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Posted at: Apr 10, 2019, 7:34 AM; last updated: Apr 10, 2019, 7:34 AM (IST)

Indian faces 10-year jail for trying to get US citizenship by fraud

Indian faces 10-year jail for trying to get US citizenship by fraud
Harpal Singh charged with one count of attempted naturalisation fraud, faces up to 10 years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for August 5. iStock

Washington, April 9

A 67-year-old Indian national has conceded before a US court of trying to obtain American citizenship through fraudulent means, the Department of Justice said on Monday.

Harpal Singh charged with one count of attempted naturalisation fraud, faces up to 10 years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for August 5.

According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court, Singh applied for admission into the country as a tourist in March 1992 at Los Angeles International Airport by presenting an Indian passport that purported to contain an entry visa to the United States.

He was refused admission because the entry visa was deemed fraudulent and he was detained pending exclusion proceedings.

Singh thereafter applied for asylum in the United States and he was released on bond while his asylum claim was evaluated.

In June 1993, an immigration judge in New York denied Singh’s asylum application and he was ordered to surrender for deportation. But he failed to appear for his deportation as ordered.

In August 1995, Singh again fraudulently applied for asylum in the United States and claimed that he had entered the United States by crossing the United States-Mexico border in December 1994.

Singh did not disclose that he had previously been denied asylum. In March 1996, an immigration judge denied Singh’s second asylum application and he was again ordered to surrender for deportation. However, he again failed to appear for his deportation.

Later in May 1996, Singh again fraudulently applied for asylum in the United States under the identity of ‘Surinder Singh’, claiming that he had entered the United States by crossing the United States-Mexico border in November 1995.

Singh did not disclose that he had previously been denied asylum under his true identity Harpal Singh. The application further claimed that Surinder Singh had been beaten and tortured in India in 1994 despite the fact that Singh had been living in the United States at the time under his true identity.

In June 1996, the Immigration and Naturalisation Service granted Singh’s third asylum application in the name of ‘Surinder Singh’ based on fraudulent information provided by him.

Later in December 2015, Singh filed an Application for Naturalisation with the US Department of Homeland Security under the identity of ‘Surinder Singh’. He falsely answered questions relating to his identity, his prior immigration applications, and his immigration status, among others.

In May 2018, Singh appeared in the identity of ‘Surinder Singh’ before an officer of the Homeland Security in Newark for an interview, which was conducted under oath and video-recorded. Singh was also assisted by a counsel and by a Punjabi interpreter.

He falsely answered additional questions relating to his identity, his prior immigration applications, and his immigration status, among others. PTI   

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