Have you, an immigrant, ever checked that top box of an employment application, stating you are a U.S. Citizen, although you were not? Hopefully, the immigrant reading this has not already committed such a costly mistake. As an experienced immigration attorney, I can tell you that many immigrants find themselves in difficult situations. To be clear, I mostly see this with immigrants who entered the country with a visa, but after that visa expires, for reasons peculiar to each individual, the immigrant finds himself/herself in a situation where they remain in the country & they cannot legally work due to being out of status. As time goes by, desperation begins to knock, and quite a few immigrants, begin to flirt with the idea of checking that top box of the employment application. They do so because checking the other boxes will usually require proof of either a work authorization card or a permanent resident card (a green card).
I am here to tell you, yes you, faithful reader, this is perhaps the worst mistake an immigrant can make in the United States of America, aside from committing murder & other aggravated felonies/similar crimes of-course. More and more, I have clients who consult with me and actually have great options for getting a green card and even citizenship, but prior claim(s) of false citizenship cut off our very short lived dream of seeing them become a U.S. Citizen in the future. There are waivers for some crimes, and there are even waivers for sneaking into the country without inspection, given the immigrant qualifies for the rigid waiver requirements. However, there are no waivers at all for falsely claiming a U.S. Citizenship, with a very limited exception (see an experienced immigration for more details on this). It is literally a permanent stamp on your record that cannot be taken away, and so either it will come up during an immigrant’s adjustment of status interview, or it will surely come up during the immigrant’s citizenship interview. Remember, the citizenship interview is the immigration office’s very last chance to fully investigate an immigrant, unless you commit a crime afterwords of-course, and so, the immigration officer will typically investigate your citizenship application line by line, precept upon precept (play on a scripture, lol) and he/she may even go out of his way to find dirt & inconsistencies not readily apparent on your application.
Thus, moral of the story, if you are reading this and have already checked that top box of your employment application, PLEASE REFRAIN FROM EVER DOING SO AGAIN. Although, your past is your past, it will be difficult for your attorney to defend multiple claims of citizenship and what would seem like a habit on your part, in the event you find yourself in deportation proceedings in the future.
One more thing, there may be someone reading this who says, I did that, and I now have a green card, or I did that, and I now have U.S. citizenship, despite it. You my friend, would be considered an extreme exception and an extremely lucky or blessed person, if that is your story. Take it from me folks, in 2018, with the new changes in immigration policy, it is becoming more difficult for even those immigrants who have not violated any law(s) to make it to U.S. Citizenship, let alone become legal permanent residents (i.e. green card holders).
If you or anyone you know has ever falsely checked that top box of your employment application, kindly contact an experienced immigration attorney as soon as possible, especially if you have any pending applications with an immigration office, an upcoming interview, or upcoming immigration court hearing(s) coming up. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the individual and how long ago, there may yet still be hope for said immigrant.
Liz Wafula, Esq.
Law Office of E.M. Wafula, PLLC
6070 Poplar Ave, STE 700
Memphis, TN 38119