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Asylum, Citizenship Fraudster Hired as Immigration Adjudicator

A man who fraudulently obtained asylum and U.S. citizenship was hired by the Obama administration to adjudicate the very immigration petitions and forms on which he repeatedly lied. The case has Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, raising new questions about immigration vetting protocols, the individual’s work at USCIS and USCIS’s response to the serious allegations made in the case.

Modestus Nwagubwu Ifemembi was recently indicted for obtaining American citizenship using a false name, but not before he worked for seven years as an immigration services officer for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. He arrived in the United States in 2000 and was caught with a fake British passport. For reasons that are not clear, he was still granted asylum after giving a fake name. He was granted citizenship in 2011 and hired by USCIS to adjudicate immigration petitions in 2013.

“In addition to being an embarrassing abrogation of USCIS’s mission to safeguard the integrity of our nation’s legal immigration system, this case raises a number of serious questions about USCIS’s vetting procedures, Mr. Ifemembi’s work at USCIS, and how the agency is responding to these disturbing allegations,” Grassley wrote in a letter to USCIS.

Grassley is asking the agency how it became aware of the fraud after so many years, whether the agency is aware of any other criminality during Ifemembi’s tenure as an adjudicator, and whether Ifemembi’s identity fraud would succeed in getting past current vetting practices.  Further, Grassley is asking whether the agency is conducting an audit of cases adjudicated by Ifemembi.


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