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During interview Adjustment of status interview, officer asked me to kiss my wife??

Fort Lauderdale, FL |

Is this legal? Are they allowed to do such things because we felt like abused puppets.

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Attorney answers 6

Posted

This was a totally inappropriate request which I would have immediately objected to an would have reported to a supervisor right then and there. You should nevertheless report this behavior to a supervisor as soon as possible regardless of the outcome.

Posted

I agree that this was inappropriate. You should write a letter to the supervisor and the Director of the office. I would also consider submitting a request to the USCIS Ombudsman's office because this is behavior they need to know about and will hopefully respond to. You can submit a report online.

Alexander Joseph Segal

Alexander Joseph Segal

Posted

I often agree with you Lindsey, but I cannot agree on that one. Stocks v. INS settled this issue for years in the 80s and laid foundation for this very request. The District Court has said that the government's right to know trumps the privacy of consideration might have.

Lindsey Warren Wilkes

Lindsey Warren Wilkes

Posted

That is the exact argument the government might make, but coming from a civil rights and human rights perspective, this is wholly inappropriate and perhaps unconstitutional. This conduct goes way beyond having someone empty their pockets and give blood samples. This is far more intrusive behavior and the government's right to know does have its boundaries. Asking what is the most romantic date you and your spouse have had or even how often do you kiss your spouse is understandable, BUT forcing them to kiss in the office is unreasonable. Not only from the perspective of the couple being forced to kiss in front of a stranger, but aslo because it proves NOTHING. If they are nervous it is not because they do not love each other, it is because they were just told by a stranger to kiss in front of them. For some people who are very open with their affection, this may not raise an eyebrow, but I can see a lot of people feeling violated by this. Furthermore, have you seen the youtube video of strangers kissing that went viral ? Goes to show this request is irrelevant and proves nothing. In my opinion this request was inappropriate, violative of basic rights of privacy, and it goes WAY beyond the foundation laid by Stokes regarding the government's right to make certain requests. The government's right to know does not trump unreasonable invasions of privacy.

Alexander Joseph Segal

Alexander Joseph Segal

Posted

I guess we will have to agree to disagree. For the record, I completely disagree with this assessment. I find the request not only reasonable but appropriate and well within the government's right to know. My concern is marriage fraud. It is so pervasive nowadays that, in my humble opinion, the government's need to know trumps all but few considerations including the right to privacy. Besides, there is no right to privacy of an applicant who is asking the government to make a determination on the validity of the marriage. This is the argument I would have made if I represented the government. This is the argument that would have carried the day and this is the argument that is valid and proper. In todays' day and age, right of privacy is an illusion. It is clearly waived within the scope of the inquiry of the marriage validity. If anything, being unable to kiss a spouse in front of a stranger might be a cultural consideration. However, and again, the government's right to know should trump that too.

Alexander Joseph Segal

Alexander Joseph Segal

Posted

I hope this rather academic discussion was interesting for the asker. If not, sorry for that.

Lindsey Warren Wilkes

Lindsey Warren Wilkes

Posted

I appreciate the discussion and I certainly always welcome a differing opinion. We will have to agree to disagree on this one, but I am sure there will be a lot more that we agree on!

Posted

Your objection sounds bizarre. Why is it such a problem for you that it warrants righteous indignation and spending time posting on AVVO asking about the legal underpinning for the request?

The information contained in this answer is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter,not should it be viewed as establishing an attorney client relationship of any kind.

Asker

Posted

Because the request was not normal. It is worth exploring if these people are taking advantage of applicants rather than sit down and allow the abuse. You're a lawyer, you should know that. If there is anything bizarre it was the request. If you weren't aware before, people come here to ask questions, receive answers and determine if they are to seek legal help (from the responding attorneys when applicable) for any type of abuse.

Alexander Joseph Segal

Alexander Joseph Segal

Posted

Yes, I am a lawyer. I am also a human being living in a free country. I am entitled to my opinion, you by the way, ask me and other lawyers to express. It is my professional opinion that the question/request was neither inappropriate nor unreasonable.

Alexander Joseph Segal

Alexander Joseph Segal

Posted

Read District Court decision in Stocks v. INS which settled this issue in the 80s once and for all.

Asker

Posted

Fair enough. And yes you are entitled to your personal opinion. The issue of having to kiss my wife for me personally is not a problem. The issue arises when someone in charge of your future and has power over you, requests that you perform an expression publicly to his liking, or else. I'm sure some where in your rule book it would agree that I have a personal right not to express publicly my feelings to anyone. What's worst is that had we not done it, the outcome of our case may have been different. That has to be seen as abusive and out of line. That must be seen as an abuse of power. So you would probably agree to applicants having to perform more explicit acts infront of officers just to prove their love? That is "bizarre". Because then, where would the line be drawn?

Alexander Joseph Segal

Alexander Joseph Segal

Posted

You accepted my answer as judgement on you. This is wrong. In my personal opinion. none of this should happen to anyone, including you. I find such practice abhorrent and disgracefulness to us all - the American People. My opinion was not personal. It was professional. I told you that people like my colleague here and other professionals, who are less skeptical and more dedicated to the idea of human right protections for immigrants did try to challenge this horrible policy of privacy being walked on by public officials who are not even professionally trained to respect people's privacy. Human rights advocates challenged this time and again. Unfortunately, it was to no avail. Part of it has to do with the legitimate concern to prevent fraud. Many individuals using this avenue to get through the system fraudulently. As a result, good people like you suffer as the system is trying to protect itself. Since I love this Country of ours enormously, I tend to agree with the system., my reactions sometimes come across lopsided. I am genuinely sorry for that.

Asker

Posted

No problem at all. And I appreciate you explaining your statements. In many ways you are correct. The protection of the country is of utmost importance. Thanks for your time. I apologize for having you even explain yourself. Thanks for even responding. God bless.

Jeffrey Adam Devore

Jeffrey Adam Devore

Posted

The case you are referring to is Stokes v. INS, not Stocks v. INS, and it does not give immigration officers unfettered discretion to ask whatever they want,. In fact, it placed restrictions on the legacy INS on how they could conduct marriage interviews when fraud is suspected. The actions described in the original questions are inappropriate and the officer needs to be re-trained and/or disciplined.

Alexander Joseph Segal

Alexander Joseph Segal

Posted

Your reading of the case is completely your opinion and very much off in my opinion whether it is Stocks or Stokes. Thank you for pointing out my spelling deficiency. I appreciate the effort. I was not talking about unfettered discretion and this type of the conduct is rather common. Officers will not be disciplined for that, whether you believe they should be or not. Inappropriate, yes. Within acceptable norm, absolutely.

Posted

Although an inappropriate request by officer, but why is this an issue? Don't complicate your adjustment process by filing any complaints etc. That could raise unnecessary flags.

Posted

You should report this to appropriate supervisor and follow complaint procedures within the agency

No attorney-client relationship is created or implied by this communication.

Posted

Such a request is completely inappropriate and should have been brought to a supervisor's attention immediately. Having an experienced attorney at your interview would have prevented this shenanigans and make sure the interview was properly conducted. If your case was not approved you should retain counsel without delay.

While this answer is provided by a Florida Bar Certified Expert in Immigration and Nationality Law, it is for general information purposes only and an attorney/client relationship is neither intended nor created. You should seek out qualified counsel to review your case and provide you with advice specific to your situation. Review Mr. Devore's Avvo Profile for more information about his expertise in immigration law and how to contact him to discuss your case.

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