FOR MORE ON GOVERNMENT:
Lost? AILA Case Liaison Assistance
can help you resolve your problems.
Field Manual, 2013 Ed. (PDF)
• Annotate. If only one or two lines inside a multiple-page document are applicable, annotate the
first page—e.g., "Sales price and date of sale are on
• Tab. Tab major sections of your documentation
so adjudicators can find what they need quickly.
Adjudicators should be reasonably skeptical, but
factual inconsistencies can cause unreasonable skepticism, sometimes even if the inconsistencies are immaterial. Thus, try to build your case's credibility not
just through factual strength, but factual consistency.
• Facts. Make sure you know the facts well to begin
with so everything the adjudicator sees is factually consistent. Just to be clear, though, the point
is not to make up or bend existing facts to achieve
consistency. The point is to learn exactly what the
facts are and then address inconsistencies, so you
can tell the client's true story with as few inconsistencies as possible.
• Major inconsistencies. If you have a major inconsistency on a central fact of the case, you normally
achieve greater credibility by addressing it directly
rather than simply hoping the adjudicator fails to
• Minor inconsistencies. "Range" modifiers, such
as "about," "around," "generally," etc., might be
enough to cover material inconsistencies that are
not major elements of the case. For example, if you
have "10" in one document and "14" in another,
you might harmonize by summarizing the inconsistent amounts as "10 to 14" or "about a dozen."
CBP Inspector's Field Manual (PDF)
Top Ten Government Errors &
How to Correct (Seminar)
What to do When the Government
Gets it Wrong (Podcast)
• Immaterial inconsistencies. By definition, you
normally can ignore legally immaterial inconsistencies. Nonetheless, even minor inconsistencies
can dilute credibility. Consider whether something inconsistent can be left out altogether.
• Unknown inconsistencies. The most dangerous inconsistencies are the ones you do not know
about. Do everything you reasonably can to uncover them, so you do not inadvertently put the
client on a path toward problems.
Best of luck in making the adjudicator's job easier—
and your client's case stronger.
Cletus M. Weber is co-founder of Peng & Weber,
PLLC, based in Mercer Island, WA. He is editor-inchief of AILA's Guide to PERM Labor Certification.
The author's views do not necessarily represent the
views of AILA nor do they constitute legal advice or
M AY/ J UNE 2013