House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) is demanding answers from the Department of Homeland Security as hundreds of illegal immigrants in Queens, New York are using family court to get on a special path to a green card.
A recent News 4 New York investigative report reveals apparent immigration fraud in the Special Immigrant Juvenile Program.
According to the report, in the past year, hundreds of young men from India who smuggled themselves illegally across the border are showing up in family court with similar stories — that their parents abused them — in the hope of getting in on the special immigration status.
“In recent months, the I-Team has interviewed judges, clerks, lawyers and even some who work as Punjabi translators in these cases,” the News 4 report reads. “They tell the I-Team they fear these undocumented young men are illegally crossing the U.S. border with the knowledge that they can head to family court for help getting special immigration status. It’s a little known route they’ve learned to navigate with the help of lawyers and criminal human smugglers who sources tell the I-Team are profiting.”
To Goodlatte, this report is “disturbing to say the least.”
In a letter to DHS Sec. Jeh Johnson Thursday, Goodlatte encourages the DHS head to view the report.
“In light of your stated commitment to preventing fraud and abuse in U.S. immigration benefit programs, I request that you watch the entire video and answer the following questions,” Goodlatte writes, going on to list five prompts.
The Judiciary Committee head requests the department respond within two weeks.
Specifically he asks:
1. What immediate steps will you take to ensure that fraudulent SIJ petitions are not approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) adjudicators?
2. What long term changes will you make to the adjudications process and policies to ensure that fraudulent SIJ petitions are not approved by USCIS adjudicators?
3. How exactly will you coordinate with state courts to ensure that abuse, abandonment or neglect is not found by these courts when there is evidence of fraudulent claims?
4. What, if any, statutory changes do you suggest to give you additional tools to ensure that fraudulent SIJ petitions are not approved by USCIS adjudicators?
5. In addition, I request that you immediately direct the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate at USCIS to conduct a Benefit Fraud Assessment of the current SIJ program and to determine what steps can be taken to prevent fraud in the program.