FALSE CLAIM TO US CITIZENSHIP CAN BE EXCUSED
Author: US Citizenship attorney Alena Shautsova
Many are already aware that false claim to US citizenship disqualifies them from any and all Immigration benefits in the United States, forever. Such claims usually appear when one is trying to use a false US citizen passport to enter the United States, claims that he/she is a US citizen on I-9 employment eligibility verification form or fills out a form to obtain a US citizen passport (let’s say, in a postal service)…
However, some claims of US citizenship can be excused and will not be on one’s way to a green card. These are very rare occasions, and they have to fall squarely into an exception.
Specifically, a disqualifying claim to United States citizenship occurred when (1) when there is direct or circumstantial evidence that a claim was made with subjective intent to obtain a purpose or benefit under the Act or under Federal or State law and(2) the claim actually affects or matters to the purpose or benefit sought. See Matter of Richmond, 26 I&N Dec. 779, 786-787 (BIA 2016). In the past the following “claims” to the US citizenship were recognized as the ones not obstructing a person’s ability to receive a green card: a claim to a US citizenship on an application for a small business loan (Hassan v. Holder, 604 F.3d 915, 928-29 (6th Cir. 2010)). In a 2016 case coming from the Board of Immigration Appeals, it was also recognized that a US citizenship claim during the application for a driver’s license is not the one to prevent one from obtaining a green card. Rodolfo Melendez Manriquez, A089 599 983 (BIA Nov. 25, 2016).
It means that if a person claimed to be a US citizen to “enhance” his /her chances to receive a benefit, but it was not necessary for a person to be an actual citizen to receive such a benefit, then a claim to US citizenship may be excused.
There are some other exceptions to the main rule. See: Claiming US Citizenship.