Thursday, December 20, 2012

Church Deacon Among Others Charged In Asylum Fraud Schemes

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York announced Tuesday the unsealing of indictments (full text of charging documents) charging 26 individuals in overlapping immigration fraud schemes involving fabricated claims of persecution asserted by Chinese aliens seeking asylum.  Those charged were lawyers and paralegals in ten different law firms in the Chinatown area of Manhattan and Queens, as well as four translators and a church employee, all of whom were involved in the scheme to prepare false applications, coach clients on how to lie in their immigration interviews and mis-translate their answers when necessary to support their claims.  According to the U.S. Attorney's Office:
the law firms made up stories of persecution that often followed one of three fact patterns: (a) forced abortions performed pursuant to China’s family planning policy; (b) persecution based on the client’s belief in Christianity; or (c) political or ideological persecution, typically for membership in China’s Democratic Party or against followers of Falun Gong.
One of those indicted was Liying Lin (charging document) who claimed to be a deacon at the Full Gospel Church in Flushing, NY. It was charged that at bi-weekly sessions she provided training in the basic tenets of Christianity to asylum applicants who were falsely claiming religious persecution. In exchange for cash contributions to the Church, or to Liying Lin personally, she would coach clients on what questions regarding religion would be asked during the interview, and on how to answer them. She would sometimes also provide certificates of church attendance or baptism. Sometimes she served as the translator during the asylum interview and signaled applicants when they gave a wrong answer, or mistranslated their statements to make the answer consistent with their persecution and religious belief claims. The New York Times reports on the indictments.

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