A 41-year-old man from Columbus, Ohio was recently convicted unlawfully procuring citizenship, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Immigration fraud, including illegally trying to secure citizenship or naturalization, is a federal crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
It remains to be seen whether, during the sentencing phase of this case, the federal judge will impose the maximum possible penalties.
Background on the Case: Details of the Citizenship Fraud Scam
According to court documents, the convicted man reportedly traveled from Pakistan to the U.S. on a visitor’s visa. Upon arriving in the U.S., the man married a U.S. citizen and then followed through the process of naturalization to gain American citizenship.
During this process, the man made a series of false statements to officials at USCIS. For instance, the man reportedly stated that he did not having family when, in fact, federal investigators discovered that the man had previously married and had children in Pakistan.
“Committing fraud to obtain citizenship or any U.S. immigration benefit represents an egregious breach of the nation’s legal system and is a blatant affront to those who play by the rules. HSI will continue to aggressively move against those engaged in such criminal acts,” said HSI Special Agent in Charge Marion V. Miller in a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services press release.
Making any false statements to authorities during the citizenship process can be grounds to deny citizenship applications and permanently bar an applicant from being able to naturalize in the U.S. for life.
Legal Path to Naturalization & Citizenship in the U.S.
While there are various ways to obtain American citizenship, for those who are seeking naturalization by marrying a U.S. citizen, here are the basic eligibility requirements. Applicants must be:
- At least 18 years old
- Holders of green cards for at least 3 years
- Living with their spouse during the 3-year period preceding their citizenship petition
- Capable of reading, writing and speaking English and have an understanding of U.S. civics
- Of good moral character and not present a threat to U.S. security
For those who qualify for U.S. citizenship, the path to obtaining it can be complicated and long – and making mistakes or missteps along the way can result in complications (or possibly even denials). To ensure your citizenship pursuit is successful, contact an experienced immigration lawyer for help.
Contact a Los Angeles Immigration Attorney at the Hanlon Law Group, P.C.
If you need help becoming a U.S. citizen or securing any immigration status change, contact a Los Angeles immigration attorney at the Hanlon Law Group, P.C. You can call our firm at (626) 684-3712 or (866) 227-5527 or send us an email using the form at the upper right-hand side of the screen.