People who falsely and willfully represent themselves to be United States Citizens may be fined and imprisoned for up to 3 years. The misrepresentation has to be willful in addition to being false. Willfulness has been determined by the U.S. 9th Circuit in Chow Bing Kew v. United States, 248 F. 2d 466 (9th Cir. 1957) held that willfully means only that the misrepresentation was made voluntarily and deliberately. Therefore, the prosecution does not need to show that the false claim to citizenship was made for a fraudulent purpose.
Surprisingly the statute can be used to punish misrepresentations of citizenship in many contexts, including bot not limited to the following examples;
A false claim to U.S. citizenship is also a ground for Removability/Deportability and Inadmissibility. A finding of false claim to citizenship has been called the “death penalty of immigration” and one should consult an attorney immediately to see if they have a defense to the charge. There are no waivers for inadmissibility once one has been found to made a false claim to U.S. citizenship unless statement was made on or before September 30, 1996 and on ecan show extreme hardship to a U.S. citizen or LPR parent or spouse. There may possibly be some relief from deportability for certain situations.
Some possible arguments to defend the charge are listed below.
Forms of Relief that are not barred by a finding of false claim to citizenship.
Below are examples of discretionary relief and Judge will consider past false claim to citizenship when making a decision.
Below are examples of relief that MAY NOT be available in a False Claim to Citizenship case. Many of these situations have major obstacles such as requiring proof of Good Moral Character but it may still be possible in limited circumstances.