In a previous article (Defenses to False Claim to Citizenship), we discussed that a foreign national may overcome a finding of false claim to citizenship if he or she is able to establish one of the following facts, clearly and beyond doubt:
- The representation was not false;
- The false representation was not a representation of U.S. citizenship;
- The false representation was made prior to September 30, 1996;
- The false representation was not made for purposes or benefit under the INA or any other federal or state law; or
- The applicant did not know the claim was false, lacks the legal capacity to appreciate the nature of the claim, or qualifies for the statutory exception.
False Claims on Form I-9
In the process of applying for legal permanent resident (LPR) status or naturalization, the most common false claim arises in relation to the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.
Form I-9 is used to verify the identity and legal authorization to work of all paid employees in the United States. All U.S. employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States, and obtain documentation to verify their identity and employment eligibility. The form contains boxes where the employee indicates eligibility to work in the U.S. An employee’s incorrectly checking the “U.S. citizen” box, constitutes a false claim to U.S. citizenship.
Prior versions of the I-9 Form combined “a citizen or national of the United States” into one box. When a prior version of the form is involved, the most common defense to false claim to U.S. citizenship is that a conclusive claim to U.S. citizenship cannot be proven as it is not clear whether the foreign national claimed to be a U.S. citizen or a U.S. national.
The current version of Form I-9 separates U.S. citizen and U.S. national in two different boxes – hence doing away with the referenced uncertainty and a potential defense to claim to U.S. citizenship.
False claims to U.S. citizenship bar most, but not all relief from removal. Namely, Cancellation of Removal or Asylum may still be available if the applicant is otherwise eligible.
If you are concerned you may have made a false claim to U.S. citizenship, or have additional questions about this subject or any other immigration matter, please contact the Law Offices of Azita M. Mojarad, P.C. by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 312.641-0771.
*This article addresses false claims to U.S. citizenship made on or after September 30, 1996.