There are many people who try to come to the United States every year for work and many who are already here, hoping to obtain full citizenship. Last year alone, 779,929 people were naturalized1 as US citizens. When working, citizens and non-citizens alike are required to fill out a Form I-9 to verify that they are legally able to work. What non-citizens may not realize, though, is that misrepresenting themselves on this form could cost them the ability to obtain status, permanent loss of status they may have, or the ability to become naturalized US citizens.
The relevant section of the law is Section 212(a(6)(C)(ii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This section says that: “Any alien who falsely represents, or has falsely represented, himself or herself to be a citizen of the United States for any purpose or benefit under this Act (including section 274A) or any other Federal or State law is inadmissible.” This statute has a very limited exception in the case where the alien’s parents are or were U.S. citizens, the alien lived in the United States before the age of 16, and there is a good faith belief (albeit incorrect) that the person is a citizen.
As of October 30 this year, the Board of Immigration Appeals has decided that the Form I-9 can be used in immigration proceedings to support the removal (deportation) of a noncitizen and to determine his or her eligibility for relief from deportation. This means that if you’ve lied about your citizenship status on this form, you could find yourself in a difficult situation, making any status difficult or impossible to obtain or resulting in removal from this country.
What Should I Know About Form I-9?
Here are some things to take note of in regards to the Form I-9 and your immigration status:
- Filling Them Out: The Form I-9 is required to be filled out and signed by every employee, regardless of their immigration or citizenship status.
- Removability/Deportation: When it comes to immigration proceedings, an I-9, Employee Eligibility Verification can now be used to support charges of deportation against a non-US citizen.
- Keeping the Forms: All employers, in any sector, whether private, public or not for profit, are required to keep those forms.
- Employer Requirements: Employers are required to provide them to the government, upon the government’s request, for inspection. Employers must keep I-9 forms while the employee is employed and for up to three years after the employee has left the job.
If You Falsely Claimed Citizen on Form I-9
There are still other limited forms of relief, most of a humanitarian nature (such as Cancellation of Removal, Asylum, victim related applications, applications by minors and others) where a false claim to citizenship may not result in a denial of status or a permanent bar. Anyone who has falsely declared to be a USA citizen in an I-9 Form (or in any other setting that may be considered a government purpose or benefit) must discuss their case with competent counsel to determine possible options, risks and consequences.
Let the Atlanta Immigration Attorneys at Antonini & Cohen Help You
The attorneys at Antonini & Cohen have vast experience in filing for all types of immigration benefits, including Cancellation of Removal, Deferred Action, and stays of removal. We will be happy to meet with you to analyze your particular circumstances and discuss the best possible avenue(s) for remaining lawfully in the US. Call us today at 404.850.9394 or complete a contact form.
At Antonini & Cohen, we have been providing energetic, effective and aggressive representation in all areas of American immigration law since 1991.