2

Someone linked me to an interesting video this evening. The creator of it has made a number of false, or at minimum deliberately very misleading, claims about the legal system, with apparently an intent to convince people who believe him to have sex with him. He doesn't claim to be a lawyer of any type.

The video is long, but as an overview it, correctly, claims that any child born in the USA or with a USA citizen as a father is a US citizen. It then falsely claims this theoretical child will get free schooling and college scholarship without having to pay taxes and that the child's (non-citizen) parents will get a green card when the child turns 21, which is not really accurate, as the child can't benefit from free schooling without someone paying taxes, a green card is not guaranteed at 21, and the part about college scholarships seems completely false.

This all leads to the argument that foreign women should get pregnant by having sex with the poster of the video so that they can have a child who is a US citizen and reap all these wonderful benefits the US citizen child will supposedly gain.

Some very lenient reading of the claims could almost say that the claims are all technically true, though I believe in context it is clearly deliberately misleading for self gain. However, it leaves me with two questions.

First, in general, if we assume he had made an intentionally false statement about the the legal code for something like this would it be legal? I'm pretty sure it would be fraud if he gained financially, but does convincing someone to have sex with you from a misrepresentation of the law actually violate any law?

Second, would any statements made specifically in this situation be considered false/fraudulent from a legal standard? That is assuming that there were cause to file a complaint against him would he be able to claim that every statement taken in isolation have some slight bit of truth to them and so are not fraudulent? If he hadn't made the claim about college scholarships, which seems blatantly false to me, would he be able to claim that technically a child would get free schooling without the parent having to pay taxes if the parent abandoned the child in the US to be adopted, or is that still too far of a legal stretch to ever be accepted?

  • 1
    Excellent questions with complex answers. – ohwilleke Jun 8 '17 at 17:42
  • Surely he will have to pay alimony for the child? – gnasher729 Dec 30 '18 at 15:34
2

Fraud involves gain. It does not have to be financial gain.

By the way, he's probably right about free education etc. to some extent - as the father he will be (partially) responsible for child support.

  • 1
    Most jurisdictions do not permit you to sue for fraud if the gain is exclusively sexual. It is expected that people will lie and exaggerate to obtain sex and the legal system is too coarse a tool to resolve such claims. In the United States, 27 States prohibit such actions and in most others, they almost never succeed. Such actions were tied to the old notion that sex somehow damaged a woman. The modern thinking is typically that only rape is actionable, that is, where a person does not want to have sex with the person they had sex with. – David Schwartz Jun 8 '17 at 12:31
  • 1
    @Schwartz I agree with you that this would not constitute the crime of rape. I'm not convinced that it wouldn't constitute any other crime, but it is hard to pin down exactly which one. – ohwilleke Jun 8 '17 at 17:56
1

It is not sufficient to establish that a knowingly false statement was made, you have to also establish the person's intent that another act on the basis of the false claim (and there also has to be actual loss). You've stipulated that the jury found the claim to be false and that he knew that it was false. You would also need to also stipulate that the jury found that he intended to deceive the other person, who reasonably relied on that statement, and who was ignorant of the falsity of the claim; plus, they were harmed. A problem with establishing ignorance on the part of the mother is the presumption by the legal system that people know the law (i.e. "ignorance of the law is no excuse"). But, if you stipulate all of that, then that is fraud.

As for the specific video, it's not clear that you could establish any of the elements of fraud. It is actually true that the child (if a resident in the US) gets free schooling – recall that we have had a system of free public education since before the Revolutionary War, and it is guaranteed in many state constitutions. Indeed, even if the child is not a US citizen, and is even present in the US illegally, they are still entitled to attend the free public school where they live, see Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202.

Such a child can get college scholarships: you would have to prove that the statement can only mean that college scholarships are guaranteed to any such child (which you cannot prove). Those statements are true: the child does not have to pay taxes in order to receive these benefits. (Nor for that matter does either parent). An ostensive victim could not reasonably believe that such a child is always granted a college scholarship (it is unreasonable to believe that such children enjoy special rights not enjoyed by children born in the US to US citizen parents).

If a foreign born child acquires citizenship under Section 301(g) of the INA, their citizenship is not later revoked if the US parent later abandons the child. The right to free schooling doesn't derive from citizenship: the linkage is that citizenship means legal presence which means presence, and presence alone is sufficient to gain the schooling privilege. It is true that the father would have made a promise to support the child until age 18, which legally limits his ability to abandon the child.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.