Identity fraud is often associated with immigration, but not always. As far as immigrants are concerned, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) invests a great deal of financial resources and manpower in investigating identity and document fraud and removing fraudsters from the country.
One of the main reasons why identity fraud is such a cause for concern is that it threatens national security, as well as the public’s safety. Essentially, the U.S. government contends that identity fraud makes the U.S. vulnerable and it helps illegal aliens and terrorists enter the U.S. and remain here.
While identify fraud is not always related to immigration, in many cases it is. According to ICE, identity and document fraud is often connected to human smuggling and trafficking, as well as visa compliance and worksite enforcement.
What is identity fraud?
Identity fraud and document fraud are the same thing, and they refer to:
- Altering identity documents
- Selling identity documents
- Manufacturing identity documents
- Counterfeiting identity documents
- Using fraudulent documents
In some cases, identity fraud involves identity theft, which is where an imposter steals the identity of a real U.S. citizen, who is either living or dead. The whole purpose behind identity/document fraud is to circumvent the U.S. immigration laws, or to commit other financially motivated crimes.
What other types of criminal activity can identity fraud be connected to? Aside from immigration fraud, identity fraud can be connected to bankruptcy fraud, tax fraud, mortgage fraud, insurance fraud, credit card fraud, check fraud, Medicare fraud, benefit fraud, and other fraud-related schemes.
Identity Fraud is a Federal Crime
Identity fraud is a federal crime under 18 U.S. Code § 1028. Under this section, identity fraud is punishable by a hefty fine and up to 30 years in federal prison depending on the facts of the case. Not only that, but if a green card holder is caught committing identity fraud, they can be placed in removal proceeding by an immigration judge.