The Board of Immigration Appeals has determined that a lawful permanent resident is deportable for making a false claim to US citizenship even if he did not know his claim was false. “Significantly, Congress carved out a narrow exception to this provision for those aliens whose parents are or were United States citizens; who permanently resided in the United States prior to the age of 16 years; and who reasonably believed that they were United States citizens when they made such a claim.4 Section 237(a)(3)(D)(ii) of the Act; see also section 212(a)(6)(C)(ii)(II) of the Act. This exception indicates that an alien is not required to know that a claim to citizenship is false, because if Congress had intended to include a knowledge or willfulness requirement in section 237(a)(3)(D)(i), there would be no need for a good faith exception.” “thus, we conclude that under the plain language of that section, it is not necessary to show intent to establish that an alien is deportable for making a false representation of United States citizenship. An alien need only falsely claim to be a United States citizen for any purpose or benefit under the Act or any Federal or State law to be deportable.”

The full text of Matter of Zhang can be found here: