Think your neighbors are pulling the wool over on Uncle Sam with a fake marriage? It just got a lot easier to drop a dime on them.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on Tuesday announced a new online tip tool for Americans to report suspected cases of immigration fraud, replacing the current system that the agency said wasn’t very user-friendly and had left cases hanging.
The new system allows users to visit a webpage, www.uscis.gov/report-fraud, pick from an expanded menu of types of fraud and enter the information right on the page.
“One way we protect our immigration system is by making it easy for the public to report immigration fraud and abuse,” said Joseph Edlow, the deputy director for policy at USCIS.
Businesses and individuals are fair game for reporting, with categories ranging from investor visas and student visas to temporary guest workers and bogus asylum or refugee claims.
One option is even to report illicit notarios, or people claiming to practice immigration law.
Cases will be investigated by the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate.
The agency said it gets thousands of tips each month, sent to one of three different email addresses.
Some tips pan out, and others don’t. But the agency said it didn’t have consistent speedy responses to the three different email boxes.
“USCIS needed a better way to collect information and make an assessment,” the agency said.
Those who make the tips will likely never know for certain the outcome, as privacy laws prevent USCIS them from divulging the outcome of investigations.
Experts say fraud is rampant in some immigration categories, though it’s been years since USCIS published any assessments.
One 2006 assessment calculated a 33% fraud rate for religious-worker visas.
And the government regularly prosecutes cases of marriage fraud, targeting operations that arrange fake marriages between foreigners and Americans in order for the foreigner to obtain a green card to remain in the U.S.
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