The Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) define a frivolous application as a document, which has no basis in law or in fact. (See 8 CFR § 1003.102 (j); Prof. Cond. R. 3.1). A frivolous immigration application has no merit and has virtually no chance of achieving the immigrant applicant’s goal. It can, however, hurt the immigrant’s chances of receiving an immigration benefit in the future. It can also cause the immigrant being put in removal proceedings, and ultimately leads to deportation. Thus, the negative consequences to the immigrant are enormous.
Some immigration attorneys “justify” this unethical behavior by stating that while the frivolous application is making its way through the USCIS system, which in the immigration context can be years, the immigrant is receiving the benefit of living in the United States.
The Ohio Supreme Court in its interpretation of the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct does not agree. Instead, the Ohio Supreme Court has repeatedly held an attorney has a duty to not make a false statement of fact or law to a tribunal. (Prof. Cond. R. 3.3). A legal argument, which is based on a knowingly false representation of law, constitutes dishonesty towards the tribunal. (See Official Comment  to Rule 3.3).
Furthermore, the USCIS has held the attorney’s signature on any filing, application, motion, or appeal constitutes a certification by the attorney that he or she has read the document and to the best of the attorney’s knowledge the document is well-grounded in fact and is warranted by existing law or by a good-faith argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law, and is not filed for any improper purpose. (CFR § 1003.102 (j)).
Please continue to follow our website or schedule a consultation if you believe you are a victim of a frivolous application.