Many undocumented immigrants come to this great big nation seeking a safer, better way of life.
Some are fortunate enough to have good guidance, others rely on the advice of people who have come before them…some knowledgeable some less so. For those who are already here, it is important that you speak with a licensed attorney who regularly practices in immigration law. Immigration law is a very complex area of law and people who let themselves be guided by ‘notarios’ or other ‘people’ in the community because ‘it worked for them’ may find themselves in a heap of trouble.
Most undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. are honest, hardworking, law-abiding people whose only wish is to work hard to provide for them and their families. Unfortunately, even those people can be led astray by taking the advice of ‘others’ who have come before them. One of the most disturbing mistakes I have come across in my practice is the advice that: ‘undocumneted immigrants should never use their own name and/or date of birth while they are here’…this is a BIG mistake. Why? Well, for one, if you are using someone else’s information you may be committing serious crimes, namely: identity theft; and, worse still, possibly the crime of false claim of being a U.S. citizen (if you are using information/documentation of a U.S. citizen), the latter of which could render you inadmissible for immigration benefits…forever, as there are very few exceptions for forgiving that action.
Likely, the advice to live under an assumed name/date of birth is so that there is no evidence of your having lived here as an undocumented immigrant so that you can, theoretically, eventually legally immigrate to the U.S. But this can actually put you at a disadvantage because many immigration benefits require you to provide proof of your continued physical presence in the U.S. – how are you to do that if you cannot prove it (since your legal documents have one name and date of birth listed and all of your physical evidence has a different name/date of birth listed)? Worse still is the situation where undocumented immigrant gives birth to a child here in the U.S. and uses the assumed name/date of birth on the child’s Birth Certificate. When the child turns 21 and is able to petition for you…now you have the added problem of proving that you (as listed on your legal documents) are the child’s parent (since your legal name is not listed as a parent).
Another reason that undocumented immigrants living under assumed name/date of birth is not good advice is that, well, practically speaking, in this day and age of technology it is easier than ever for the government to know that you are living here, especially if you have ever had a state ID or driver’s license, given facial recognition programs that are highly advanced…and lying to the government may be a crime and is a reason to deny you immigration benefits.
If you have fallen victim to this bad advice there may be ways you can try to remedy some of those mistakes, but they are costly and time consuming. You should consult with an experienced attorney to see if you are able to correct these mistakes. And as always, never take ‘someone’s word’ for what you should do…educate yourself and seek competent legal advice before you make mistakes that cannot be remedied.
*Disclaimer: this blog is not intended to aid with anyone seeking to come and live in the US undocumented, is not legal advice, and is for informational purposes only.