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Bad Legal Advice Can Even Land Flight Attendants in Immigration Detention

Many foreign nationals receive not just completely inaccurate legal advice from friends, loved ones, employers, and even potential employers, but criminally negligent, if not reckless, legal advice altogether. Regrettably, this irresponsible legal advice involves extremely important immigration issues, and its inaccuracy causes its recipients to be negatively impacted, often severely and irreversibly. Accordingly, a foreign national should never rely on legal advice from a non-lawyer. While the person who dispensed the inaccurate legal advice will suffer virtually no consequences, a "slap on the wrist" at the most, the foreign national is the one who is left "holding the bag", exclusively and unfairly bearing the fallout for the violations of immigration law that flowed from the bad legal advice. Believe it or not, this is an especially common scenario with employers and prospective employers, who irresponsibly profess to be experts on U.S. immigration law, a claim that many immigration lawyers cannot even make given the breadth and complexity of U.S. immigration law. In reality, many people are willing to provide "advice" on immigration law without having a fundamental understanding of U.S. immigration law. Instead, the paramount concern of those persons is to profit from the services of a foreign national without any regard for the substantial and possibly irreversible detriment that may befall the foreign nationals. For example, it is common for U.S. citizens to predatorily and incorrectly advise foreign nationals that they can legally work in the U.S., such as by participating in a pyramid sales scheme, so long as the foreign national possesses a US social security number. Even if such advice may not have been intended to harm the foreign national, it does not ameliorate the punishment faced by the foreign national.

This appears to be exactly what happened in the story recounted in this article. A Mesa Airlines’ flight attendant, Selene Saavedra Roman, was in the process of Adjusting Status in the United States while on DACA. Ms. Roman alleges that her supervisor told her that she would not face any adverse legal consequences by working a flight to Mexico, so long as she did not disembark the aircraft (also what flight attendants refer to as “deplaning”). However, Ms. Roman had left the United States without first obtaining Advance Parole, which is colloquially referred to as “Travel Authorization”. As a result, when Ms. Roman returned to the U.S., she was harshly punished with detention. It will be considerably more costly for Ms. Roman to obtain legal assistance while in detention than had she obtained such assistance prior to having made the trip to Mexico. It is for this reason that lawyers encourage people to seek out professional legal services as early as possible. In fact, many people do not even realize that they could have and should have consulted a lawyer even earlier than they realized.

Many immigration lawyers will speak to a foreign national over the phone, especially if the person is in a rush and the decision will have far reaching consequences, including removal from the United States (also known as “deportation”). We assist countless foreign nationals and we will be happy to personally assist you with your application as well. Drop us a line at or call us at (888)354-6257. For reasons on why you should consult an immigration attorney whenever you have an immigration issue, see our page titled: Reasons Why it is Vital to Use an Immigration Lawyer.



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