Rep. Barletta's statement on the fraudulent documentation ring arrests
HAZLETON – After 50 people were charged for conspiracy to commit identification fraud in connection with their alleged roles in a scheme to sell the identities of Puerto Rican U.S. citizens and corresponding identity documents, U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, PA-11, released the following statement:
“For six years, I’ve been saying that cracking down on fraudulent document rings is one way to crack down on illegal immigration in the United States. I’ve been saying that illegal aliens would go to Puerto Rico, buy the identities of Puerto Rican citizens, fly into New York or New Jersey, or come into an East Coast seaport, use those documents to enter the United States, then get driver’s licenses, access federal and state benefits, and defraud the American taxpayer. I testified during a U.S. Senate judicial committee field hearing about these rings. Today, at last, it seems as if the federal government is finally paying attention to this type of problem,” said Rep. Barletta, the former mayor of Hazleton who rose to prominence during his fight against illegal immigration at the local level. “Most of the illegal aliens we arrested for committing serious and violent crimes in Hazleton didn’t cross the southern border – they came into an East Coast airport or seaport using fraudulent documents. This news doesn’t surprise me at all.”
According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), from at least April 2009 to December 2011, conspirators in 15 states and Puerto Rico “trafficked the identities of Puerto Rican U.S. citizens, corresponding Social Security cards, Puerto Rico birth certificates and other identification documents to undocumented aliens and others residing in the United States” for $700 to $2,500 per set, according to the ICE press release announcing the arrests.
One of the suspects arrested is from Hazleton, Pa.
“This is good news, but this is just one of many fraudulent documentation rings around the area and around the country. I hope this crackdown continues and expands,” Rep. Barletta added.
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