Why USCIS’ New Form for Informants Should Make Some People Question Everything

People mistakenly think that future changes to immigration laws and regulations will not affect actions they take (or fail to take) today. They’re wrong. The announcement, on February 15, 2019, of a form for immigration-fraud informants that US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to introduce should be a reminder of this.

The form is meant to make it easier for informants to notify the government of immigration fraud, and the government expects tens of thousands of submissions each year.

It is reasonable to expect that this form will lead to revocations of immigration benefits, including US citizenship.

How might this play out?

Let’s look at a case decided by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 1999.

A couple of years prior to the court’s decision, an external audit revealed that over 6,000 naturalization orders may have been obtained fraudulently.

Upon this information, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (the predecessor to USCIS) issued Notices of Intent to Revoke Naturalization.

Some individuals who received these notices sued the government. On appeal, the case made its way to the 9th Circuit. In this case, the 9th Circuit decided “whether the Attorney General, who has the exclusive power to naturalize, has the statutory authority to reopen and revoke her orders of naturalization on grounds of fraud, material misrepresentation or ineligibility for naturalization subject to de novo judicial review by an Article III court.”

The 9th Circuit decided the Attorney General has the authority to reopen and revoke naturalization orders. 

As USCIS investigates tips of immigration fraud entered on its new form for tips. It is foreseeable that even some individuals who naturalized–individuals who probably think they will never have an immigration concern again–will be told to put their hands up and fight.