United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Dec 10, 2022

§ 1324c.
Penalties for document fraud
(a)
Activities prohibited
It is unlawful for any person or entity knowingly—
(1)
to forge, counterfeit, alter, or falsely make any document for the purpose of satisfying a requirement of this chapter or to obtain a benefit under this chapter,
(2)
to use, attempt to use, possess, obtain, accept, or receive or to provide any forged, counterfeit, altered, or falsely made document in order to satisfy any requirement of this chapter or to obtain a benefit under this chapter,
(3)
to use or attempt to use or to provide or attempt to provide any document lawfully issued to or with respect to a person other than the possessor (including a deceased individual) for the purpose of satisfying a requirement of this chapter or obtaining a benefit under this chapter,
(4)
to accept or receive or to provide any document lawfully issued to or with respect to a person other than the possessor (including a deceased individual) for the purpose of complying with section 1324a(b) of this title or obtaining a benefit under this chapter, or
(5)
to prepare, file, or assist another in preparing or filing, any application for benefits under this chapter, or any document required under this chapter, or any document submitted in connection with such application or document, with knowledge or in reckless disregard of the fact that such application or document was falsely made or, in whole or in part, does not relate to the person on whose behalf it was or is being submitted, or
(6)
(A)
to present before boarding a common carrier for the purpose of coming to the United States a document which relates to the alien’s eligibility to enter the United States, and (B) to fail to present such document to an immigration officer upon arrival at a United States port of entry.
(b)
Exception

This section does not prohibit any lawfully authorized investigative, protective, or intelligence activity of a law enforcement agency of the United States, a State, or a subdivision of a State, or of an intelligence agency of the United States, or any activity authorized under chapter 224 of title 18.

(c)
Construction

Nothing in this section shall be construed to diminish or qualify any of the penalties available for activities prohibited by this section but proscribed as well in title 18.

(d)
Enforcement
(1)
Authority in investigations
In conducting investigations and hearings under this subsection—
(A)
immigration officers and administrative law judges shall have reasonable access to examine evidence of any person or entity being investigated,
(B)
administrative law judges, may, if necessary, compel by subpoena the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence at any designated place or hearing, and
(C)
immigration officers designated by the Commissioner may compel by subpoena the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence at any designated place prior to the filing of a complaint in a case under paragraph (2).
In case of contumacy or refusal to obey a subpoena lawfully issued under this paragraph and upon application of the Attorney General, an appropriate district court of the United States may issue an order requiring compliance with such subpoena and any failure to obey such order may be punished by such court as a contempt thereof.
(2)
Hearing
(A)
In general

Before imposing an order described in paragraph (3) against a person or entity under this subsection for a violation of subsection (a), the Attorney General shall provide the person or entity with notice and, upon request made within a reasonable time (of not less than 30 days, as established by the Attorney General) of the date of the notice, a hearing respecting the violation.

(B)
Conduct of hearing

Any hearing so requested shall be conducted before an administrative law judge. The hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the requirements of section 554 of title 5. The hearing shall be held at the nearest practicable place to the place where the person or entity resides or of the place where the alleged violation occurred. If no hearing is so requested, the Attorney General’s imposition of the order shall constitute a final and unappealable order.

(C)
Issuance of orders

If the administrative law judge determines, upon the preponderance of the evidence received, that a person or entity has violated subsection (a), the administrative law judge shall state his findings of fact and issue and cause to be served on such person or entity an order described in paragraph (3).

(3)
Cease and desist order with civil money penalty
With respect to a violation of subsection (a), the order under this subsection shall require the person or entity to cease and desist from such violations and to pay a civil penalty in an amount of—
(A)
not less than $250 and not more than $2,000 for each document that is the subject of a violation under subsection (a), or
(B)
in the case of a person or entity previously subject to an order under this paragraph, not less than $2,000 and not more than $5,000 for each document that is the subject of a violation under subsection (a).
In applying this subsection in the case of a person or entity composed of distinct, physically separate subdivisions each of which provides separately for the hiring, recruiting, or referring for employment, without reference to the practices of, and not under the control of or common control with, another subdivision, each such subdivision shall be considered a separate person or entity.
(4)
Administrative appellate review

The decision and order of an administrative law judge shall become the final agency decision and order of the Attorney General unless either (A) within 30 days, an official delegated by regulation to exercise review authority over the decision and order modifies or vacates the decision and order, or (B) within 30 days of the date of such a modification or vacation (or within 60 days of the date of decision and order of an administrative law judge if not so modified or vacated) the decision and order is referred to the Attorney General pursuant to regulations, in which case the decision and order of the Attorney General shall become the final agency decision and order under this subsection.

(5)
Judicial review

A person or entity adversely affected by a final order under this section may, within 45 days after the date the final order is issued, file a petition in the Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit for review of the order.

(6)
Enforcement of orders

If a person or entity fails to comply with a final order issued under this section against the person or entity, the Attorney General shall file a suit to seek compliance with the order in any appropriate district court of the United States. In any such suit, the validity and appropriateness of the final order shall not be subject to review.

(7)
Waiver by Attorney General

The Attorney General may waive the penalties imposed by this section with respect to an alien who knowingly violates subsection (a)(6) if the alien is granted asylum under section 1158 of this title or withholding of removal under section 1231(b)(3) of this title.

(e)
Criminal penalties for failure to disclose role as document preparer
(1)
Whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the Service, knowingly and willfully fails to disclose, conceals, or covers up the fact that they have, on behalf of any person and for a fee or other remuneration, prepared or assisted in preparing an application which was falsely made (as defined in subsection (f)) for immigration benefits, shall be fined in accordance with title 18, imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both, and prohibited from preparing or assisting in preparing, whether or not for a fee or other remuneration, any other such application.
(2)
Whoever, having been convicted of a violation of paragraph (1), knowingly and willfully prepares or assists in preparing an application for immigration benefits pursuant to this chapter, or the regulations promulgated thereunder, whether or not for a fee or other remuneration and regardless of whether in any matter within the jurisdiction of the Service, shall be fined in accordance with title 18, imprisoned for not more than 15 years, or both, and prohibited from preparing or assisting in preparing any other such application.
(f)
Falsely make

For purposes of this section, the term “falsely make” means to prepare or provide an application or document, with knowledge or in reckless disregard of the fact that the application or document contains a false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or material representation, or has no basis in law or fact, or otherwise fails to state a fact which is material to the purpose for which it was submitted.

(June 27, 1952, ch. 477, title II, ch. 8, § 274C, as added Pub. L. 101–649, title V, § 544(a), Nov. 29, 1990, 104 Stat. 5059; amended Pub. L. 102–232, title III, § 306(c)(5)(A), Dec. 12, 1991, 105 Stat. 1752; Pub. L. 103–416, title II, § 219(r), Oct. 25, 1994, 108 Stat. 4317; Pub. L. 104–208, div. C, title II, §§ 212(a)–(d), 213, 220, title III, §§ 308(g)(10)(D), 379(a), Sept. 30, 1996, 110 Stat. 3009–570, 3009–571, 3009–575, 3009–625, 3009–649.)
cite as: 8 USC 1324c