A little known provision in the law can have extremely devastating effects on individuals who falsely claim that they are U.S. citizens. The Illegal Immigration Reform And Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRAIRA) created § 237(A)(3)(D) within the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which states:
Any alien who falsely represents or has falsely represented, himself to be a citizen of the United States for any purpose or benefit under this act.....or any federal or state law is deportable. This law affects any individual, who after September 30, 1996, falsely represents himself or herself as a U.S. citizen. Not only can an individual already in the U.S. be deported under this provision, but a complimentary provision in the INA also precludes a potential immigrant from obtaining the green card. Claiming citizenship can happen in many ways. A young adult desiring to go to college may state that he is a U.S. citizen when applying to college. Once this happens the lie continues on the school records. Finally upon graduation the person applies for a job. Since 1966 every employer must complete an Employment Eligibility Verification form at the time of hiring a worker, whether a U.S. citizen or a foreign born person. This from is called “I-9." To complete it properly the new employee must check off whether he or she is a citizen of the United States, a permanent resident, or an alien authorized to work for a temporary period by the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
If this misrepresentation was made after September 30, 1996, he or she can be deported from the United States. Worse, even is this person is married to an American citizen and has U.S. citizen children any application for a Green Card could be denied based on the false representation. At the time of the green card interview, an USCIS officer or consular officer could easily inquire whether such a misrepresentation was made or not. Most applications for immigrant visas require information about the last five years of employment. If the applicant was illegal during this period, the officer could look into how the person was able to work in the U.S. This may necessitate the officer could to request the applicant to submit the Employment Eligibility Verification form from his or her employer as a condition for approving the case.
There is absolutely no waiver for this ground of inadmissibility and deportability. Many families have been devastated because of this law.