According to INA § 212(a)(6)(C)(ii)(I), “[a]ny alien” who makes a false claim to United States citizenship “for any purpose or benefit under this [Immigration and Nationality] Act or any Federal or State law is inadmissible. There is no waiver to this ground of inadmissibility, thus making it a permanent bar to admission to the United States.
According to INA § 212(a)(9)(C)(i)(I), “[a]ny alien” person who has accrued more than a year of unlawful presence, departs, and then comes back, or tries to, without being admitted, i.e, sneaks back or tries to sneak back, is inadmissible. Only after waiting ten years outside the United States and then applying for and receiving special permission to come back can a person be admitted to the United States. This bar is called the “permanent bar.”
Suppose a child made a false claim to United States citizenship or a child was in the United States illegally, departed and then returned, would these bars still apply? On the one hand, the words “any alien” mean “any alien.” Case closed. On the other hand, if a child is put up by an adult to tell an inspector that he or she is a United States citizen or told to hand an inspector a document that says the child is a United States citizen, does a child have the legal capacity to commit this fraud? If a child is brought back and forth across the border illegally, does the child have the ability to control his movements so that he must face a permanent bar as a result. Does a child have the capacity to say to his parent, “Mother, I prefer not to cross the border as I have accrued an aggregate of more than one year of unlawful presence, so allow me to remain in my native land and I will fend for myself as you and the rest of my family traverse the border surreptitiously and leave me all alone?” Hardly not.