Many undocumented immigrants falsely claim to be United States citizens. This is a dangerous practice and should be stopped immediately. The law contains very severe penalties for someone falsely claiming to be a United States citizen.
Many undocumented immigrants sometimes assumed the identity of another person who is a United States citizen in order to find work. They do so by buying a birth certificate and social security number in the name of the United States citizen.
The practice usually comes to light when the real United States received an assessment for additional taxes by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) because the additional income was not reported on the person’s tax returns. As can be expected the individual will let the IRS know that they did not earn such income. An investigation will usually lead to the place of employment of the undocumented person who could face criminal charges for identity theft.
Another manner in which the false claim to United States citizenship can come to light is via a credit check. Many social security numbers that a person randomly chose in fact belong to a real person. If there is additional income or outstanding debts under the real person’s social security number then that person can report it to the authorities who can investigate the matter and discover the identity of the imposter.
Similarly, criminal charges can be bought against the undocumented immigrant for assuming the identity of someone else in order to obtain credit.
Yet another way that a person can falsely claim to be a United States citizen is by voting in state or federal elections. The law states that only United States citizen can vote. Many legal permanent residents end up voting and face the loss of their residence status for doing so. Residents who are registered to vote should de-register immediately to avoid future problems. The immigration authorities routinely check to see if residents have voted or have registered to vote when they apply for United States citizenship or to renew their residence card.
In 1996, the Congress of the United States passed a law stating that the punishment falsely claiming to be a United States citizen is a life time on obtaining any immigration benefit of any kind. There are a few exceptions to this life time bar.
Many undocumented immigrants face the difficulty of how they can obtain work. Even though it is against the law to present a false residence card stating that one is authorized to work in the United States, the consequences is not as severe as if one falsely claim to be a United States citizen. Many persons who used false documents in order to work have subsequently been able to obtain permanent residence.
Undocumented individuals with immigration issues should consult a knowledgeable immigration attorney. They should not seek immigration advice from relatives or friends.
Joseph S. Hughes, Esq. is attorney with 20 years of experience who practices law in Michiana area in the areas of immigration and criminal defense. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 269-473-2370
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