BAKERSFIELD, California (KGET) -- Immigration attorney Judith Seeds Miller says she sees cases every day of illegal immigrants having trouble getting citizenship because they have claimed dependents on their taxes who don't qualify.
"A lot of the petition preparers put down relatives, put down cousins, put down neighbors that you're not authorized to do. That's going to increase your refund and so that is a fraud, that's tax fraud," Seeds Miller says.
She says often people think they're benefiting from the bigger refund -- but it will come around to bite them in the end.
"If the additional amounts that you receive, that you weren't entitled to, equal $10,000 then that qualifies as what we call an aggravated felony and you will basically not be eligible for almost any type of immigration relief and you'll probably lose your residency," Seeds Miller explains.
Seeds Miller says generally the tax preparer recommends the additional dependents, but it's on the taxpayer to know what's right.