With the subject of immigration being such a hot topic in the news lately, many people are asking, "What is immigration fraud?" Immigration fraud involves document fraud and/or benefit application fraud. Those two types of fraud can be broken down into examples to make them easier to understand.
Document fraud includes forging, producing, or changing documents to satisfy an immigration requirement. According to the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, document fraud also includes "efforts to obtain genuine identity documents through fraudulent means". There are many negative effects of document fraud. It can help criminals remain on the streets and evade law enforcement and can actually help them commit more crimes. Illegal aliens also use fake documents to obtain employment in the United States. Examples of such documents include: visas, social security cards, birth certificates, and passports.
The most prevalent types of benefit fraud include marriage fraud and applying for government benefits that are only eligible to United States Citizens. Marriage fraud is when a person who is not a citizen of the U.S. marries a United States Citizen for the purpose of gaining United States citizenship.
There are no concise statistics on the prevalence immigration fraud due to the nature of the crime. The consequences for participating in immigration fraud can be very steep. Punishment can include heavy fines and prison time if a person is convicted of document fraud in the United States. Penalties for marriage fraud include: immediate deportation, denial of later applications for citizenship, and heavy fines.