USCIS recently supplemented its Policy Manual with a new section of false claims to US Citizenship. Few people realize that out of all the grounds of inadmissibility, making a false claim to US citizenship is one of the most devastating. Except under very limited circumstances, there is no waiver available, unlike other most other grounds. For example, if an individual is charged with a criminal ground of inadmissibility, a 212h waiver may possibly allow that ground to be overcome. Another common scenario is the unlawful presence bar. A person subject to the 3 or 10 year ban may have the opportunity to waive the bar through an I-601 or I-601A application. But for false claims, there is no such mechanism. Given the gravity and seriousness of this immigration violation, it is especially important that there be uniform and transparent standards in place to avoid arbitrariness. According to the manual, there are 8 specifics steps that must be scrupulously followed in order to fairly arrive at such a conclusion.
Last Friday, Senators Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham announced a bipartisan bill intended to provide relief to those currently holding protected status under the DACA program ("Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals"). Titled the "Bridge Act," the bill-if passed into law-would extend deferred status and work authorization to not only those who currently have DACA but also those who, for whatever reason, are eligible for DACA but have not yet applied. The "provisional protected presence" status would reportedly last for a period of three years. Like DACA, there would be eligibility requirements and background checks that would have to be satisfied before any grant. Also like DACA, the protected status would not lead to or graduate into permanent residence. It merely provides a deferred status that protects the individual from removal and allows the opportunity for work authorization.
With respect to immigration consequences, removal from the United States is commonly regarded as the most punitive measure the US government can impose on a non-US Citizen. Depending on the circumstances of and setting in which the removal order is issued, an individual may be banned from the US anywhere from five years to permanently. If an individual is stopped and removed at the border, this may mean that he/she was the subject of an expedited removal proceeding. Individuals are deemed inadmissible for five years under these circumstances. (Note, however, that not all encounters at the border in which an alien is sent back necessarily result in an expedited removal order; sometimes, a person may accept a voluntary return.) If an individual was the subject of an Immigration Court hearing within the United States under section 240 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, and issued a removal order, he is ordinarily barred for ten years.