Liar, liar, citizenship on fire?
The Trump administration is creating an office within the Homeland Security Department to strip immigrants of their naturalized citizenship or green card status if they are discovered to have lied on formal applications about their immigration status.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services spokesman Michael Bars said the agency has begun hiring dozens of lawyers and immigration officers to staff the forthcoming USCIS office in Los Angeles with the intent of possibly prosecuting some of those who committed fraud.
“The new USCIS office in southern California will serve as a centralized location to review and initiate the civil denaturalization process against individuals who had been ordered removed and intentionally used multiple identities in order to defraud the government and the American people to obtain citizenship,” Bars explained.
The idea of crosschecking paper documents has been years in the making, but is only happening now because technological advances have allowed hundreds of thousands of fingerprint records to be uploaded from paper into IDENT, the department’s fingerprint repository, reports the Washington Examiner.
One person’s fingerprints can be scanned through the system to see if the same unique prints were used on another person’s application.
Officers based in the agency’s Los Angeles office started a sort of pop-up office in January 2017 in order to look over fingerprints that were flagged as possible violators.
Bars said anyone who lied on legal documents can expect to hear from the new office.
“Nobody who obtained U.S. citizenship by deliberately assuming a false identity will be surprised to learn they are being referred to the Justice Department for removal proceedings. USCIS screens for deliberate acts of fraud,” said Bars.
As a result of the start-up operation last January, 2,536 naturalization cases were flagged as needing additional review.
The person under investigation will then be called in for an in-person interview. If officers determine he or she intentionally lied, the person will be referred to the Justice Department where a judge will make the ultimate denaturalization decision.
To date, 95 of the more than 2,500 identified cases have been sent to DOJ, which is one reason USCIS has chosen to establish an office with the sole intention of focusing on this issue.
Others could face criminal charges for fraud if DOJ prosecutors choose to pursue additional charges.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
June 13th, 2018