Family Reunification–opportunity for fraud?

Did you know that refugees can apply to bring family members to America and the refugee becomes the sponsor for more refugees?  The volags (non-profit groups funded by you) take the applications for the extended family members and then are paid by the head for the additional refugees they resettle.

Anecdotal stories abound about how easy it is to defraud the government (and us).  I heard that one woman “found” ten adult children over the course of several years.  Apparently there is some truth to the stories.

At the September Forum last week in Hagerstown , I asked the US State Department Reps about a June 2007 Congressional Research Service Report for Congress which referred to fraud in the family reunification program of refugee resettlement.   This report was sent to me privately and I can’t find it on-line yet, but here is what it says:

During the late 1990’s the State Department found that a large number of Priority 3 (family reunification) applications were received from persons who did not qualify for refugee status and that there was significant amount of fraud associated with those applications.

The report goes on to discuss the fact that certain nationalities are ineligible from participation in the family reunification program because of rampant fraud. 

My question to the State Department ladies was three-fold:  What was the nature of the fraud?  Answer:  It happened a long time ago (the late ’90’s was a long time ago) and people were applying who were not eligible.

What nationalities have been barred from the program?   Answer:  there was no answer.

Was anyone admitted to the country fraudulently and then deported?   Answer:  Homeland Security has more important deportations than these.

When Judy posted the Los Angeles fraud arrest a couple of days ago.  I checked out the African Community Resource Center and found it to be a subcontractor of Ethiopean Community Development Council (one of the 10 major volags with State Department contracts).     Note that the African Community Center prominantly promotes its role in helping bring family members to America.  I just wonder, if someone is allegedly willing to steal from refugees and cheat the taxpayers, might they be tempted as well to find lots of missing children, brothers, sisters and long-lost cousins to bring to America as well?

We need to reform family reunification.  Only spouses and minor children should be permitted.

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