The border crisis remains a primary concern for many voters, and immigration will undoubtedly be one of the biggest issues in upcoming elections.
With the Biden administration planning to lift Title 42, border authorities and DHS officials are expecting another drastic rise in illegal migrants. And according to some reports, the numbers are hugely worrisome.
At the same time, the country continues to battle immigration fraud in other venues.
For decades, one of the potential loopholes involved marriage: it was possible to get into the country if a foreigner married an American citizen, and a great many attempted to abuse this allowance.
In fact, that was the focus of a recent Department of Justice investigation — and now they’ve rounded up 11 individuals, all of whom are accused of a huge scheme.
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Those accused have evidently arranged hundreds of bogus marriages, just for the purpose of getting undocumented individuals from overseas into the U.S. Apparently, this was a far-reaching and expansive operation.
Via The Daily Wire:
The Department of Justice announced charges Thursday for 11 individuals in relation to a potential massive green card scheme ‘that allegedly arranged hundreds of sham marriages entered into for the primary purpose of circumventing immigration laws.’
According to the DOJ press release, the man in charge is a 48-year-old Philippines national named Marcialito Biol Benitez, who ran an “agency” that arranged marriages between foreign nationals and U.S. citizens.
This involved “false petitions, applications and other documents,” and they charged exorbitant fees: anywhere between $20,000 and $30,000 in cash.
Allegedly, over 400 marriages were set up this way. The DOJ even says non-citizens were “coached” by Benitez and others at the agency, so they could properly answer questions from immigration officials.
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Said special agent in charge of the FBI Boston office, Joseph R. Bonavolonta:
It is the utmost honor and privilege to become an American citizen, and the individuals we arrested today have allegedly made a sham of that process by running a large-scale marriage fraud ‘agency’ that arranged hundreds of fake marriages for foreign nationals, racking up millions of dollars in profits.
The charges will be significant and the consequences could be very steep.
U.S. Attorney Rachael S. Rollins added that the federal government believes the “agency” broke immigration laws while hindering people who try to legally enter the country. As she said in the release:
Marriage fraud is a serious crime that threatens the integrity of our nation’s lawful immigration system.
Lastly, the DOJ’s case claims Benitez and her accomplices assisted a few clients in “fraudulently obtaining residency under the Violence Against Women Act.” This is yet another charge heaped atop the others.
The 11 defendants will be facing tough penalties for these alleged crimes, but many worry that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Immigration fraud is a large problem according to many sources within the government, and it’s impossible to stop it all — another issue the Biden administration might struggle to address.