When you’re hoping to enter the U.S. legally, you’re going through a very stressful time.
So it’s tempting to listen when you meet someone who says, “I know someone who can help.” Or, “I have a friend inside the Immigration Service.”
They may even offer to help you present a bribe to a U.S. government official.
This suggestion may seem appealing, especially if you’re from one of those countries where it’s commonly rumored that a little “extra” can grease the wheels of justice.
In the United States, you’re more likely to end up in a federal prison.
I cannot state this too strongly.
Attempting to bribe a government official is considered a crime.
Don’t do it!
Let me repeat that.
Don’t do it!
U.S. immigration officials will be very quick to turn you in. They really don’t want you to go to jail. They just want you to be honest.
You don’t want to go to jail either.
Recently, the San Diego Union reported that a six million immigration permanent residency scam had been broken apart by the government.
Despite such potential negative outcomes, individuals will continue to try to out-smart the rules.
The reality, however, is that you won’t get very far even if your new friend knows an immigration agent.
The U.S. immigration system has so many levels of approval, you need connections with dozens of agents to pull off an insider scam.
As the above video about the fraud of inside connections shares, even the more sophisticated schemes, like the recent six million dollar scam in San Diego, are unlikely to evade detection forever.
Consider Sara, a young woman who came to my San Bernardino immigration law office about six months ago.
Sara seemed to be unusually fidgeting during her consultation. She wanted me to represent her at her upcoming interview for permanent residence.
I told her that I could not go to her appointment blindly, and I asked to review her paperwork. When I inquired about certain details, she retorted, “Why do you need to know that?”
After going back and forth, she would finally answer.
Her responses did not make sense to me.
I pressed more.
She confided that a friend had prepared her papers. She did not know for sure what was in her papers. Her friend told her everything would be okay.
In exchange for an additional fee, he had made arrangements with one of his government buddies to take care of her paperwork.
Sara had received the notice of her interview appointment a few weeks earlier. She was unable to locate her friend. As the date got closer, she grew scared about going to her interview alone.
I asked her for her friend’s name. She told me that she didn’t know his name.
She gathered her papers, got up quickly, and left.
She did not look back. Based on what I knew, she also could not look forward. Her future was destroyed.
As she left I doubted whether I knew her true name. Since she had taken fingerprints, real name or not, immigration authorities would match her records.
I’m no Sherlock Holmes.
But in my role as a green card lawyer, after conducting thousands of client interviews, I’ve learned to recognize certain types of fraud.
A trained immigration inspector will almost certainly catch them.
So here’s my advice.
If you’re solicited by one of these insider con artists, walk away as fast as you can.
Don’t look back or you may never be able to look forward again.
Avoiding Immigration Fraud, Part 3, covering the Inside Connection Scheme, is the third part of a five-part series on the most common immigration and green card scams perpetuated on unsuspecting mixed-status immigrant families. To read the full series, click here: If You’re Looking For Immigration Help: Beware Immigration Fraud.