Many people in the immigrant community are well-aware of the fact that immigration fraud occurs. However, many of these immigrants do not realize that immigration fraud is criminalized under the Immigration Nationality Act (INA). Immigration fraud (document fraud), is right up there with domestic violence, crimes of moral turpitude, falsely claiming citizenship, and drug trafficking – all deportable offenses under the INA. According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), “ICE places a high priority on investigating document and benefit fraud.” ICE goes on to say that such fraud “poses a severe threat to national security and public safety.”
Immigration & Benefit Fraud
Both document and benefit fraud are linked to several different types of immigration crimes, including human trafficking and human smuggling to name a few. So, what are document and benefit fraud exactly?
Let’s take a closer look:
Document fraud, otherwise known as identity fraud, involves the altercation, manufacturing, selling, or use of identity documents for the purpose of circumventing (avoiding or going around) U.S. immigration laws. Often, identity fraud is a form of identity theft; for example, when a person uses someone else’s birth certificate, driver’s license number, or Social Security number – those are identity theft crimes.
Benefit fraud is where an immigrant intentionally lies about a material fact on an application or petition to receive an immigration benefit. According to ICE, “Benefit fraud can be an extremely lucrative form of white-collar crime.” The Identity and Benefit Fraud Unit investigates people who commit document and benefit fraud. The Unit does not work alone; it coordinates its efforts with other government agencies, such as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Department of Labor.
If you are accused of immigration fraud or facing deportation, we urge you to contact our firm at once to meet with a Plano immigration attorney.