTS IN THE INFORMATION THE PETITIONERS PROVIDE? - 12 to mere incompetence because it tasks talent to twist words so wildly. It takes great effort to use so many words to convey so little information. “Turning to the beneficiary's job description, we find that the petitioner did not provide sufficient information to establish that the primary portion of the beneficiary's time would be allocated to tasks within a qualifying managerial or executive capacity. First, we note that the petitioner did not comply with the express instructions of the RFE, which asked the petitioner to list the beneficiary's specific job duties and to assign a time constraint to each individual activity in order to establish what portion of the beneficiary's time would be allocated to tasks within a qualifying managerial or executive capacity. The petitioner offered a job description comprised of eleven paragraphs, each listing a general job responsibility as the heading with a percentage of time allocated to that overall responsibility. However, given that five of the eleven subject headings - totaling 55% of the overall time allocations - include multiple job duties, we are unable to determine the specific amount of time the beneficiary would spend on individual tasks. This is particularly problematic when a number of the job descriptions within a given heading contain vague statements that fail to list actual tasks or list tasks that are of a non-qualifying nature. For instance, the petitioner indicated that the beneficiary would allocate 15% of his time to planning, developing, and establishing the company's goals and policies. The petitioner indicated that this overall set of responsibilities would require the beneficiary to set long- and short-term goals, devise strategies for meeting those goals, review and revise strategies when necessary, monitor the
  13. 13. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 IS IT INCOMPETENCE OR OBFUSCATION THAT BRINGS SO MANY SUBSTANTIVE INCONSISTENCIES & CONFLICTS IN THE INFORMATION THE PETITIONERS PROVIDE? - 13 effectiveness of the strategies, and verify each customer's financial background prior to finalizing a sales transaction. However, the petitioner did not describe any actual short- or long-term goals that the beneficiary has or would set in his position with the petitioning entity; nor did the petitioner clarify what types of daily activities are indicative of the beneficiary's goal-setting role. The petitioner also failed to explain how the beneficiary will gauge whether the goals he sets are being effectively implemented or what specific role the beneficiary would assume with respect to checking each customer's financial background. In other words, it is not clear that someone other than the beneficiary actually conducts the customer financial background checks, a job duty that cannot be deemed as one within a qualifying capacity. The petitioner was similarly vague in discussing the beneficiary's role with regard to setting sales targets and the actual duties underlying the beneficiary's responsibility to direct the petitioner's marketing initiatives. Although the petitioner claims that the beneficiary would be responsible for determining yearly sales targets, it provided no discussion of the actual daily tasks associated with this general responsibility; nor did the petitioner clarify what underlying process is involved in setting the sales goals and what specific tasks would be assigned to the beneficiary. Although the petitioner stated that it has experienced "good growth" as a result of the beneficiary's "strategic planning," it provided no explanation to clarify what specific tasks the beneficiary performed that led to such progress. It is unclear that the
  14. 14. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 IS IT INCOMPETENCE OR OBFUSCATION THAT BRINGS SO MANY SUBSTANTIVE INCONSISTENCIES & CONFLICTS IN THE INFORMATION THE PETITIONERS PROVIDE? - 14 single act of periodically reviewing reports prepared by sales representatives is responsible for the petitioner's business progress. In addition, while the petitioner claimed that the beneficiary and the marketing/sales manager would collaboratively determine which "new measures" will be implemented to increase sales, the petitioner did not specify any "new measures" or distinguish the beneficiary's role from that of the marketing/sales manager in determining what those measures would be. Next, in discussing the beneficiary's key role with regard to the company's budget, the petitioner indicated that the beneficiary would make sure that "various departments function within the allocated budget." However, the record does not show that the petitioner consists of "various departments." A review of the petitioner's organizational charts shows that it is focused on marketing and selling the petitioner's products and that the petitioner's employees, including the bookkeeper, perform sales, marketing, or a combination of marketing and sales tasks. It is therefore unclear what "various departments" the petitioner referenced, as the organization appears to be comprised of a bookkeeper, who also performs sales-related tasks, and three sales and marketing employees. While the organizational chart makes a general reference to "office staff," no positions were named to indicate what positions would comprise the "office staff." Moreover, the parenthetical reference beneath the words "office staff" indicates that such staff would be hired sometime in the future and that the petitioner did not employ any office staff at the time of filing. As the petitioner's eligibility must be
  15. 15. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 IS IT INCOMPETENCE OR OBFUSCATION THAT BRINGS SO MANY SUBSTANTIVE INCONSISTENCIES & CONFLICTS IN THE INFORMATION THE PETITIONERS PROVIDE? - 15 based on the facts and circumstances that existed at the time of filing, the future hires are not relevant in the matter at hand. Matter of Katigbak, 14 I&N Dec. 45, 49 (Comm. 1971).” JUN262015_01B4203.pdf, at pp. 5-6. Vague, irrelevant, inconsistent, inaccurate, contradictory, and overall confusing information could be the result of incompetence, but it is highly probable that a significant portion of such cases are confusing “on purpose”. Hence, obfuscation, could enter into the realm of case preparation. I find it abhorrent, disgusting, and often bordering on criminal behavior. Some bottom-feeders do cross that line into the criminal realm. For far too long they have gotten off the hook and merely been censured or more likely had an administrative finding of fraud and/or willful misrepresentation entered against the petitioner, applicant, and/or beneficiary. I would like to see more practitioners held accountable for their actions in support of subterfuge and obfuscation. Their client might be complicit in the lies but some are instead, merely victims of predatory scam artists. VIII. Conclusion As I asked at the beginning of this missive: “Is it incompetence or obfuscation that brings so many substantive inconsistencies and conflicts in the information the petitioners provide?” The most honest answer is that, I don’t know for sure but… My best guess is that there is some of both but probably more incompetence than obfuscation. I am
  16. 16. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 IS IT INCOMPETENCE OR OBFUSCATION THAT BRINGS SO MANY SUBSTANTIVE INCONSISTENCIES & CONFLICTS IN THE INFORMATION THE PETITIONERS PROVIDE? - 16 not saying that practitioners are necessarily stupid but rather that the material is often incomprehensibly complex. Immigration and Nationality law is complicated, confusing, and contradictory at times. It is easy to become confused. It is difficult to twist this variety of law in order to obfuscate successfully in cases presented to the federal immigration authorities. On the other side of the coin, it is relatively easy to obfuscate to an audience of highly emotional and basically clueless “advocates”. In the latter scenario, the obfuscators themselves are nearly clueless and are simply taking advantage of all of that mass confusion. I feel that it is most essential for practitioners, petitioners, and applicants to be methodical in their case preparation and presentation in order to avoid being characterized as either incompetent or an unethical obfuscator. Please direct more energy towards understanding the eligibility criteria and the necessary qualifications for the particular benefit request or request for relief. It will then become easier to select the correct evidence to prove eligibility. Please avoid cluttering the record with useless documents that only serve to slow adjudication or could demonstrate ineligibility. Good luck. Dated this 16th day of July, 2015 /s/ Joseph P. Whalen That’s my two-cents, for now! Digitally signed by Joseph P. Whalen DN: cn=Joseph P. Whalen, o, ou, email=joseph.whalen774@gmail.com, c=US Date: 2015.07.16 07:30:37 -04'00'

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