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Ways Immigrants Have Committed Immigration Fraud 

The Classic Photo Swap

At least through September 2005, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) employees handling applications for refugee/asylee travel documents weren't comparing the applicant's new photo for the new travel documents with the original photograph of the refugee/asylee stored in the Image Storage and Retrieval System (ISRS). So illegal aliens who buy/obtain biographical information about a legitimate refugee can submit an application for travel documents using the real refugee's name and their photo. They can then obtain other immigration documents using the stolen identity established by the travel documents.

The Green Card Gambit

A slightly different version of the travel document immigration switcheroo. It was first identified in December 2005 and has been supposedly corrected since then. An illegal alien can easily steal (or buy or borrow) the identity of someone with lawful permanent residence status. They then apply for a replacement/renewal green card in the legal resident's name using the resident's alien registration number.

"Incredibly, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services actually captures the illegal alien's photos, fingerprints and signatures in the Image Storage and Retrieval System," Maxwell told subcommittee members. But since employees don't compare the application for replacement with the photo, fingerprints or signature of the original applicant, imposters walk out the door with a legitimate US ID.

The Employment Doc Dupe

In order to qualify to get lawful permanent resident (LPR) status, legal immigrants first have to have their immigration petition approved and then acquire a visa, a process that can take years.

But by taking advantage of a loophole in the LPR applications process, illegal aliens can get valid work documents. All they have to do is submit an application for LPR status, even though they don't qualify for it.

USCIS regulations say that if an application for LPR status isn't processed in 90 days, you can file an I-765 application for something called an employment authorization document (EAU).

Since the processing system for LPR status is so backed up that it takes at least six months for an LPR application to be approved, virtually all applicants get EAD documents, even those who aren't legally in this country. Once you have an EAD, you can apply for a social security number or a driver's license. About 23,000 illegal aliens got EADs using fraudulent applications for LPR status between 2000 and 2004, according to a study by the Government Accountability Office.

Worse yet, an auto-adjudication system used by the Texas Service Center processes I-765 applications from start to finish with no human involvement at all, according to Maxwell's congressional testimony. So no one actually examines supporting documents for signs of fraud.

-- Source: Testimony of Michael J. Maxwell to the Subcommittee on International Terrorism and Nonproliferation and accompanying documentation

Also see

Security clearance

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