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USCIS updates policy on false claims of US citizenship

  1. Date Announced

    April 24, 2020

    USCIS updates their policy manual to reflect Matter of Zhang (BIA June 2019) that the government need not show knowing intent to defraud or misrepresent when it comes to false claims of U.S. citizenship, while also extending holding to inadmissibility. [ID #461]

    View Policy Document
  2. Effective Date of Change

    April 24, 2020
Status: Final/Actual
Type of Action: Agency Directive
Subject Matter: Enforcement Citizenship
Agencies Affected: CBP ICE USCIS

Prior Policies

  • In previous guidance, a noncitizen needed to have made the false representation knowingly in order to be inadmissible under INA section 212(a)(6)(C)(ii). However, in Matter of Zhang, 27 I&N Dec. 569 (BIA 2019), the BIA noted that unlike section 212(a)(6)(C)(i), the plain language of 237(a)(3)(D)(i) does not require an intent to falsely represent citizenship to trigger this ground of removability. Zhang reasoned that “the absence of a ‘knowing’ or ‘willful’ requirement for false claims to citizenship in sections 212(a)(6)(C)(ii)(I) and 237(a)(3)(D)(i) indicates that there was no congressional intent to include one.” Zhang, 27 I&N at 571, n.3 (citing Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 548 U.S. 557, 578 (2006)). Therefore, for inadmissibility under 212(a)(6)(C)(ii), a noncitizen need not intend to falsely claim citizenship.

    8 USCIS-PM K (2019)

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