Here is my quick story. Came here as student, fell in love got married while still going to school. Finished school. Had baby. Didn't apply for green card until then since I thought that I would get a H1 job immediately after finishing school.
Since I could not get any employer to sponsor me, and needed money. Also since unauthorized work is forgiven for spouses of citizens, I applied at job at a major retailer and lied on I9. This was sometime in 1998. (I think I checked the combo box of citizen/national but my lawyer has me doubting that now. But 10% chance I checked greencard).
Then we applied for green card. I listed my job on application. My green card was approved.
3 years later, I decided to apply for citizenship but saw the question about false claim of citizenship. So I consulted a lawyer. He said to wait 10 years and then apply for citizenship.
In 2008, consulted another lawyer, he said there is too much going on with immigration, just renew green card now and get citizenship in 10 years since consequences of false claim are so high.
Now once again my green card is about to expire (in 2 years). With current political environment, I have my friends and family telling me to apply for citizenship as soon as possible. While unlikely, they are worried that greencards might get cancelled. (I know I know).
I went to 2 lawyers this time and strangely they both recommended I should apply for citizenship and I have nothing to worry about. Even after I told them that I listed the job on my green card application. They said since now I9 has separate boxes for citizen and national, IO are not focusing on old I9s and even if they do, I9 likely doesn't exist.
I asked them what should I say if IO ask me about how I got the job. One said to say you meant US national. Other asked me if I was really sure about which box I checked, I said about 90%. He said then tell them you are not sure which box you checked.
They both seem convinced I have nothing to worry about but they also told me if I am really nervous than immigration officer will pick on it and then they might investigate my application further. They also said that green card will not be cancelled that easily. If I am too afraid to apply for citizenship then I can continue to renew greencard. They usually just look at criminal background check during greencard. But there is always a chance they might look at the original application.
Normally, I would not be so worried about anything, worse comes to worse I go back to my old country. But I have 4 kids, my eldest daughter is in college. My youngest is in middle school. I just want to be here long enough to get my children through college. I know I made a mistake but I am hoping my mistake won't effect my kids.
What would you do? Should I risk applying for citizenship given my case or should I just continue to renew my green card? Any chance they will repeal this law or add waivers for it? (I also read about Cancellation but I am not sure if I would qualify since it happened within 7 years.)