What Are the Consequences of Falsely Claiming to Be a U.S. Citizen? | Illinois Immigration Attorney
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What Are the Consequences of Falsely Claiming to Be a U.S. Citizen?

Posted on in Immigration
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IL immigration lawyerMany people all over the world have hopes and dreams of becoming a U.S. citizen. They may want to flee their homelands because of religious persecution there or to obtain a better education or career path here. In some extreme cases, foreign nationals are desperate to escape a dangerous situation. If the proper legal steps are not taken to lawfully enter the United States, criminal charges can result. For example, falsely claiming to be a U.S. citizen can carry significant consequences.

Penalties for False Claims of Citizenship

Falsely claiming citizenship is a serious offense in the United States. The most common wrongful claims to citizenship occur in the below scenarios:

  • Registering to vote in a local, state, or federal election if prohibited from doing so
  • Checking “U.S. citizen” on an I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form
  • Claiming to be a U.S. citizen on a student loan application
  • Attempting to obtain a U.S. passport
  • Claiming to be a U.S. citizen in order to obtain a citizenship benefit

Regardless if you misunderstood the directions on a form and mistakenly made a false claim to U.S. citizenship, you can be “removable” from the United States. The forms of punishment can include:

  • Deportation
  • Loss of citizenship (denaturalization)
  • Permanently inadmissible
  • Criminal charges

If a person made a false claim to U.S. citizenship, he or she can seek cancellation of removal in immigration court. However, in order to qualify for this type of discretionary relief, the alien must prove good moral character. He or she must also have been in the United States for 10 continuous years, have no prior criminal convictions, or show proof that deportation would cause extreme hardship. Even if someone meets the eligibility requirements, an immigration judge could still deny the case.

Proving a Claim Is Fraudulent

An illegal alien may claim to be a U.S. citizen a few different ways, such as in oral interviews, written applications, or by submitting false evidence. Whether or not the accused made the claim under oath is irrelevant. In order for an immigrant to be charged with a false claim of citizenship, U.S. law enforcement officials must prove several factors, such as the following:

  • The accused made a representation of U.S. citizenship.
  • The representation was false.
  • The accused knowingly made the false representation.
  • The accused made the false representation for a purpose or benefit under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) or any other federal or state law.

Contact an Illinois Immigration Attorney

There are many different aspects to the immigration process, and all the legal paperwork can be confusing. When an immigrant is charged with a criminal offense, it could seriously jeopardize his or her chances of becoming a U.S. citizen. If you or your loved one has been accused of any crime while trying to enter the United States, you need to know how it may affect the immigration process. A skilled Illinois immigration attorney will aggressively defend your rights to ensure the best possible outcome. Call our office today at 630-932-9100 to schedule a free consultation.





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