If you are following the news at all, you know that the Trump administration and the Obama administration have very different views on immigration and very different immigration policies. With Trump in office, the policies regarding immigrants have become much stricter. One major example is with asylum seekers looking to stay in the United States.
In an age of fluctuating policies and torn loyalties, immigration has taken a front-row seat to the country’s political civil war. Now, immigrants are faced with the fear of being caught in the crossfires of this ongoing dual. On both ends of the spectrum, lawmakers are attempting to establish or revitalize rules to create a more effective immigration process. [Read more…]
30-year-old Buyantod Thomas of Concord, California, was sentenced July 9, 2015, to six months in prison. She single handedly aided and abetted the submission of fraudulent asylum applications at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services San Francisco Asylum Office. She pleaded guilty on March 27, to a one-count indictment filed on January 27, charging her with knowingly aiding and abetting a person to make a false statement in an asylum application.
An asylum is an immigration benefit that allows certain foreign nationals who fear persecution to remain lawfully in the U.S. indefinitely. People who are granted asylum may apply for lawful permanent residence (a green card) one year after being granted asylum. With some exceptions, an asylum application generally must be filed within one year of the applicant’s last entry into the U.S. Asylum applications generally are submitted to USCIS in cases where removal from the United States would be contrary to law. But, to qualify for asylum, applicants must demonstrate that their removal would put them at significant risk based on their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. In this case, Thomas admitted that she helped Mongolian nationals apply for asylum based on fictitious stories and false documents.
The prosecutors in this case was the Office of the U.S. District Attorney’s Special Prosecutions and National Security Unit. The investigation has been going on for over a year and the USCIS San Francisco Asylum Office’s Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) activity had identified Thomas as a preparer of suspect asylum applications, and had been closely monitoring her cases. Homeland Security initiated an investigation and the FDNS officers supplied background information. This lead to the conviction of Buyantod Thomas.
U.S. District Judge, Susan Illston, found that Thomas assisted in filling at least 25 fraudulent asylum applications. Judge Illston emphasized the need for deterrence for crimes of this matter. She stated, “I find these to be very serious crimes. The asylum system is such a precious system we have and if it’s abused in the way that it was abused here, then it won’t be used anymore and we won’t have it. This case is really damaging to the immigration system that we have in place.” The defendant starts her sentencing on September 4, 2015, and was also sentenced to a three-year period of supervised release.
If you or anyone you know needs help with fraudulent asylum applications or needs help understanding how to apply for an asylum application, do not hesitate to call US Immigration Bonds & Insurance Services, Inc. We will ensure that the steps you take for you or a loved one in the immigration process, are legal, safe, and properly managed.