Alleged Asylum Fraud in New York City a Thriving Industry

Immigration Fraud LawyerThe immigration attorneys at Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo know that the United States has seen an explosion in Chinese immigration in the past decade. This immigration trend is especially prevalent in New York City where the foreign-born Chinese population grew by a third between 2000 and 2011. According to the New York Times, the Chinese immigrant population in New York City is poised to overtake Dominicans as the city’s largest immigrant group.

As the Chinese immigrant population grows, New York City has seen a corresponding increase in Chinese immigrants who are seeking asylum as a means to stay in the United States permanently. In fact, over the past six years, about half of all Chinese immigrant applications for asylum nationwide were filed in New York City.

With this explosion in asylum petitions come allegations that asylum fraud — condoned and even fostered by lawyers, paralegals, and interpreters — has become a veritable industry among the Chinese immigrant population in Chinatown, as well as in Chinese communities in Flushing, Queens, and Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

The recent prosecution of at least 30 people in connection with Chinese immigrant asylum fraud corresponds with what one expert on the Chinese population in New York described as the “open secret” that many of the asylum petitions are in some way false. The fraud can crop up as false claims of persecution to the more insidious practice of document forging and enlisting the aid of false witnesses.

One can see the draw of seeking asylum; immigrants who receive asylum status are granted immediate permission to work and may apply for a green card a year later. Immigrants may petition for asylum within one year of arriving in the United States if they feel they cannot go back to their own countries due to “a well-founded fear of persecution” based on their religion, race, or activity within a certain political or social group.

The deputy director of the New York asylum office told the New York Times that the huge increase in asylum petitions, fueled partially by fraud schemes, have “wreaked havoc on the asylum system as a whole” by creating large backlogs that have overwhelmed asylum officers and judges.

Unfortunately, this hurts Chinese who are legitimately seeking asylum by casting a huge net of suspicion over the New York Chinese immigrant population as a whole. This seemingly is borne out in the statistics: in 2013, federal asylum officers approved 40 percent of Chinese asylum requests nationwide, while in New York City only 15 percent of Chinese immigrant asylum requests were approved.

If you have questions or concerns regarding immigration issues such as asylum, it is important that you seek counsel from a legitimate, experienced and trusted immigration law firm. The immigration attorneys at Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo in New Jersey are dedicated to seeing that your immigration interests are addressed in a professional and straightforward manner.

Call us toll-free at (888) 847-2529 or contact us online to set up a consultation.