Immigration fraud is very common in the U.S. After all, America is the land of opportunity.
Many immigrants try to get a chance to pursue their American dream by all means necessary. However, these fraudulent activities done in order to set foot in America constitute of immigration fraud.
Common Types of Immigration Fraud
There are three common types of immigration fraud:Document fraud or identity fraud
I. Document fraud or identity fraud
This is where a foreigner alters, counterfeits, or steals an American citizen’s identity documents to gain entry in the U.S.Marriage fraud
II. Marriage fraud
This type of fraud occurs when an immigrant enters into a fraudulent marriage with a U.S. citizen for the sole purpose of acquiring a U.S. citizenship.A benefit fraud
III. A benefit fraud
This fraud occurs when a foreigner lies, whether intentionally or unintentionally, on their immigration application documents with the aim of acquiring U.S. citizenship. A benefit fraud may involve more than one conspirator, where all the parties may be working together with the immigrants for some benefit.
Defenses Against Immigration Fraud
If you have been charged with immigration fraud, there are several defenses you can use in court. However, it’s advisable to hire an experienced immigration attorney from the start to get the best representation.
Immigration fraud covers several fraudulent activities, including small mistakes, which can land you in jail. Therefore, getting a Las Vegas immigration attorney early enough can make the difference between you serving a jail term and freedom.
Here are six defenses you can use when defending immigration fraud charges
1.Lack of Knowledge of Occurrence of the Fraud
One possible defense that you can use against an immigration fraud charge is admitting that you had no knowledge that a crime was committed.
For instance, you can point out that you were not aware that you acquired documents with misrepresented or inaccurate information. Moreover, you can point out that you were not aware that the service provider gave you fraudulent immigration forms.
2. Providing the Proper Documentation
A language barrier can hinder effective communication for some foreigners, leading to them being charged. However, these charges may have no legal basis.
A good defense against such charges would be to provide the proper documentation that can prove you were not in the wrong.
For instance, you may be charged with being in the U.S. illegally. Unfortunately, if you don’t understand English, you may not understand the charges and may find yourself in court. How can you beat this charge? If you have a valid green card that shows you are a permanent U.S. resident, you can provide it in your defense. This document may be all the proof required for the court to dismiss the case against you.
It is advisable to seek the help of an immigration attorney to ensure such documentation is presented as part of the evidence in court.
3. Lack of Intent
If you live in a foreign country and want to immigrate to the United States, you may seek advice from professionals in your country. These professionals may claim to be well versed in U.S. immigration issues.
For instance, in most Latin American countries, there are notaries that handle U.S. immigration filings. These professionals may be recommended by family and friends and you might trust them.
However, the notaries may be inexperienced or just offering false hopes while taking lots of money from you. The professionals may provide incorrect advice or improper immigration documents that could land you in trouble.
In such a scenario, you can use the lack of intent as a defense, citing that you didn’t intend to commit immigration fraud. The party that provided you with the improper documents may be charged if they reside in the United States. On the other hand, you’ll be acquitted since you had no intent to commit the fraud.
4. Legal Marriage
Marrying someone for the sole purpose of getting a green card so that you can get a lawful U.S. resident status constitutes immigration fraud. However, a legal marriage can be used as a defense against such a case.
You’ll need to go through a valid marriage process and have witnesses who can vouch for your relationship with your partner. The witness may be a person who witnessed your romance in another country or one who can attest that they were aware of your long-distance relationship with your partner.
5. Misrepresentation of Facts
When you are charged with immigration fraud for misrepresenting facts, the court may require proof that you had an intention to mislead.
If the facts changed but there is no documentation in the U.S. to prove the charges, you may have a case against the misrepresentation of facts.
However, you need to seek the help of an attorney and explain the facts to him so that you can be properly defended against the charges preferred.
6. Get a Response from an Attorney
If you are a foreigner and have no access to an immigration lawyer, you can get a response from an attorney to act as a defense against the case.
The attorney can be the communication link between you and the prosecuting attorney. If the lawyer finds the required documentation that can act as your defense in the case, he or she can present it in court or to the prosecuting attorney. The document will help you to avoid jail time.
Consequences of Immigration Fraud
If you are charged with immigration fraud and are found guilty, there are severe consequences you may have to deal with. For example, if you are already residing in the U.S., you could be deported. If you are seeking a green card, you could also be barred from entering the country.
You will also face a maximum of five years in prison and/or heavy fines if you are convicted of making a false statement on the immigration document.
Get Help from a Las Vegas Immigration Attorney
An immigration attorney can answer any questions you may have before you start on the immigration process. Consulting a lawyer can help you avoid immigration scams that can land you in trouble.
Before you file your immigration application, seek the opinion of a lawyer. From the advice you’ll get from the attorney, it will be easier to decide whether the information provided by an immigration agent is too good to be true.
An experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney can also defend you against immigration fraud charges. The lawyer can help you avoid deportation, loss of your legal status, jail time, and hefty fines. Experienced attorneys are skilled and can argue your case successfully to a jury or a judge. Rather than gamble with your freedom, hire an attorney to help you.