GAO Report Identifies Additional Actions to Address Asylum Fraud
Dallas, TX (Law Firm Newswire) January 27, 2016 – A study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the government’s efforts to detect fraud in asylum requests could be better implemented. The study, Asylum: Additional Actions Needed to Assess and Address Fraud Risks, identified several ways that fraud detection could be improved.
“Asylum standards are the same as refugee standards; the former is an application made in the United States, the latter made abroad,” said Stewart Rabinowitz, a noted Dallas immigration attorney with Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. “As to asylum, the USCIS is charged with developing the means to identify fraud. Suggestions such as uniform fraud detection policies specifically for asylum, and the electronic capture of key information are a good start in using technology to enhance asylum fraud detection.”
The GAO review concluded that because the Executive Office for Immigration Review and USCIS use paper filing systems, neither captures key information electronically, and neither conducts regular assessments of fraud risk across the asylum process, only in individual cases. It pointed out that reported cases of fraud undermine the asylum process’ integrity, and that there are not clear fraud detection responsibilities given to asylum officers; those officers only receive limited fraud detection guidance. The GAO report suggested that developing asylum specific guidance on fraud detection would improve officers’ roles in fraud detection and implicitly assist in overall asylum fraud detection.
The report stated that USCIS revoked asylum in 374 cases from 2010 to 2014. Joseph Holstead, a USCIS spokesman, said that the agency agrees with the recommendations made in the report, and some improvements have already been made.
The study found that the number of requests for asylum has doubled in recent years, and by 2015, there was a backlog of 106,121 cases pending.