Why Is It Better to Consult an Immigration Lawyer?

For all immigration issues, it is essential to have an experienced and knowledgeable immigration lawyer who knows your rights inside and out. In this article, Mr. Sung-Ho Hwang, a leading Immigration lawyer, talks about the Dos and Don’ts of getting legal status in the US. And why it is always better to get the help of an immigration lawyer for a smooth flow in getting the legal formalities completed.
Here’s an excerpt from a virtual interview with Mr. Sung-Ho Hwang.

Why Hire an Immigration Lawyer?

Many people think they can do the immigration formalities on their own, but it’s such a complex area of the law.
It’s just a huge risk. If you make a mistake, USCIS, a governing body for these applications, has zero-tolerance for any mistake. So once it gets denied, it’s denied. So you may save a little bit of money, but you’re risking not being able to work in the United States. And that’s being penny wise, pound foolish.

So what does an immigration lawyer do?

We generally help:

  • people by obtaining visas, green cards, or citizenship.
  • corporations recruit people internationally and allow them to work in the United States. So there are lots of things.

Immigration law itself has lots of different areas. And I mentioned before there’s Court. So people who are getting deported, people looking for political asylum, refugees coming from, say, Afghanistan. Yes. A slew of immigration attorneys helping these people through the process.

There are many things, but generally, the thread connecting everybody in immigration law is to try to bring somebody who’s not a US citizen into the United States.

Most common mistakes that you see people make in DIY immigration law?

There’s no one specific mistake because there are so many different areas of immigration law, from H1Bs to family-based, like somebody getting married to a US citizen. There are so many different areas that there’s no specific mistake.

The fundamental mistake, is they haven’t hired an immigration attorney.

And I see so many times when they try not to do it on their own and come to me when it’s too late. It’s already been rejected, and I can’t do anything. I can’t help. I see that all the time.

And the biggest mistake is just believing things on the internet.

Everybody thinks it must be true if it’s written and on the internet. So they look at these things and then try it on their own.

And then sometimes, you know, you can get away with it. I know people who have successfully filed applications on their own, but do you want to take that chance.

Is it really worth a few thousand dollars in savings to take that chance that you might not get to live here and get deported?

Is it harder now to work in the United States?

It is. The last administration was very restrictive. The idea was to try to keep people out.

Now, with the new administration, things are slowly starting to swing back to being a bit more Pro-immigrant.

But, the problem is that the United States hasn’t addressed the fundamental issue. They need to have comprehensive immigration reform. And, because the system is just not working.

The Issue with Immigration Politics

The biggest surprise is that we still haven’t come up with comprehensive immigration reforms. So we’ve had this problem for a long, long time.

Since I’ve been practicing the law, and 15 years ago, we were close to having it with George W. Bush. It’s just something that I don’t know why we don’t have the political will to make these changes. That’s the biggest surprise.

With the new administration opening things up, I think it’s going in the right direction though I don’t think it’s going enough in the right direction. But unfortunately, the Senate still has a filibuster. So even though the Democrats control, they can stop any comprehensive immigration bill. And they’ve pretty much said that nothing is going to go through.

What advice do you have for the family that is dealing with immigration law issues

They need to do their research, look at who they feel comfortable with in terms of somebody representing them.

If you’re a first-generation immigrant, you understand what people have to go through. And I wasn’t a citizen until I was 16 years old. And I remember that happening. It’s important. This is a great country, and we really do need to have talented, hard-working people.

And if we have this xenophobia and continue to exclude these people, we will no longer be the best country in the world.

Stopping Legal Immigrants from Coming to the US – Is that Smart?

If you stop people from coming to the United States, you stop the best people from coming to the United States. Because I think immigration is self-selecting. The hardest working people are the ones that leave their homes, travel here, and learn a new language. Those are the people that you really want.

They make America great. And if you’ve got somebody walking 2000 miles to get here, they’re not going to be lazy. You know, they’re going to work hard.

The First Day I Became a US Citizen

I specifically remember getting the passport so that allowed me to travel. Actually, the first thing I did was I went to Korea, which I hadn’t been to since I was four. But it’s really empowering. You realize that you’re part of this nation, and you have lots of opportunities now available to you that somebody who doesn’t have legal status has, and I became an attorney.

Why I Chose Immigration Law

I was born in South Korea. Then, I immigrated to the United States. I went to school here, and I started practicing law here.

The important thing was that I’m a first-generation immigrant. I came to the United States, a great country, and wanted to do something that allowed other people the same opportunities I had.

And that’s why I chose immigration.

Why am I proud to be an American

Because it’s really the greatest country on earth, it really is. So anybody who’s a first-generation immigrant, as long as they work hard, really can be successful.

I remember the very first time that I was able to handle a very tough immigration case. And I was successful at getting this woman her green card. It was like, you know, she actually started crying and hugging. It was like a, a point where it was like, truly changed her life.

Oh, that’s why I do this. That’s why I come to work. That’s why I work

Is an attorney a great orator with high command over English?

It’s just a very small percentage of the law. And even in terms of litigators, the vast majority of litigators don’t show up to Court. Even litigators that do show up to Court, the vast majority of their time, are not in Court but doing paperwork.

The need for command over the English language is a hindrance because the law generally is language. However, whether you’re a litigator or not, you still have to have a good command of English because statutes and regulations are all written in English,  contracts are written in English, and everything in the law revolves around English.

So, I think that’s one of the reasons why first-generation immigrants don’t practice law because of the language barrier. Now you see the second-generation immigrants born here are fluent in English, becoming lawyers.

So it’s great. It’s a positive thing.

My most challenging case in the last 30 years.

I would say that there was one case I was involved with in an immigration court. I think it was the right thing to do to keep him in the country because he was from a very dangerous country in Africa where many people are killed.

There wasn’t anything I could do. The judge ordered him back to that country; that was tough. That was maybe about seven years ago. So recently, that was probably the most challenging case I have had to handle lately.

Is AI Going to Replace Lawyers?

Technology – it’s one of the few areas where you see technology affecting the practice of law, and eventually, you’ll see AI replace many lawyers or augment the legal profession; that’s the future.

I still think that you need lawyers to oversee the process in our lifetimes.

And there are certain things that you can’t do with AI. Like you need somebody to show up in Court. In immigration, we have immigration courts, hearings, and trials. You can’t have some AI show up to an immigration hearing or interview for somebody’s citizenship.

So there are certain things that you can’t replace, but yes, it’s changing.

Young Asian Americans considering a career in law – What things do they have to do? What things should they be thinking about?

When I started the law practice, I was basically the only Asian attorney. And when I started my law practice, I was a litigator. I mainly did trial work. So I would just show up in Court as the only Asian person there. And you have state Marshalls or clerks there asking me if I’m the interpreter. So that’s what I was facing. But I think it’s started to change now. You see that in areas like Connecticut, where Asians are not the primary group.

So it’s a little bit of an uphill battle. I think you have to work harder. And I think Asians have that work ethic to just work harder. So there’s a great opportunity. And now, a lot of my clientele are Asian. They feel more comfortable with somebody who speaks the same language.

There’re lots of opportunities as an Asian.

Sung Ho Immigration lawyer

For more on related topics, see: How I got my US passport replaced in only 75 minutes for $237.72


Want to know the quickest way to determine whether someone knows what they’re talking about?

It’s not how convincing they appear, who they hang out with, or the luxurious lifestyle they are living.


Deep knowledge results in repeatable excellence, even unconsciously, embodied in step-by-step processes.

If you want to achieve a certain result, you need the right ingredients, the right recipe, and to be able to follow that recipe.

Like a good chef, that expert should be publishing their cookbooks– exactly what to do and what you need to make Dutch Apple Pie, that perfectly seared hangar steak (yes, I’m hungry right now), or your favorite dish.

If they aren’t willing to share their knowledge, consider whether their results are legitimate, repeatable, or transferable.

I’m a connoisseur of checklists– so if you’ve got one you’ve used reliably, I want to hear from you.

I want to add it to my giant collection and give you credit!

The best can always command a premium.

My friend has an agency and considered broadening his practice and serving less successful clients– because he thought clients are getting cheaper and it’s harder to stand out.

Here’s what I said to him– about why that path is wrong:

Expertise and word of mouth will never go out of style. Clients (your law firms and the clients they serve) will always pay a premium for who they perceive to be best.

So call it “thought leadership” or whatever, still continue to tell stories via one minute videos and share expertise via blog posts you distribute.

Don’t make the fatal mistake of serving a smaller business, going more broad, or lowering your prices.

The best can always command a premium.

Every day I feel like I’m just starting out.

Because every time I learn one thing, three more things I don’t know pop up.

And soon I have 45 tabs open!
Is your life like that, too?

Now imagine 23 years of trying to “master” digital marketing— the vast accumulated ignorance I have.

The Dunning-Kruger effect (look it up), stunningly explains how amateurs believe they are experts, yet why the true experts are so humble.

Next time you hear someone beat their chest, consider not the confidence of their opinion, but their demonstrated track record.

And if you feel that you’re not Good Enough (go see that play), it may be Imposter Syndrome hurting you.

Some of my friends have built $100 million companies.

But if you ask them what they do, they might say, “Oh, I run online ads “.

Or “I manufacture equipment for cosmetic surgeons.”

This is how to balance humility and overconfidence.

I am NOT a Facebook marketer

I am an expert at driving sales and I happen to use Facebook.

I am NOT an analytics geek– I am relentless in creating the systems that generate jobs for young adults.

I am NOT a book lover– though I’ve read over 4,500 books, I’m hungry for the knowledge I need to achieve my goals, which compels me to read.

Nike is not a shoe manufacturer– but about “authentic athletic performance” and teaching “everyone is an athlete”. And they happen to make shoes.

FedEx is not a package delivery company– they are about “peace of mind” and “the world on time”, though they have the largest fleet of cargo aircraft on the planet.

WHO you are is not your activity– it’s your MISSION, not the TOOLS you use to accomplish it.

I want to know WHO you are and how I can help you achieve your vision.


Doctor, I won’t tell you what’s wrong or let you examine me.

I just want to know your hourly rate, so I can shop for whoever is cheapest.

I don’t believe in following your tried-and-true process of collecting vitals, performing a diagnosis, and then coming up with a treatment plan.

My ailment is completely unique, unlike any ailment any patient has ever had in the history of medicine– because I think so.

So I’m going to tell you what instruments to use, what operation I think I need, how long it should take, and what it should cost.

I’m a pro and understand surgery well, since I’ve watched a lot of George Clooney in ER on TV.

No need for diagnostics or a medical team– that’s just bureaucratic extra cost.

Actually, since you’re a well-known surgeon, I’d like to hire one of your junior surgeons to operate on me– who is the cheapest one you can offer by the hour?

// You think this is ridiculous?
// It happens to us every day.