Washington: An Indian man has been convicted of using a fake identity to obtain American citizenship, an immigration official has said.
Balbir Singh alias Ranjit Singh, 50, faces up to 10 years in federal prison, a maximum USD 250,000 possible fine, revocation of his citizenship and enforcement of his outstanding deportation order.
According to Acting US Attorney Abe Martinez, Balbir Singh had previously attempted to obtain asylum under false pretences. When that attempt failed, an immigration judge then ordered his deportation from the United States, thus making him ineligible to ever become a naturalised citizen.
A resident of Houston, Singh, instead of leaving the country, changed his name, date of birth, the manner in which he entered the United States and his familial history so that he could obtain lawful immigration status, and later naturalisation, based on a marriage to a United States citizen.
In the process of obtaining the citizenship, he denied ever being ordered deported, seeking asylum or using a different identity.
“In addition, Singh sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2013. In it, he complained about the anxiety and frustration he experienced in having to wait for an extended period at the airport every time he returned from an international trip due to discrepancies in his biometric information. He requested DHS clear these discrepancies,” the Justice Department said.
After obtaining the citizenship, a fingerprint comparison established the man previously ordered deported from the United States (Balbir Singh) and the man who later became a naturalised citizen (Ranjit Singh) were one and the same.
Accepting the plea, US District Judge Ewing Werlein set the sentencing for October 13.