False claim to US citizenship by DREAMers

Under the United States immigration laws, one of the biggest crimes a non-US citizen (whether legal or illegal) can do is to claim to be an American citizen, and thus, gain benefits and privileges reserved exclusively for citizens, like voting or applying for loans or getting into college, etc.  Unfortunately, a huge number of illegal immigrants who came as children have broken this law.  All immigration petitions can be denied based on this admission by an alien, and it is no surprise that the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 also explicitly restates this.  It turns out that not only did these so-called DREAMers did so, there is a huge paper trail documenting their behavior.

How will the USCIS find out that you made a fraudulent claim to be an American citizen?

Legally speaking, while filing the application for RPI status, there will be a specific question asking if you have ever claimed to be a United States citizen, and you only have one course:  tell the truth if you have done so.  By lying, you are jeopardizing not only chances of your legalization under the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, you are also asking to be arrested, deported, and banned for life from entering the USA.  Chances are that if you have gone to college, taken out student loans, worked at a job, etc., and the adjudicating officer suspects that you may have done so, the USCIS can simply subpoena your file and that will contain a record of what you did, and many workplaces will still have your I-9 forms.  Remember that you will be signing the application swearing to tell nothing but the truth and if you are caught lying, your application will be rejected and you will be charged, among other crimes, with perjury.


 

What are your options if you broke the law with regards to claiming citizenship? It all depends on where the claim was made and what benefit was derived from it.  If a DREAMer made a claim before the age of 18 (for example, if the parents lied to the DREAMer about the citizenship status or provided fraudulent documents like birth certificate and the minor simply accepted that at face value), then, this will not be a problem.  The law adds that if the claim was also made after the age of 18 but the applicant lacked the mental competence, she or he can still be forgiven, but you will need to make that case before a judge.  These cases are not easy to resolve and you will need a very competent attorney to argue it before a court.  The judge will look for a pattern.  Was it a honest mistake that you thought you were a US citizen because your parents told you so and you chose to believe them (expect aggressive questioning related to what happened when you wanted to get a driver's license at the age of 16 or wanted to take a trip to visit family overseas) or was it that you deliberately did so to get a loan/aid, or to be able to work.

Will you be definitely caught by the USCIS?  I have read a lot of posts on forums online claiming that USCIS has been unable to catch undocumented aliens who claimed to be US citizens or even stole the identities of Americans and they are now green card holders or naturalized citizens, but this is generally not the best way to proceed forward.  If you assume that you might just get lucky, you are jeopardizing your chance to become a US citizen.  It is best to work with the assumption that despite all the immigration related fraud, you will be caught, and the best way to deal with this (unless you made the claim before the age of 18) is to get professional legal help.