Thousands Receive Immigration Benefits While Ineligible
WESLACO – A report by the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General revealed nearly 10,000 people received immigration benefits while ineligible.
A report by DHS points to fingerprint data not catching people who had been removed from the country or had deportation orders when applying for immigration benefits.
Those benefits range from U.S. citizenship to work permits.
Immigration procedures typically take months, some longer than others. The procedure is meant to ensure applicants complied with the law.
The nearly 10,000 people identified in the report, didn’t comply and instead presented themselves under a different name when encountering law enforcement while in the country illegally.
“So they have as of now found out that many of them are not eligible, some of them are eligible still for the benefits, but they're going to review these on a case by case basis," said immigration attorney Alex Martinez.
The error in the system lead thousands of applicants, from countries including India, Bangladesh, and Mexico – to obtain immigration benefits, such as U.S. citizenship status or a work permit.
Martinez points out the problem could impact more than the nearly 10,000 people.
If an ineligible person received immigration benefits, then passed benefits to a family member, that family member's status becomes null.
Martinez went on to say the situation is unfortunate but said, "There is no justification for anyone to misrepresent the facts to the government. That is not allowed and that is not acceptable."
According to USCIS, receiving a deportation order or having used another identity doesn't necessarily mean someone is ineligible for immigration benefits.
The nearly 10,000 cases will be reviewed on an individual basis.