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Immigration Law

The Duty to Correct False Evidence Submitted on Behalf of a Client: When Does it End?

"In the immigration context, it may appear that a lawyer’s obligation to remedy a client’s fraud or false statement, if it was made to a tribunal, could last in perpetuity.  It could result in draconian results, if say, a child or a spouse derived a green card, or even a derivative citizenship benefit innocently based on the false evidence that was submitted by the principal applicant.  As I had suggested in my previous article, there are very good policy reasons to limit the obligation to the end of the proceeding, or at least when the statutory limit for filing a motion to reopen has passed.  As time passes, the undoing of previously committed fraud implicates the status and rights of other people, such as spouses, children and other relatives. Indeed, even the Board of Immigration Appeals has held in an unpublished decision, Matter of Gumapas, that a person who became a citizen through fraud is still a citizen, and can sponsor a spouse for permanent residence.  The imposition of such a limitless obligation on an attorney would also diminish the purpose of the ethics rules themselves in preventing fraudulent representations to the tribunal." - Cyrus D. Mehta, June 24, 2013.