A version of this article first appeared in the Side Bar journal for the Litigation…
INA §212(a)(6)(C)(ii), 8 U.S.C. §1182(a)(6)(C)(ii)
A person who has falsely claimed to be a United States citizen is potentially inadmissible. In practice, this rule often creates problems for individuals who have long been present in the United States without documentation.
To be subject to this ground of inadmissibility three things need to be true:
- the false claim was made after September 30, 1996;
- the claim was made for the purpose of securing an immigration benefit or benefit under any other Federal law; and
- the claim was made to any government or nongovernment official.
in general, there are three scenarios where we see this become a problem for people.
1. Entering the U.S. with a false U.S. passport
One way that undocumented individuals enter the United States is by borrowing a US passport belonging to someone else, or forging a fake US passport. Doing so can subject somebody to false claim inadmissibility because she is attempting to secure the benefit of entering the United States (an immigration benefit) through falsely claiming to be a US citizen.
A non-citizen is ineligible to vote in federal US elections, and in both state and local elections. Unfortunately, people sometimes get drawn into voting even though they did not mean to abuse the system. It is common for local agencies to offer to register someone to vote at the time they apply for a driver’s license, even if they have not submitted proof of citizenship. That person may then go off to vote in a federal election, without meaning to violate the law.
3. Working with fake documents.
Working with fake documents can create false claim issues in at least two ways. First, you could certainly have a problem if you had a fake US passport and showed it to your employer when you were hired. Second, even though you may not remember, at the time you are hired you almost certainly filled out a Form I-9. This is used by employers to show that each new hire is authorized to work in the United States. The form has a question which asks if you are a US citizen. If you answered yes to that question, you could have a false claim issue. Different versions of the forms have been used, so you would normally need to request a copy of your employee I-9 file if you think you may have answered incorrectly.
If any of these scenarios race a possible question for you, you absolutely need to explore that in detail before moving forward with your application.