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Lies Discovered by Immigration After You Get Your Green Card
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Posted On: November 16, 2011

What happens if you lied to immigration to get your green card in the first place or you were inadmissible at the time of adjustment in the United States and CIS found this out after you’ve received your green card? CIS can start immigration proceedings against you by issuing an NTA. You may have relief in immigration court but generally, it’s best to stay out of there!

The November 7 USCIS policy memo released by U.S. Citizenship And Immigration Services on when an officer must issue an NTA or refer the file to ICE for determination as to whether an NTA can be issued also affects those are already permanent residents. The memo highlights two situations in which NTAs can be issued when someone applies for citizenship. If the citizenship case involves fraud, the case must be referred to the Review Panel for a decision at to whether an NTA should be issued. There is no discretion; it must be referred. The review panel is assembled at the district office that is deciding the citizenship case. A permanent resident who was convicted of a crime that is considered an egregious public safety case after the time they became a resident must also be mandatorily referred to ICE for determination as to whether an NTA will be issued. Naturalization applications that involve a non-egregious criminal conviction can still be denied on good moral character grounds. If the crime is so old that it falls outside of the good moral character, CIS can make a written recommendation to the Review Board to issue an NTA and this recommendation is sent to a special NTA review panel that holds the naturalization case until removal proceedings have concluded. The NTA will not be issued though until a CIS Review Panel agrees with direct their recommendation of the officer who discovered the fraud. The review panel is located at the CIS office handling the case. The district director who gets involved if they review panel cannot reach a consensus on whether an NTA should be issued. If the NTA is issued, the naturalization application with placed on hold until removal proceedings have ended. But if the review panel does not issue an NTA, the underlying naturalization case will be denied. The only good part of this is that the immigrant avoids removal even though cannot benefit citizenship.

If the review panel decides not to issue the NTA or once proceedings have ended, the naturalization case can be adjudicated an approved if no other grounds block the issuance of approval. So, basically, it if a citizenship case involves past or current fraud, the NTA issuance is not automatic which is generally good news. However, with this memo, it is still unknown as to whether immigrants can provide more documentation to the review panel or appear in person before the panel to challenge the charges against them. We’ll have to see how this new policy unfolds in future cases . . .

Attorney Heather L. Poole practices exclusively in the area of U.S. family-based immigration law and citizenship law. Heather is a nationally-published immigration author, frequent lecturer on immigration issues, and member & officer of the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Southern California Chapter. For more information about Heather and the services offered, visit www.humanrightsattorney.com

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