IMMIGRATION SOLUTIONS; False Claims of US Citizenship
Byline: ROBERT REEVES
Foreign nationals in the US and those who are seeking to enter the US must be aware of the consequences of misrepresentations made to immigration officials. In particular, a false claim to US citizenship may even result in a permanent bar to immigrate to the US. This article will also discuss false claims of US citizenship made to non-governmental parties which may also bar immigration benefits permanently.
An analysis of a false claim of US citizenship starts with a determination of when the claim was made. If a false claim was made before September 30, 1996, and was made to obtain an immigration benefit, then the alien is inadmissible to the US. However, there is a waiver available based on hardship to immediate relatives who are either lawful permanent residents or US citizens. But if the false claim of US citizenship was made on or after September 30, 1996, the alien is permanently inadmissible to the US as there is no waiver available. Even claims of US citizenship made for non-immigration purposes such as making a false claim in order to obtain employment may render foreign nationals inadmissible.
When an alien is found inadmissible based on a false claim of US citizenship, one strategic defense is to challenge the false claim itself. Was the false claim a definitive claim of US citizenship or could it have been a false claim of permanent resident status? A false claim to permanent resident status is not a permanent bar, but is a misrepresentation which can be raised as a ground of inadmissibility. Additionally, ambiguous responses to questions from immigration officers and other unclear situations may be open to different interpretations as to exactly what was represented; for instance, there may be a language problem. …