Potentially thousands of foreign nationals living in the United States have posed as domestic abuse victims since 2014 in order to obtain a green card to permanently remain in the country, a federal report states.
A new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) details potential widespread fraud spurred by a provision in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which allows foreign nationals living in the U.S. to self-petition for a green card so long as they prove that they are the victim of domestic violence by their U.S. citizen or green card holder spouse or parent, or their adult U.S. citizen son or daughter.
“According to [United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)] officials, the self-petition program is vulnerable to fraud, such as self petitioners’ use of false or forged documents,” the GAO report states.
Since October 1, 2013, USCIS has detected more than 2,200 cases of potential fraud by foreign nationals seeking a green card under the VAWA program. In Fiscal Year 2014, there were less than 200 cases of potential fraud. By Fiscal Year 2019, the number of potential fraud cases had increased to more than 800 — a 305 percent jump in six years.
Similar to the increase in potential fraud, the number of foreign nationals who are petitioning for green cards by claiming to be domestic violence victims has grown by more than 70 percent since October 1, 2013.
By the end of Fiscal Year 2018, USCIS received nearly 13,000 petitions for green cards from foreign nationals claiming to be victims of domestic violence. That same year, there were already more than 19,000 cases pending adjudication.
GAO investigators are urging federal immigration officials to regularly conduct fraud risk assessments of the VAWA program in order to determine a fraud risk profile, implement an anti-fraud plan, and develop an analytics plan to detect fraud.
Every year, the U.S. admits about 1.2 million legal immigrants with the overwhelming majority, nearly 70 percent, coming through the process known as “chain migration,” whereby newly naturalized citizens are allowed to bring an unlimited number of foreign nationals to the country. The mass inflow of legal immigrants is in addition to the hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens who are added to the U.S. population annually.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.