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False Claims To Citizenship

By Jon Eric Garde, Esq.

False claims to US citizenship bar lawful immigration and provide grounds for removal from the United States when made to secure any benefit under US immigration law, or any other federal benefit, (like social security) or state benefit, (like a drivers license). No pardon is available. One exception is where the person falsely claiming US citizenship has been permanently residing in this country since age 16, shows both parents are or were US citizens, and reasonably believes the false claim was true.

For about a decade, claims of US citizenship on Form I-9, which must be filled out to show employment eligibility, were held by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to not violate immigration law. The form previously had job seekers claim nationality or citizenship as a single choice, and falsely claiming nationality doesn’t violate immigration law. Yet, Form I-9 has been revised and job seekers must claim either citizenship or nationality as separate choices, so that the Ninth Circuit will no longer rule tolerantly to false claims to citizenship on Form I-9.

What about using a false US birth certificate in applying for a sheriff’s card? While this act violates several state and federal criminal statutes, the local office of the Department of Homeland Security has ceased prosecuting immigration violations due to my advocacy on a client’s behalf. Firstly, I argued that a false claim made in relation to a Clark County Ordinance is not in pursuit of a federal or state benefit. Secondly, the false claim was wrongfully prosecuted during past years because sheriff’s cards were unlawfully required in prior years wherever background checks were evaluated to be unlawful intrusions upon worker privacy. More recently, sheriff’s cards are required for jobs that call for security clearance, but not jobs such as maids, as was my client, or for busboys. Third, the false claim was not for the applicant’s benefit but for the benefit of casinos as a background check. Thankfully, this mother of a US citizen now has her green card.

Federal Judge Grants Citizenship From Hospital Bed

By Jon Eric Garde, Esq.

I had the pleasure of immigrating a young man from the Philippines through his US citizen mother’s petition. There was a typical case, featuring the routine joy of uniting families. My next encounter with him was sad, but the outcome was far from routine. A wheelchair bound quadriplegic rolled into my office, his body broken by a car crash, left a vestage of what he once was.

Nowadays, my client lived mostly in bed, barely able to move spindling arms and cringed hands, unable to intelligibly speak. How could he ever become a US citizen if he could no longer learn US history and speak English?

I applied for him to become a US citizen through a law allowing mentally impaired persons to naturalize as US citizens without speaking English or testing in US history and civics. To complicate matters, my client was hospitalized during his interview date. We relied upon another old law, allowing federal judges to conduct naturalization interviews.

While my client lay hospitalized, Honorable George Mahan exempted my client from testing due to his mental impairment and swore him in. My client recovered and went home a US citizen.

A Christmas Story

By Jon Eric Garde, Esq.

The Ghosts of Christmas past haunted a young immigrant mother of four. Darkness overcame her through addiction to prescription drugs, followed by shoplifting, criminal convictions, mandatory detention by Immigration authorities in Florida, and certain deportation. Her husband, a decorated veteran of Iraq, was transferred from Georgia to Texas to watch her youngest ones crying endlessly in despair for their mother.

A soldier was rendered unable to serve his country. His family was doomed. Then, God heard this young family’s cries. Prior to the woman’s detention, the US Supreme Court, by God’s grace, ruled that convictions causing certain deportation could be undone where the criminal judge had failed to warn that deportation would follow a guilty plea. Padilla v. Kentucky, 130 S. Ct. 1473 (2010).

Your immigration attorney searched for and located criminal defense counsel in Georgia to amend his client’s conviction so that deportation was not required and a pardon would be available. Sadly, detention was required until a pardon was granted; yet, without a pardon, deportation awaited. With immigration court in Miami, she was detained two hours north, poised to appear only by video.

Counsel sojourned from Las Vegas to Miami and traveled again to prepare his client from her cell the night before presenting her case on December 22, 2010, when she was pardoned after seven months of detention to return home to her family in time for Christmas. She still qualifies for US citizenship. Grace prevailed.


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Immigration Reform. Yes, We can do it.