US citizenship is a privilege that many legal immigrants aspire to. It takes a lot of persistence and effort to be granted this right by the US government. Of-course the benefits of a US citizenship are many and well documented (link USCIS). Cutting corners while applying for naturalization is risky and the penalty for doing so is harsh and the US government is very unforgiving as Balbir Singh alias Ranjit Singh discovered.
A person of Indian origin, Balbir Singh was recently convicted by US government for using fake identity to get US citizenship. He faces up to 10 years in federal prison, a maximum USD 250,000 possible fine, revocation of his citizenship and enforcement of his outstanding deportation order.
Here is the sequence of events as appearing in the media.
- A few years ago, Mr. Singh was ordered deported but lied about it to seek citizenship.
- Acting US Attorney Abe Martinez said Mr. Singh had previously attempted to obtain asylum under false pretenses.
- When that asylum attempt failed, an immigration judge ordered his deportation from the United States, thus making him ineligible to ever become a naturalized US citizen.
- Instead of leaving the country, Mr Singh changed his name, date of birth, the manner in which he entered the United States and his family history so that he could obtain lawful immigration status.
- He later applied for Naturalization based on a marriage to a United States citizen. In his Naturalization application, Singh denied ever being ordered deported, seeking asylum or using a different identity.
- After obtaining the citizenship, a fingerprint comparison established the man previously ordered deported from the United States (Balbir Singh) and the man who later became a naturalized citizen (Ranjit Singh) were one and the same.
- US District Judge Ewing Werlein is scheduled to set sentencing for October 13.
Turns out, it is not just Indians who are guilty. Even US officials sometimes participate in such fraudulent activities. A recent articles stats: US attorney gets Pakistan aide married to Indian origin man for Green Card, charged with marriage fraud. “A US attorney, who got an Indian- origin naturalised American citizen ‘married’ to his Pakistani assistant so that she could obtain a Green Card, has been charged with marriage fraud along with his woman aide.”
Bottomline: The penalty for fraud and providing false information in US immigration is hard and those attempting this will get caught.
Also check out USCIS process to report Immigration Scams
News articles about the topic:
- Indian convicted for using fake identity to get US citizenship (TOI)
- Punjabi man convicted of fraud in US (The Tribune)