IMMIGRATION CORNER –
Michael J. Gurfinkel
In a previous article, I wrote about how the USCIS assembled a task force to start reviewing cases of people who may have obtained their green cards or US citizenship through fraud. They would then take steps to revoke their citizenship and have them removed/deported. This could include people who entered the US under an assumed name and obtained a green card under that assumed name. When filing for US citizenship, they may have asked to have their name “changed” to their real name and may have started petitioning their family. Or, they were in a fixed marriage, or were sponsored by an employer, but never worked for that employer after getting their green card.
The US Department of State (DOS) is following a similar policy. However, the DOS is simply revoking the person’s US passport, and the person has to request a hearing in Washington DC to defend themselves against the passport revocation.
In one actual case, a Filipina received a letter from DOS in 2018, advising that her passport was revoked. (Thankfully, she was not in the Philippines at the time, as she would not have been able to return to the US, since her passport was no longer valid.)
According to DOS, years ago, she entered the US on a tourist visa under a different name. She married a US citizen who petitioned her under her assumed name. She was able to get a green card and eventually US citizenship under that assumed name. She later went to state court and had her name legally changed back to her real, true name, and applied to DOS for new a passport under her new “legal” name, which was issued.
Seven years later, DOS sent her a letter, advising that DOS conducted a “subsequent investigation” which uncovered her true identity. Accordingly, because she made “false statements of material fact on her passport application,” her passport was being revoked. She can no longer use or travel with that passport. And DOS’s position is since she obtained her green card through fraud, she was not entitled to the green card. If she is not entitled to the green card, she is not entitled to US citizenship.
In these times of strict immigration enforcement, people who obtained green cards or citizenship have to be especially cautious when applying for US citizenship, or if they are already US citizens, petitioning family members. Homeland Security as well as DOS are now going after those people and seeking to either revoke citizenship or immediately revoking their US passports. That is why it is important that if you have any issues with the way you obtained your green card, you should consult with an attorney, who can advise you of options or consequences. Don’t have a philosophy that because you “got away with it” in the past, you could never “be touched.” The US government is now not only going after green card holders who obtained their green cards through fraud, but also against naturalized citizens.
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