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Immigration Fraud – It's Never in Your Past

As immigrants go through the long journey of obtaining legal status in the United States, they will fill out innumerous forms, questionnaires, applications, and petitions. Immigrants will go through interviews and even court hearings. At all times, all of the information an immigrant presents must be true and correct. The law states that during any part of the process, if an immigrant lies, falsifies a document, or presents knowingly incorrect information to procure a visa or other documentation, admission into the United States, or any other benefit, he or she will be ineligible for lawful status in the United States. In other words, any type of fraud, whether it’s lying about a date or using fake document, in the process of getting visa or other documentation, admission into the United States, or any other benefit, will make the immigrant ineligible for lawful status.

Sometimes immigration grants a visa or lawful permanent residency without knowing that the immigrant committed fraud in the past. The Third Circuit in Saliba v. Atty Gen., No 15-3769 (3d Cir. June 14, 2016) found that immigration can deny status to an immigrant due to past fraud even if immigration didn’t catch that fraud before and previously granted the immigrant status. In Saliba, an immigrant falsified documents to get Temporary Protected Status. Immigration did not know about the fraud and granted the immigrant Temporary Protected Status. For years the immigrant had legal status and then became a permanent resident. He eventually applied for citizenship. Immigration discovered the immigrant’s fraud when he applied for citizenship and denied him citizenship based on the years-old fraud. The Court confirmed that immigration could deny citizenship for past fraud even after granting status to the immigrant in the past.

There is a waiver of the fraud that an immigrant may seek though parents and spouses that have lawful status in the United States, but the immigrant must seek the waiver at the time of applying for admission or status in the United States. An immigrant cannot seek this waiver when applying for citizenship.

If you or anyone you know has committed immigration fraud in the past, get advice from an experienced attorney before continuing with your immigration case to avoid harsh consequences in the future.

Anna Erwin

Associate

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