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May-June 2013

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NAVIGATE RESOURCES: Table of Contents InfoNet aila.org Find a Member ? ! Contact a Mentor Shop Agora FOR MORE ON GOVERNMENT: Lost? AILA Case Liaison Assistance can help you resolve your problems. USCIS Adjudicators Field Manual, 2013 Ed. (PDF) Purchase > • 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 page X." • Tab. Tab major sections of your documentation so adjudicators can find what they need quickly. Eliminate Inconsistencies 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. Some tips: • 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 notice it. • 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) Purchase > Top Ten Government Errors & How to Correct (Seminar) Purchase > What to do When the Government Gets it Wrong (Podcast) FREE! > • 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 representation. M AY/ J UNE 2013 9

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