Becoming a U.S. citizen can be a long and difficult process. Many foreign nationals come to the U.S. on temporary work visas, but removal of conditional residences status prevents these people from acquiring green cards, without which they cannot legally stay in the U.S.. Because of this, immigrants sometimes resort to other methods in order to stay and maintain the only life that they have known. Unfortunately, these methods do have legal risks.
Recently, two men were arrested in connection with aiding Chinese and Korean nationals in obtaining falsified California I.D. cards and drivers’ licenses without the required citizenship. Authorities claim that two Korean men were involved in an “elaborate” identification fraud ring. Neither one of the men was legally allowed to be living in the U.S. because both of their visas had expired.
The men had put in place a complex plan to obtain falsified Canadian passports, which they then used to acquire valid Social Security numbers for people who wanted to stay in U.S. but did not have valid legal permission to do so. They then used these falsified documents to apply for California identification documents for more than 200 people who did not have green cards or acquired citizenship. It is believed that they were charging up to $5,000 for their services.
U.S. Immigration and Customs enforcers claim that the men reached potential clients by placing advertisements in Korean-languages newspapers. They were caught after a 17-month investigation in conjunction with the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The men face multiple felony counts for using false documentation to avoid consular processing, and the manufacture and distribution of faked identification papers. They are also accused of conspiracy and forgery.
The challenges associated with obtaining green cards push many foreign nationals into acquiring illegal documentation to stay in the country. These methods often come with risks, and undocumented immigrants face deportation if caught by authorities. An attorney who is well-versed in immigration law may be able to present other legal options for people who desired to obtain U.S. citizenship to help them obtain permanent residence status and citizenship papers legally.
Source: Diamond Bar Patch, “ID Fraud Ring Allows Hundreds to Overstay Visas- Diamond Bar Man Arrested in Connection,” Associated Press, 19 May 2011.