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What is Immigration Fraud?

The process of immigration is a legally complex procedure. This procedure requires that documents be submitted, statements are sworn, and tests be taken. 

There are several legal ways for an alien to enter the United States. Most of these ways are dictated by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and provide pathways to becoming a lawful permanent resident, a temporary worker, or even just passing through the U.S. as a transit alien.

However, while many people will apply for these privileges using legitimate reasons using honest means, some will not act legitimately. The U.S. Center for Immigration Services (USCIS) is on constant alert for individuals attempting to commit immigration fraud and will apprehend and deport any individual who comes into the United States under fraudulent circumstances. To assist individuals in understanding what immigration fraud is, Attorney at Law has put together this article.

Defining Immigration Fraud

The legal infraction of fraud has a criminal and a civil definition. Civilly, fraud is based on a misrepresentation of fact that was either intentional or negligent. Criminally, fraud is a willful misrepresentation of facts for material gain. An immigration applicant who is found to have committed fraud or willful misrepresentation will still face deportation or other severe penalties.

In order for actions to be classified as immigration fraud, the individual must fulfill a set of requirements. In order for an individual to be found guilty of immigration fraud, the evidence must show that:

  1. The individual acquired or attempted to acquire a benefit under U.S. Immigration Law.
  2. The individual made a false statement or representation to acquire the benefit
  3. The individual made the false statement willfully.
  4. The false statement was made to a U.S. government  official.
  5. The false statement was made to deceive the government official.
  6. The false statement was instrumental in acquiring the benefit.

Whether the individual acquires the benefit or just attempts to acquire the benefit is not important. All that needs to be demonstrated is that the individual made a false statement for the purpose of deceiving a U.S. government official to gain a benefit under U.S. Immigration Law.

Document Fraud

Document fraud involves using counterfeit documents in order to apply for or gain an immigration benefit. This could include fake vaccination records, a fake birth certificate, or any other fraudulent form of identification or documentation required by the USCIS for immigration benefits.

A subtype of document fraud is identity fraud. While typical document fraud involves counterfeiting documents to pass immigration inspections or checks, identity fraud involves using another person’s legitimate documents in place of the applicant’s. Even though the documents may be legitimate, they are being used for nefarious and fraudulent purposes and therefore still qualify as immigration fraud.

Marriage Fraud

Marriage fraud is the practice of a foreign alien entering into a marriage with a U.S. citizen for the purposes of acquiring a benefit, usually citizenship. Marriage fraud is a type of immigration fraud that has been targeted by specific legislation including the Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments of 1986.

As one of the ways to reduce the rates of marriage fraud, the INA has been amended to make aliens who marry a citizen into conditional residents. As conditional residents, the alien will be required to maintain the marriage for at least two years or their conditional residence will be revoked and the alien will be deported.

Benefit Fraud

Benefit fraud is a type of immigration fraud that involves lying on an immigration application in order to acquire certain benefits. Benefit fraud can actually include multiple defendants as multiple co-conspirators can be working together to defraud the government and acquire a benefit that they are not actually qualified for.

Temporary Worker Fraud

One of the highest priorities of the USCIS, temporary worker fraud is a type of immigration fraud that places the immigrant as a victim rather than a perpetrator. Temporary worker fraud may involve an employer defrauding the government and victimizing immigrant workers. Two chief types of temporary worker fraud are H-1B and H-2B visa fraud.

An H-1B visa is intended to “help U.S. companies recruit highly-skilled noncitizens when there is a shortage of qualified workers in the country.” Similarly, the H-2B visa is intended to allow non-agricultural temporary workers to come to fill specific labor shortages. 

Some signs that a temporary worker or employer may be involved in fraud include:

  • Not being paid the wage certified on the Labor Condition Application (LCA).
  • The presence of a wage disparity between immigrant workers and other workers performing the same or similar duties, particularly to the detriment of U.S. workers.
  • The immigrant worker is not performing the duties specified in their petition.
  • The immigrant worker has less experience than U.S. workers in similar positions in the same company.
  • The immigrant worker is not working in the intended location as certified on the LCA.

If an immigrant worker discovers that their employer is committing temporary worker fraud, there may be a way for them to report this fraud while still protecting their ability to work in the United States.

Finding the Best Attorney For Your Needs

If you have been brought to the United States under fraudulent circumstances, or you are being wrongfully investigated for immigration fraud, you will need legal assistance to help you achieve the best possible outcome for you. In order to get the assistance you need, you will need to reach out to an Immigration attorney.

If you are seeking to become a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, you will need an Immigration attorney to help you navigate the complexities of immigration law. An experienced Immigration attorney can utilize their legal expertise, trial tactics, and expert witnesses to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

By leveraging their experience with deportation cases and legal expertise, the right attorney can prevent you from being expelled from the country or keep you from disqualifying yourself from future immigration attempts. Additionally, a qualified immigration attorney can help you explore the many paths to citizenship or lawful permanent residence that may be available to you. The best place to find an Immigration attorney is with Attorney at Law.

At AAL, our nationwide network of attorneys can connect you with the best Immigration attorney in your area. Our partners have the experience needed to go toe to toe with the United States government and come out on top. 

In addition to expert qualifications, our partners also excel in client care. We recognize the weight that immigration can place on your shoulders. That’s why our partner firms are selected for their compassionate service, replying quickly to any questions or concerns that you raise.

Don’t wait. Contact AAL today for a complimentary consultation and begin your journey to citizenship.

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