Anyone lacking an expert knowledge of the law can find it difficult to navigate the complicated legal system in the US. This is, even more, the case for the refugee and immigrant population of the country. Undocumented immigrants are particularly likely to be in need of legal help, often to try to avoid deportation. Undocumented immigrants who have just graduated from high school may also need help, even when eligible for work permits via the deferred action program.
Language barriers can also pose a problem for immigrants when it comes to understanding legal documents and acquiring legal services. As with other aspects of immigrant life, this is something that can be particularly hard for older immigrants, who find it difficult to learn a new language.
People who have a lawful permanent residence in the US are able to put in an application for US citizenship after being in the country for five years if they meet eligibility requirements – this can also help to get rid of barriers that prevent immigrants from gaining access to legal services. Bowling Green attorney, Carlos Bailey, says that it is vital for residents to be aware of the five-year waiting period, so they avoid making unintentional fraudulent citizenship claims.
The consequences of making even accidental false citizenship claims include fines and possible deportation. This can happen when a non-citizen applies for a US passport, registers to vote, or makes any kind of claim for benefits that are only available to US citizens.